Ernest Rumley Dawson.

The causation of sex in man; a new theory of sex based on clinical materials together with chapters on forecasting or predicting the sex of the unborn child and on the determination or production of either sex at will online

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Online LibraryErnest Rumley DawsonThe causation of sex in man; a new theory of sex based on clinical materials together with chapters on forecasting or predicting the sex of the unborn child and on the determination or production of either sex at will → online text (page 12 of 18)
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lay from 260 to 290 eggs per annum can now be obtained.

2 W. Williams, op. cit., 1913, p. 369.

3 Quoted in " Journ. Obstet. and Gynaecology," July 1904, vol: vi.-p. 53.
" Lancet," August 1893.


they were preceded by 6 girls before a boy was born. She
had 24 children in all.

Mrs. T. W. had twins on three occasions, two boys each
time; while Mrs. J. B. and Mrs. A. P. both had twins (boy
and girl) on two separate occasions. Mrs. W. A. T. was
delivered, in 1912, by me, of triplets, two girls and a boy,
followed eighteen months after by twin boys.

Dr. G. H. Napheys 1 records a case where a woman had
for her first child a girl, followed by twin boys on four
occasions, making 9 children in all; while Dr. W. R. Dix 2
reported a case of a Mrs. M., aged thirty, having twins twice
over, her mother having also had twins twice, her sister
twins once, and her aunt twins once.

Baudouin 3 reported 14 boys in three deliveries : first trip-
lets, then quintuplets, followed by sextuplets. All the
children were males !

Other recorded cases are seven times twins and two single
births; or from Anvers, near Neuchatel, a case of four
times twins, followed by triplets; or the case at Belgrade
of triplets followed by sextuplets; or from Madrid, triplets
followed by quintuplets.

The above cases all therefore support the view that
plural pregnancy is due to maternal causes.

The only recorded case I have been able to find definitely
pointing to the father as the cause was mentioned in the
" Lancet." 4 It is the historical, unique, and probably
apocryphal case, dating from 1753, of the Russian peasant
Kinlow. He was twice married, and had 72 children;
though Dr. Napheys, 5 who also mentions this case, gives
the number as 90 children ! He had 57 children by his
first wife, four times 4 infants, seven times 3, and ten times
2 at a birth. By the second wife he had triplets once, and
twins six times. This astonishing case seems to point to
the husband or male being responsible; it is quite the
exceptional case, however.

1 Dr. G. H. Napheys, " The Physical Life of Woman," 1872, p. 134.

2 Dr. W. R. Dix, " Brit. Med. Journ.," Jan. 9, 1904, p. 75.

3 Baudouin, loc. cit.

* " Lancet," Jan. 28, 1905, p. 243.
5 Napheys, op. cit., 1872, p. 133.


Among cows and sheep plural births are not a very un-
common occurrence, but certain individual animals are
well known nearly always to have more than the normal
single offspring. They have probably extra well- developed
ovaries. With sheep, twins very often are born, but some
have three or even four lambs at a birth. Mares rarely
have more than one at a birth.

A case of triplets, recently delivered in this neighbourhood,
confirms Saniter's opinion; the triplets were all three boys with
only two placentae.

The first two boys, footling born, being uniovular twins, were
followed by their single placenta, the cords being inserted two
inches apart, the third boy, breech born, being duly followed by
his placenta. There were thus only two ova fertilised, one giving
rise to twins and one to a single birth, and the right ovary must
have supplied them both.




IT is a remarkable fact that in many families containing
both boys and girls we find that all the children of one or
other sex are in some way or other affected: they may be
physically affected or deformed, or else mentally deficient;
while the children of the other sex are quite normal.

The following cases of insanity are very remarkable, and
are more than coincidences :

Mrs. W. had 5 children, thus: ist a boy, 2nd a girl, 3rd
a girl, 4th a boy, 5th a boy. The three sons are all mentally
very deficient, two are idiotic, and one quite insane. The
two girls are quite sane.

Mrs. P. had 5 children: ist a boy, 2nd a boy, 3rd a girl,
4th a boy, 5th a boy. The four sons are healthy and quite
sane. The daughter is an idiot.

Mrs. S. had 3 children: ist a boy, 2nd a girl, 3rd a boy.
The two sons are insane; the girl is quite sane.

Note that the unhealthy or abnormal children do not
follow each other; the birth of normal children of the oppo-
site sex takes place between them.

The following remarkably confirmatory case I take from
the " Lancet," June 7, 1902:

Drs. Keraval and Raviart report a case of insanity in twin
brothers who had for many years lived quite apart from one
another. The mother of the men was alive and well.
Neither men had had syphilis, and both were temperate
in their habits. Both were married. The special interest
of the case lies in

(1) The twinship of the brothers.

(2) The absence of hereditary antecedents of insanity.

(3) The freedom from syphilis and alcoholism.

(4) The fact that both were married and fathers of




It will be observed that the two patients were of the same
sex, and hence had been derived from ova from the same
ovary evidently the right.

In these cases the children derived from one ovary only
are deaf and dumb:

Mrs. F. had 3 children ist a girl, 2nd a girl, 3rd a boy
in this order. Parents were not related before marriage.
The two girls are normal; the boy is deaf and dumb.

Mrs. G. had 7 girls and no boys. Parents not related or
deaf and dumb. All the girls are deaf and dumb

In these cases the children of one sex are blind:

Mrs. M. L. R. had 4 children: ist a boy, 2nd a girl, 3rd a

girl, 4th a boy. Parents not related. Both boys born

blind; both girls all right.

Mrs. S. had 4 children: ist a boy, 2nd a boy, 3rd a girl,

4th a girl. Both boys born blind ; both girls all right.

In this case convulsions occurred only in the boys :
Mrs. K. had 16 children, 12 boys and 4 girls, thus: First
3 boys, then 2 girls, then 5 boys, then 2 girls, then 4 boys.
The four girls are all alive and have had no fits. All the
twelve boys have had fits ; seven boys died actually during
a fit, the eighth just after one concluded: he had had

We thus see that a succession of defective children is
broken by the birth of a child or children of the other sex;
and this should be noted, that the affected children are
separated chronologically by healthy ones of the other sex,
showing the cause of the imperfection is not a temporary
one due to mental distress, or illness, or " maternal im-
pression " on the mother's part; nor can it be some general
blood disorder e.g. syphilis or else the children of both
sexes would be similarly affected. No, some local cause:
I say the ovary of one side must yield defective ova.

In the following cases the children of one sex only are
left-handed :

Mrs. H. H. Parents not related, and neither left-handed.
First child, girl, not left-handed; second, twin boys, both


Mrs. H. C. had 7 children: 4 boys, 3 of them left-handed;
3 girls, none left-handed.

In the following case the female children both had hare-
lip, the boy was unaffected:

Mrs. S., no relation to her husband, had 3 children: ist a
girl, hare-lip; 2nd a boy, normal, no hare-lip; 3rd a girl,
hare-lip. This case is interesting, as hare-lip is twice as
common in boys as girls.

All the above cases lead one to inquire, does a diseased
condition of one ovary which does not prevent ovulation,
and which is possibly not even recognisable by the micro-
scope, lead to the production of ova which are imperfect
or diseased ?

In cases of syphilis it is admitted that the ova may be
affected before they are impregnated even; and though
this disease would affect the ova in both ovaries, yet it is
justifiable to suppose that one ovary may be affected by
some congenital peculiarity or disease, not a blood disorder,
which would be unilateral in its effects. Thus, while not
arresting ovulation from the ovary, the ova when fertilised
would lead to a diseased or structurally deficient child.

Such is probably the explanation of the case described
by Tarnier and Budin 1 of a woman who

" gave birth alternately to living and dead children. The first
child was living and healthy, the second dead, and so on, until the
tenth pregnancy. It was born alive, however."

In the following case, reported by Dr. H. R. Andrews," a
woman, L. S., aged 36, with no history of syphilis, gave
birth to twins prematurely a girl and a boy.

" A living female child was born, followed by a placenta which
presented no abnormal macroscopical appearance. A second bag
of membranes was ruptured, and a male child was born, followed by
an enormous placenta. The male child was still-born, it was uni-
versally oedematous and dropsical. Its placenta was very large,
pale, cedematous, soft and friable."

As the two placentae were entirely separate, we know
that the two ova fertilised were also separated ones, and as
the sexes were different I ascribe one to each ovary (the

1 Quoted by Hirst, op. cit., p. 179.

2 " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," vol. xliii. 1901, pp. 169-71.


commonest mode of origin for twins). One child, the
female, however, was normal, while the other was abnormal,
showing that the diseased condition of the male child was
not due to a general diseased condition of the mother or of
her womb, or else both children would have been similarly
affected, as they would have probably been had both been
derived from the same ovary. Thus we have proof of the
origin of a healthy child with a healthy and separate placenta
from one ovary, while the ovum from the opposite ovary
was evidently diseased, and so, though fertilised, a diseased
child and placenta followed as a consequence.

The case, therefore, supports the theory that one ovary
may yield imperfect or diseased though fertilisable ova,
which very early show their effects by a diseased condition
of both child and " after-birth."

The following cases seem to show that the ova may be so
imperfect from an ovary, which to all appearances is normal,
that the children from that ovary always die :

Mrs. B. had 6 children 3 boys followed by 2 girls, then
a boy. Both girls died shortly after birth. The boys
all lived.

Mrs. W. by her first husband had 4 children 3 boys
who all died, and a girl who lives. By her second husband
she had 4 children -3 boys who all died, and a girl who lives.

This hardly seems a case of coincidence, or as due to the
greater infantile mortality of males.

Mrs. P. had 3 boys, 5 girls. All the girls died in infancy.

Mrs. L. had 6 boys, all died, 3 girls lived, thus

ist, boy, died. 2nd, girl, lived.

3rd, boy, died. 4th, girl, lived.

5th and 6th, boys, died. 7th, girl, lived.
8th and Qth, boys, died.

In the following cases the ova are imperfect, and lead to
delicate children, who do not necessarily die, but they
remain the delicate ones of the family, thus

Mrs. L. S. had 5 girls, i boy. The girls are all strong and
healthy. The boy is very delicate ; he was the fourth child
born, so that two healthy girls succeeded him.


Mrs T. had 5 boys, i girl. The boys are healthy and
strong. The girl was deformed and a cripple, and has since

Mrs. M. had 4 boys, i girl. The boys are healthy and
strong. The girl, the third born, is delicate; her two
younger brothers are very healthy.

Mrs. C. L. had first a girl insane, then 5 boys all healthy,
then lastly girl, delicate, died of phthisis.

This diseased condition of the ova is supported by the
description by Dr. Mary Dixon Jones 1 of fatty and colloid
disease of the ova in the ovary, so that

" In advanced cases not a single healthy ovum is found in the
whole ovary."

We can thus see that in some cases a few of the ova may
be perfect while the majority are affected.

Mrs. W. B. had 6 children ist, 2nd, 3rd, boys all deaf
and dumb; 4th a girl, normal; 5th a boy, not deaf and
dumb; 6th a boy, deaf and dumb.

It will be seen that the female child was healthy, and all
the males, with one exception, were deaf and dumb; so
that the majority of the male ova were diseased or imperfect.
That the condition was not due to " maternal impression "
is evident from the fact that one healthy boy was born
between two deaf and dumb ones.

Mrs. C. C. had 8 children ist, boy, normal; 2nd, boy,
deaf and dumb; 3rd, boy, normal; 4th, boy, deaf and dumrJ;
5th, girl, deaf and dumb; 6th, girl, normal; yth, boy,
normal; 8th, girl, normal.

C. /., Bond reported in the " Lancet," August 1905, a
case where healthy parents had 14 children thus: First
3 girls, normal; then 6 boys, all deaf and dumb; then 4 more
girls, normal ; and lastly a normal boy.

The following very interesting case also supports this
view, of one healthy ovary, and the other ovary containing
only a small proportion of healthy ova.

Dr. J. W. Ballantyne 2 describes the case of a woman who
had her children thus

1 Dr. Mary D. Jones, quoted by Macnaughton- Jones, op. cit., pp. 654, 657.
- Ballantyne, "Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology," vol. ii., Dec.
1902, p. 529.


ist, boy, living; 2nd, boy, living; 3rd, abortion, 2nd to 3rd month,
(probably male) .

4th, girl, hydrocephalic, dead.

^th, girl, normal, living.

6th, girl, anencephalic, dead.

yth, girl, " delicate," died at 5 weeks.

8th, girl, deformed and premature, died 3 days old, commencing

9th, girl, normal, living.

Here we have the male children normal and living,
followed by the birth (with an abortion between, which was
possibly a male embryo) of six female children, only two
of which were normal and lived.

Of the remaining four, three at least were monsters,
whilst the fourth, of which few particulars appear, was
" delicate from the first " and soon died.

Surely some local as distinct from general condition must
have accounted for this string of female monstrosities. I
ascribe it to defective ova in one of her ovaries the left.

Hegar reported a case of removal of a malignant tumour
of one ovary, subsequent pregnancy, and birth of a deformed
child; the remaining ovary also being then found to be
sarcomatous and inoperable. Here both ovaries are dis-
eased, and though an ovum is fertilised, yet the child is
born deformed, so that the diseased ovum irom the diseased
ovaries, which is not stated, gave a diseased child.

Dr. Ballantyne 1 reports a case where a woman had ist
child, girl, deformed (spina bifida); 2nd and 3rd children,
boys, normal and healthy; 4th child, girl, deformed (ini-
encephalic monster).

This case looks as though the left or female ovary had
supplied diseased ova, the healthy males being born, in
between the deformed female ones, from healthy ova from
the other or right ovary.

In a case of my own, Mrs. R. had first a girl, healthy;
then a boy with spina bifida; then another girl, healthy.
Here a deformed male appears between two normal females.

Dr. J. E. Blomfield reports in the " British Medical
Journal/' April u, 1903, a case of a woman who had two
children, two years or so apart. Both were boys, and both

" Manual of Antenatal Pathology: The Embryo," p, 273, 1904.


were malformed in an almost identical manner. Surely
here the right or male ovary had provided abnormal ova
on the two occasions.

Dr. Robert Hutchison' 1 reported a case of twins, with male
child healthy, and the female achondroplasic.

/. How ell Evans 2 has recorded a case where the girls
were affected with helical fistulae and accessory auricles,
while the sons were quite normal.

And a patient of my own, Mrs. C. B. D., had two girls
who were identically deformed, having only a little finger
and diminutive thumb on each hand, and only the little
and big toe on each foot. She had no son.

In the following extracts we see that both Kossmann and
Marchand credit diseased ova as occurring in the ovaries,
and prior to fertilisation. Thus, Dr. R. Andrews^ quotes
Kossmann as

' ' noting the frequency with which the ovaries present some abnormal
appearance in cases of tubal pregnancy, and suggesting that these
pathological ovaries may have supplied pathological ova."

And similarly Marchand, quoted by Dr. Cuthbert Lockyer, 4

" The influence of the maternal organism makes itself felt upon
the ovum in the ovary, the latter transmitting any peculiarities it
may possess to the developing ovum. These tendencies to disease
show themselves during the development of the ovum in liter o.
Twin pregnancies, in which one ovum develops normally and the
other degenerates into a mole, afford an argument in favour of
the view that the diseased ovum acquired its pathological tendencies
whilst it was within the ovary. That ova may be primarily diseased
seems very probable."

I should maintain that the healthy child in such a twin
pregnancy usually came from one ovary, while the diseased
one came probably from the opposite ovary; though it is
possible to have some healthy and some unhealthy ova in the
same ovary, as in a case reported by Birnbaum 5 and quoted
by Dr. Stevens, where a woman in a twin pregnancy had

1 " Proc. Roy. Soc. of Med.," December 1909, vol. iii., p. 41.

2 Ibid., January 1909, vol. ii., p. 102.

3 " Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology," vol. iv., Sept. 1903, p. 290.

4 " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," vol. xlv. 1903, p. 495.

5 " Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, " vol. v., May 1904, p. 475.


" a vesicular mole and a healthy foetus," so that one ovum
was diseased and one healthy. Post mortem both corpora
lutea were in the same, the left ovary; and whilst one of
these was quite normal the other was diseased proof
indeed that one ovary can give both healthy and unhealthy

Most abnormalities are commoner in male than in female
children e.g. colour-blindness affects the male sex almost
entirely, as also does double hare-lip; but congenital dis-
location of the hip is, Dr. Tubby 1 states, "seven times as
common in females as in males." For further details of
variations in the respective liability of the sexes to other
abnormalities I refer the reader to Dr. Havelock Ellis,
" Man and Woman," chap, xvi., though he does not specify
any cause therefor.

It is evident that the condition of health or want of
health in a woman more or less affects all her organs, and
therefore her ovaries and their contained ova are influenced
by her state of health or disease; hence the first step in
eugenics must be the improvement of the general health of
the mother, so that her ova are quite healthy.

Certainly this subject of the deformity, disease, or death
of all, or most, of the children of one sex in a family, the
children of the other sex being perfect, opens up a wide
field for investigation.

1 A. H. Tubby, " Clinical Journal," July I, 1903.


THE subject of hermaphroditism has very shortly to be
considered in connection with this inquiry into the cause
of sex.

True hermaphroditism may be denned as the presence in
one individual of the reproductive organs of both sexes,
in a condition of functional activity.

In this strict sense of the term, hermaphroditism is a
condition which does not exist in the human species, for,
as Sir /. Bland-Sutton I says

"" no example has yet been recorded in the human family of a func-
tional ovary coexisting with a functional testis."

Many individuals are born in whom the external genitals
are so imperfectly developed and deformed that it may be
difficult to say to which sex they belong; they certainly do
not possess the complete and active sexual organs of both
sexes, and so are not true hermaphrodites: they are known
as false or pseudo-hermaphrodites the " Will- Jill " of the
laity. These false hermaphrodites may appear to possess
the genital organs of both sexes, but they do not really
do so.

Dr. G. F. Blacker 2 says :

" If functional activity for the two kinds of glands is insisted upon,
it is most unlikely that any case of true hermaphroditism will ever
be met with in man."

So that we may say that the true test of a female is the
presence of functional ovaries, of a male the presence of
active testicles, and the malformed external genitals of the
pseudo-hermaphrodite are no guide to the nature of the
internal generative organs.

1 " Diseases of Ovaries," 1896, p. 7.

2 Blacker, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1896, p. 265.



If in conjunction with modified external genitals there
be a female gland on one side and male on the other, then
one or other set are functionless, so that one or other
characteristic predominates; hence the pseudo-hermaphro-
dites are either male or female, and though they are generally
sterile they are certainly not a third sex; had they been, I
should have expected there to be a third ovary, possibly
situated in midline of body ; but such an occurrence is quite

A pseudo-hermaphrodite is an abnormality due to a
developmental error; the condition is not confined to the
human species, but occurs in some animals, especially in
pigs, cows, and goats.

It is a remarkable fact that a cow calf twin-born with a
bull calf is frequently a pseudo-hermaphrodite, and is often
but certainly not always sterile: it is popularly known as
a " free-martin." On the assumption presumably that
what applies to the vertebrata must also always apply to
women an assumption which I strongly deprecate and
deny it has been believed by many that the girl twin-
born with a boy would also be a free-martin and sterile.
Such, however, is not a fact, and there are abundant cases
on record of women in cases of pigeon-pair twins being
fruitful and bearing children.

In one instance with which I am acquainted, a woman
twin-born with a man had had nine children, four boys
and five girls; while in another case both the man and
woman twin-born had children of both sexes when they
married, showing that neither brother nor sister was sterile.
Further, in " The British Medical Journal " of November
1902, p. 1691, a case is mentioned of a man, the co-twin
of a woman, marrying a woman who was the co-twin of
another man i.e. the man and woman of two different
pairs of pigeon-pair twins married and had a child; which
also conclusively shows that neither child in a case of different
sexed twins is necessarily or even usually sterile: cf. also
' The British Medical Journal," November 29, 1902, and
December 20, p. 1940. Most human pseudo-hermaphro-
dites are single births; I have found no example of twins
being both hermaphrodites.


It is evident, from the fact to which I have called attention
viz. that the child is born with definite sexed ova already
in her ovaries that the idea that the early condition of
the sexual organs in mankind is one of embryonic herma-
phroditism can no longer be supported. It is partially
disproved, too, from the fact that Nagel has distinguished
the rudimentary testicle from the rudimentary ovary in
an embryo of only five weeks' growth.

To enter into a minute description of the varying deformi-
ties and peculiarities of different false hermaphrodites is
quite unnecessary, and to find a reason for their abnormali-
ties of development does not come within the scope of this
book, neither would it help to solve this question of the
cause of sex.


AMONG the disbelievers of my theory the greatest reliance
in supporting their scepticism has been placed on those
cases (after all only a quite small number) in which an
ovary or an ovarian tumour has been removed by operation,
and the woman has subsequently given birth to a child, whose
sex corresponded to the ovary which had been removed.
In a few cases a woman has even had twins, boy and girl,
after the removal of one ovary.

It is, of course, at once evident that one part of my theory
of the causation of sex entirely fails if this rare occurrence
cannot be fully explained.

The explanation is, shortly, that it is very difficult, and
often impossible, to be sure that all ovarian tissue has been
removed by the operation of taking away an ovary or an
ovarian tumour.

It is not usual to remove normal ovaries, but even when
removing an apparently normal ovary it is quite easy to
leave a portion of ovarian tissue in the stump or pedicle
i.e. in the ovarian or utero-ovarian ligament which runs
from the ovary to the side of the uterus. This ligament
is normally about an inch to an inch and a quarter long.
I have seen one of the most experienced of abdominal
surgeons unintentionally leave ovarian tissue in the pedicle

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Online LibraryErnest Rumley DawsonThe causation of sex in man; a new theory of sex based on clinical materials together with chapters on forecasting or predicting the sex of the unborn child and on the determination or production of either sex at will → online text (page 12 of 18)