The bookies are conflicted -- will Baby Sussex be a boy or girl?
Let’s take a statistical look using analysis of everything from old wives’ tales (the ones that are true!) to the most cutting-edge studies on predicting sex ... as well as a little common sense thrown in for good measure.
First off, the chance of a having a boy, simply by the most basic genetic statistics, is 51 percent. Yes, you have more of a chance of having a boy than girl.
Now that we have somewhere to start, let’s take a bit of common sense. Meghan Markle reportedly told friends at her baby shower that she is having a boy, which comes as a shock to royal watchers given a comment Prince Harry made back in October hinting at a girl.
I’m not a royal expert, but given the outrageously overwhelming amount of interest in the gender of Baby Sussex, along with the leaks coming out of Kensington Palace already, I just don’t believe that Meghan Markle made an announcement at her shower.
Moreover, unless Prince Harry is a psychic or the baby was born weeks ago and it’s the best-kept secret in the world, he had no idea whether the baby was a boy or girl in October. Common sense brings us back at the beginning of 51 percent chance of a baby boy.
Now let’s take some science.
While we know that men determine the sex of a baby depending on whether the sperm is carrying a X or Y chromosome, (a X either combines with the mother’s X to make a girl (XX) or a Y combines with the mother’s X to make a boy (XY)), to guess the gender of the baby, science researchers and even old wives’ tales focus mostly on the mother.
Pregnant women hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) in the first trimester have 50 percent increased odds of having a girl. Meghan Markle pulled out of many events on their Australian tour last fall (her first trimester) and was absolutely pilloried in the press for doing so. If she had hyperemesis gravidarum, I can’t imagine Kensington Palace wouldn’t have made that public, if for nothing else, than to give her some relief from the relentlessly negative press. Moreover, Kensington Palace was very open about Kate Middleton’s struggle with it.
So, we are still sticking with 51 percent chance of having a boy.
Stress has been found to play a role in increasing the odds of having a girl, according to one study, and with the leaks, negative press, and crazy-pants family surrounding Meghan Markle, I’m pretty sure "stressed" is a fair word to use in her case.
But here’s the problem: what kind of stress? The study that is reported puts the job category of “arts, cultural, recreational, sports” as the lowest stress and “processing, manufacturing, utilities” as the highest stress which means that physically difficult jobs lead to a higher chance of having a girl.
While I certainly think Meghan Markle is experiencing a stressful time right now, she isn’t working 12-hour shifts in a manufacturing plant.
Again, 51 percent boy.
A person’s living situation is known to have an effect on gender. Some research shows that you are more likely to have a girl if you are a single mother and more likely to have a boy if you are cohabitating.
While I’m not privy to the inner-workings of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship, I’ve decided to look on the bright side and assume they are living happily together.
That brings us to a 52 percent chance of having a boy.
There are many more studies that show different indicators of having a boy versus a girl: how much you eat (I would ask the palace chef, but I don’t think he would get back to me), if you’re extra forgetful (judging by the 5 a.m. emails from Markle to her staff, she doesn’t seem forgetful; though maybe she is writing those because she’s forgetful), or even if the baby is breeched (who knows?).
All in all, as a statistician, I am banking on a boy. But for the first time in a statistical quandary, it doesn’t matter to me whether I’m right or wrong. I just very much wish Baby Sussex a healthy and happy entry into the world.