Large numbers of women in India suffer cruel indignation (at best) and physical and emotional abuse and even murder (at worst) for bearing a female child. These atrocities are perpetrated by men (and women) who believe that it is the woman who somehow determines the gender of the child. This gross misconception has also contributed to polygamy and its subsequent abominations. If one wife could not bear a son, the thinking goes, maybe another wife could. Perhaps we can help alleviate some of this inhumanity with the hard scientific fact: the baby's gender is entirely determined by the man.

In the human cells there are 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one pair expressly called "sex chromosomes." The sex chromosomes are made up of X and Y chromosomes. If an embryo has two X (XX) chromosomes, its sex is female. If the chromosomes are an X and Y (XY), then the baby is a male. Since the female always delivers an X chromosome to the fertilizing egg and the male delivers either an X or Y chromosome to the sperm/egg combination, we see that the only thing that determines male sexuality is the Y chromosome received from the father. If the father gives an X chromosome to the combination, the offspring will be female. So the natural law is that the father is the sole determiner of the sex of the offspring. The mother has no part in this determination.

The Y chromosome carries primarily genetic material that produces the maleness and masculine secondary characteristics. There are some diseases that are carried on the Y chromosome that will manifest only in males. And there are some sex-linked diseases that are also carried on the X chromosome, carried by the mother, but they do not manifest in the daughters for the Y chromosome is also required to have the disease manifest.

In each ejaculation there are 200-400 million sperm cells with a random distribution of X and Y chromosomes. The psychoelectromagnetic forces that bring a particular sperm and egg together are only vaguely understood. There is, however, a theory that allows the conscious determination of gender.

Ancient yoga texts like the Tirumantiram, by Rishi Tirumular, say it is possible to influence the gender of the child at the time of conception. This theory is based on understanding birth as the process of bringing a soul into the physical plane from the subtle plane. It is also based on the knowledge that both men and women have a masculine nadi (current), called pingala, and a feminine nadi, called ida. It is a subtle and sensitive process. There must be consideration given to the precise time of conception, precoital diet of both parents, postcoital diet of the mother, expanded consciousness and awareness of both parents and many other factors for the determination to be successful. This process must be under the guidance of a very advanced Vedic yoga scholar. It is a complicated partnership effort that is often denied by the Western scientists.

This fact places a new responsibility upon the father and brings him into a closer partnership with the mother in the creation of the offspring. He must be aware of his determining status, be in a more excellent state of health, be more aware of his part in the great miracle, and especially more aware of his duty to mother and the offspring-male or female.

Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Center of Homeopathy- and more. Send your questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746, USA.