Mother’s Diet Could Influence Baby’s Gender

April 24, 2008 06:42 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A study suggesting that a mother’s diet can help determine the sex of her baby meets skepticism, and raises ethical concerns.

30-Second Summary

Researchers studied 740 first-time pregnant mothers in the United Kingdom and learned that those who consumed a greater amount of calories around the time of conception gave birth to more male babies.

The incidence of male births was also higher in women who ate at least one bowl of cereal a day.

Scientists say the study could explain why the number of male births in developed countries has fallen during the last four decades; dieting is common in such places, and many women of childbearing age skip breakfast.

Scientists learned from research about in vitro fertilization that high levels of glucose help male embryos to grow and develop.

Some doctors, though, say the correlations drawn in this study are “spurious” at best, because the father’s sperm determines the gender of a child.

Others say the findings could just add to the toolbox some people are using to create “designer babies.”

Ethicist Nigel Cameron, president of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said, “We need a lot more social debate about the fact children should be received as-is.”

Headline Links: Connecting diet and gender

Opinion: Diet or biology?

Related Topic: Choosing babies’ sex

Reference: Pregnancy


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