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spermsWhen Tookie’s biological clock became perceptible to her near the end of Only Tim Sent Flowers, her wish to have a daughter of her own became a quest. Finding Mr. Wrong journals her pursuit of that goal. Unknown to her (and the author). Methods exist to stack a woman’s deck in favor of conceiving a daughter rather than a son. Before exploring those options, a little biological background is needed.

All sperm cells men produce are not equal: some carry an x-chromosome (female sperm) and others carry a y-chromosome (male sperm). When the sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg 23 chromosomes (only one of which is a sex chromosome) from the sperm and 23 chromosomes from the egg normally fuse together, forming an XX or XY pair for the child. Since the egg only carries x-chromosomes, the sex of the child is determined by the sperm cell that fertilizes it. So, if a female sperm does the deed, an XX pair results and the baby will be a girl. But if a male sperm succeeds, an XY pair is created and a boy is created. Since a male injects millions of sperms into the mother to be with each orgasm, getting pregnant must be as easy as falling onto your back. Wrong!

A woman can usually only get pregnant during a single 12-24 hour period each month, when she’s ovulating. That’s actually a good thing if you want a girl—like Tookie does—because it limits the time the aggressive male sperms have to impregnate her. Left to their own devices, male sperms slightly outperform their female competitors with 51% of conceptions being boys. For our heroine to get the daughter she yearns, it’s necessary to set the stage to female sperms’ advantage.

Sperm cells differ in more ways than the chromosomes they carry. That female sperms are more resilient to acidic environments than are male sperms, may be the key to Tookie finding a daughter in her womb. An acidic uterus will kill off most of the males trying to find her egg, but there’s more to getting the opportunity to buy pink baby clothes than that.

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