News Stories

How to Have a Boy

Women are more likely to give birth to a boy if they're inan environment that will allow them to live to an old age,because healthy women have more testosterone, which promotesthe survival of the male fetus. But women who only thinkthey'll live a long time also have more boys.

This correlates with an earlier story showing that when sickpeople are prayed for?even if they don?t know it?they?ll getwell faster, but only if theybelieve in thepower of prayer.

Studies have shown that poorly-nourished women in developingcountries are more likely to give birth to girls, probablyin order to produce the greatest number of grandchildren sothe species can survive. But Hazel Muir writes in NewScientist that even in rich countries like the U.S., the waya woman thinks about her likelihood to live to an old ageinfluences the sex of her children.

If parents produce a strong and healthy son, he can fatherlots of children by many women. But boys demand moreresources both in the womb and during their upbringing, soif parents aren't going to live very long, it's better forfamily survival to have girls.

Studies have shown that people can estimate their lifespanquite accurately. Biological anthropologist Sarah Johnssays, "People's subjective life expectancy is actually quitean accurate prediction of when they will die. They arecontinually reassessing what the future holds...Even [inrich countries], women who are perceiving the environment asdifficult and who have an increased sense of their ownmortality are less likely to have sons."

Learn thehiddentruth about the world's most famousmother.

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