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Gender and genetics: what determines the gender of a child?

Salman and Sidra have two daughters, and now they are trying to conceive a boy. The aunties have already told Sidra all about those desi totkas in order to conceive a boy, Salman’s Vali Ahad. Sidra eventually gets pregnant, only to be more scared of her mother-in-law and husband pressurizing her to reproduce a boy this time, because if that doesn’t happen, she will either be kicked out of the house or have to share her husband with another woman! Sounds familiar? While most of us in Pakistan have seen this scenario happen only on HUM TV dramas, sadly, some of us have experienced at least some version of it or have seen our loved ones suffer. Nonetheless, this thought process is a reality of our society that needs to be taken care of. So, in today’s blog post, we are going to talk about how gender determination works. Please read ahead to find out. Chromosomes and genetic components of gender: If you don’t already know from 6 th grade science, chromosomes are cells that carry genetic information or genes. Humans produce 23 pairs of chromosomes, the 23 rd pair consisting of the sex chromosomes. This pair is called ‘the allosome pair’ which consists of two X chromosomes in females, and one X and one Y chromosome in males. Now, when the egg and the sperm meet, one of the chromosomes from each of the male and female allosome pair, always X from the egg and either X or Y from the sperm, combine, leading to either sperm or egg production. So, in a general sense, the sex of the offspring is determined by the particular sex chromosome of the sperm. The stigma that surrounds gender determination: Both males and females are given certain, particular roles in our society. When it comes to giving birth to an offspring, it’s often the female that is given the credit for reproducing either a son or a daughter. In extreme situations, the females of our society have to face a lot of backlash for something they have no share in. Even though it’s a sperm that determines the sex of the baby, it’s neither in the hands of a man, nor a woman to determine it. How to end this stigmatization: It is important to educate the masses of genders. Conversation is important and talking about this issue should be normalized. Moreover, specific gender roles should be condoned as it promotes this stigmatization and helps it grow. So, start from today and make sex education mandatory instead of asking people to hush up whenever they start talking about the topic. Even though our society has considerably grown, the issue of gender determination and preferring one sex over another is still prevalent. Increasing our horizon by educating and communicating about these ‘taboo’ topics is surely going to help our society a great deal.

Other essay:   Gender inequality

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