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

. (page 14 of 18)
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 14 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Negrier showed that, if both halves of a double uterus
are fully developed, menstruation (the outward sign of
ovulation) occurred from each half every alternate month
i.e. ovulation occurred alternately. Engel 2 narrated a
case of double uterus, where the " two halves of the uterus

1 This contention of alternate ovulation, as well as the whole theory
generally, has been condemned by a very well-known consultant as " too
mechanical." This seems a very inconsistent objection when we recall
how essentially mechanical the whole of life is. Is not our very respiration
mechanical in its regularity ? So, too, is our heart's action, and why
the latter should be the more rapid of the two we know not, neither can we
alter their respective rhythms. Disease, such as pneumonia, does so; but
this is abnormal rhythm, and recovery soon leads to a return to the normal.
Menstruation, too, has a mechanical regularity in its recurrence, which
in many cases is quite marvellous, for most women can tell to a day, while
some women to my own knowledge can tell to an hour almost, when their
period is due.

Seeing, therefore, the essentially mechanical nature of the three im-
portant functions of respiration, circulation, and menstruation, we can
hardly look upon this as a valid objection to the theory.

2 Engel, quoted by Dr. A. Giles, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1895, vol. xxxvii.,
P- 333-



menstruated separately"; while Jurinka, 1 quoted by
Dr. C. Lockyer, writing on menstruation in double uterus,
says: " Such uteri are functionally normal, the two halves
alternating in the menstrual process."

Hence, as menstruation thus occurs alternately from the
uterine halves, so also must the ovulations be alternate
from the ovary attached to each half of the uterus, and thus
alternate menstruation is indicative of alternate ovulation.

Now, if the two halves have coalesced (as is normal)
to form the single cavity uterus, the respective ovaries
will certainly alternately ovulate, and menstruation will
now necessarily appear regularly each month from the single
uterine cavity.

In the following case Ballantyne 2 quotes T. A. Emmet
as recording a case of double uterus with one half imper-
f orate: "There was a bimonthly menstrual flow from one
half, while on the other side there is an imperforate condition
of the horn," so that the ovary attached to the normal
side ovulated every second month, as evidenced by the .bi-
monthly menstruation; for, as Strassmann says: "Each
menstruation is the expression of an ovulation."

The nearly equal birth-rate of boys and girls viz. 106 to
100 proves that nearly an equal number of ova are pro-
vided by the two ovaries, so this further corroborates
alternate ovulation, because we have seen that the two
ovaries do not act at the same time. Bilateral ovulation
is not normal, so they must act nearly alternately to insure
a nearly equal number of children.

I have details of several cases of alternate good and bad
menstrual periods.

Thus Miss U. M., age twenty-eight, for the last seven
years at least has noticed that she has " alternately bad
(i.e. painful) periods, followed by a good or painless one."

When she has a bad period she has " great " pains run-
ning down from the right iliac spine and down the right
groin. The next period (the good or not markedly painful
one) she " does not notice any of these right inguinal pains,
though she has slight pain over the lower abdomen."

1 Jurinka, " Journ. of Obstet. and Gyn.," vol. v., 1904, p. 174.

2 Ballantyne in Allbutt, Playfair and Eden's " System of Gynaecology,"
1906, p.^142.


This case points to ovulation (which is admitted to occur
at or about a menstrual period, and to have its " external
sign in menstruation ") being one month painless, but next
month painful; and the pain being always over the right
ovary points to the right ovary ovulating with pain one
month, and the left ovary ovulating painlessly the month

As the pain shows an alternate monthly periodicity, we
must conclude that the right ovary ovulates every alternate

Miss M. S., age twenty-seven. " Has a good period,
then a bad one; then the next will be another good one."
' The pain is always on the right side at the bad periods,
never on the left."

She does not get two good periods running, so that we
have bimonthly painful ovulation, with the pain always
on the same side, the right.

Miss W. menstruates every thirty days. She has pain
over the right ovarian region and down the right leg every
second period. It is quite marked and different from the
slight abdominal discomfort of the other times. These
cases point to painful ovulation from the right ovary each
alternate month, that from the left ovary being practically

Mrs. J. J. has alternately painful periods. She has
considerable' pain in the left ovarian region every other
month; the " other periods she is unaware of, except for
the show." She has no pains then.

Miss T. T.'s periods are very regular, every twenty-eight
days. There is always some pain, but every other period
is a bad one, and she notices the pain is always worst over
the left ovarian region at these bad alternate periods.
She then has to keep her bed, and is often bad and unable
to do her work for over a week. Her mother often says,
" Never mind; you'll have a better time next time." At
the good times the pain is slight and diffused over the
abdomen; " at the bad times it is most severe, and is always
most marked over the left ovarian region."

In these cases we have bimonthly excessive pains, always
over the left ovary; at the other times it is diffused over the


abdomen, and is only slight, pointing to markedly painful
and incapacitating left-sided ovulation every second month.

Mrs. G. H. since the age of twenty-one has had alternately
good and bad periods. During the bad periods the pain
is always on the left side, over the ovarian region, never on
the right side, and for the first day it quite incapacitates her.

Miss E. G., twenty, has alternately good and bad periods.
At the bad periods the pain is always over the left ovarian
region, and is so bad as to make her limp and feel faint.
She has " no pain at all during the good period " beyond
the aching of the legs, which she has during all her periods.

Miss F. D., eighteen, has one good period as regards
pain, but the next is a bad one, though the amount lost
each period is the same. The pain is always over the left
ovarian region, never on the right side. " Some of the good
periods there is actually no pain at all," but at " the next
period there would be great pain, and always on the left

Again, Miss H. C., age twenty-six. The periods used to
be " nearly painless."

The last eighteen months she has had pains in the left
hip and dragging pains in the left iliac region. For the last
two years the menstrual periods have been alternately
easy, and the next very painful.

" The easy periods are like those she used to have at first. In the
painful ones the pain is always in the left groin; the easy and painful
periods are quite alternate."

Here the pain recurring every other month over the left
ovary points to the fact that the left ovary ovulates every
other month with pain, while the right ovulation is painless.

Mrs. D. F. says: " Every other month I have a flooding.
The period one month is fairly quiet, but the next one is
a flooding," and so on alternately. She " cannot go out
for first three days of her bad periods."

Alternately profuse and normal periods.

Miss L. S. says: " Every second month I am bad. One
month I am up and as well as can be; next month I am
awfully poorly and in bed the first day."

Alternate painful and painless ovulation.


Miss S. S. T. has alternately good and bad periods,
though the pain is not definitely confined to one side.

Miss F. Y., twenty- two, has alternate profuse and scanty
periods. Uses double the number of squares at her bad
period to what she does at the next or slight one. She has
no abdominal or ovarian pains.

In the following case a married patient has a left inguinal
hernia, whose sac probably contains the left ovary; it is
not a true hernia of the ovary.

Mrs. H. L. has had two boys and no girls !

She wears a truss for a left inguinal hernia, which is
painful at alternate periods. When wearing it she has no
pain in the lump " except when she is poorly." She then
has to take off the truss " to ease the pain in the lump."

" I don't have the two months alike; one month the pain is worse

than the next."

" The lump is tender to the touch when poorly."

" The pain makes me feel quite sick; it is worse one month than


The left ovary is probably in the hernial sac.

Note, too, that both her children came from the right,
or normal ovary, and so were boys.

The alternate monthly pain over the left ovary points
to the left ovary ovulating every other month with pain,
the right ovulation being painless.

Mrs. F. P. menstruates every second month only, and
then without pain. At the time when the next period
should appear, but does not, she has great pain over the
right ovarian region, never over the left. This pain occurs
bimonthly. So one month there is painless menstruation;
next month pains, always over the right ovarian region,
but no menstruation appears.

She has had two children both girls !

First, then, this case should be compared with the previous
one, and the difference in the children noted. This case
shows bimonthly normal ovulation from the left ovary,
and painless menstruation, followed next month by distinct
pains over the right ovary, but no external evidence by
menstruation of ovulation taking place. We must infer
normal ovulation from the left ovary, and abnormal from


the right ovary, and amenorrhcea. Practical proof is shown,
by the two children being of the same sex (female), that
the ova came from the left ovary; it is therefore a most
convincing case.

In this case, a patient of Dr. T. G/s had a severe
attack of appendicitis, and later a large appendix abscess
formed. Since then she has had more pain in the right
ovarian region, with each alternate menstruation, than
formerly, and she has since had two girls, but no boy !

Here, probably, owing to inflammatory adhesions, etc.,
round the appendix, and consequently in the near neigh-
bourhood of her right ovary, the latter has become bound
down, and hence ovulation therefrom has become painful;
and quite possibly the ova are unable to properly escape,
and so reach the Fallopian tube. So that both her children
have been girls, as no ovum from the right ovary has been

I think I may rightly claim that these cases prove alternate
monthly painless and painful ovulation evidenced by
alternate monthly pain over one and always the same ovary.

It must be recalled that Garrigues 1 states that

" In some patients I have observed that alternately one or the other
ovary undergoes a considerable swelling at the time of every men-

So that this corroborates the alternate ovulation of the

Finally, the strongest proof of alternate ovulation by the
ovaries lies in practically trying it, as was done in the follow-
ing case, of which I have full details. It is most convincing
and conclusive.

Mrs. T. A. G. writes thus in a letter to me: " Having pur-
chased and read ' The Causation of Sex/ I was very much
struck by your theory, and decided to put same to the test,"
so " we commenced to make notes of the menstrual periods."
Then follows in the letter a list of menstrual periods, show-
ing alternately painful and painless periods. To quote
again: " You will see by above that we were able to tell
which side ovulation had taken place, on account of more

1 Garrigues, " Diseases of Women," 1900, p. 122.


or less pain every other month on the right side." " In
April 1914 we decided to undertake parenthood; therefore
you will see that we expected and wanted a son. April 14,
1914, was the last period, and I am pleased to say a
son (a perfect bonny boy) was born to us on January 8, 1915."

This case would, I presume, be called a " chance success "
by one of my sceptical reviewers.

Besides these cases of pain every alternate month over
the same ovarian region, we must note the frequency of
unilateral mammary pain in association with menstruation.

Pa.n in one breast only during menstruation (the out-
ward sign of ovulation) evidently points to unilateral and
alternate ovulation, for the very intimate association of
the breasts and the genitalia is universally known. Dr.
E. J. Tilt 1 writes of " the intimate sympathetic connection
existing between the ovaries and the breasts." Temesvary, 2
who has carefully studied the subject, has noted that in
some cases menstruation causes extremely severe mammary
pain, " so that the women in question cannot lie on the
corresponding side."

As the breasts are usually affected alternately, we get
proof of alternate ovulation. In some cases one breast
only is painful every alternate month, so we are justified
in saying that if the right breast is painful, then the right
ovary has ovulated.

The following is an actual example of this from my own
practice :

Mrs. A. C., age twenty-six, has neither abdominal nor
ovarian pains at her periods, nor in her left breast ; but she
has " very sharp pains, every other period, in the right
breast, which last throughout the period." She cannot
lie on her right side during these alternately painful periods
owing to the pains in the right breast.

That only one breast should be painful every other month
during the menstrual period, if it does not signify ovulation
from the corresponding ovary, would be hard indeed to
explain. It certainly supports the contention of alternate

1 E. J. Tilt, " Diseases of Women," 2nd edit.

2 Temesvary, " Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology," vol. iii. 1903.
P. 513.


I have, too, decisive evidence of some women definitely
noticing " shooting " or " fine pricking sensations," like
nerve thrills or telegraphic messages, in first one breast only,
then next month in the other breast only, for from three to
seven days prior to the appearance of each menstrual period.
This points not only to ovulation preceding menstruation
as to time, but also being usually quite painless as far as
the ovary or ovarian region is concerned. Owing, however, to
its " intimate connection " with the breast, a nerve message
from the ovary of ovulation having occurred therefrom is
conveyed to the corresponding breast some days before the
flow appears.

As the patients have noticed this " tingling " message
in one breast one month, and in the opposite breast the
next month, we have here most conclusive support of
alternate ovulation. It is to be noted that this " tingling or
pricking sensation, "indicative of ovulation, is quite different
from the lasting mammary pain just previously described.

Leguen ! reported a case proving the intimate association
of the ovary with the breast of the corresponding side. He
performed ovariotomy for a tumour in the right ovary.
' The right breast at once underwent atrophy."

Dr. T. G. Drennan 2 has noticed cases of alternate right
and left mammary pain, and deduces alternate ovulation

Whether in a pregnant woman the first breast to have
any fluid or milk corresponds always to the ovary which
has supplied the fertilised ovum i.e. whether the left breast
always secretes first when the child is female, and vice versa
is a very difficult question to prove.

It is necessary to observe only primiparous women, for
milk very early and easily appears in the breasts of multi-
parse. In primiparae I find that milk is usually present
before they inform their doctor they are pregnant even;
but in five cases I have proved that the right breast had milk
in it first, and the child born was a boy in each case.
Strangely enough, I have met with only one case of the left
breast having milk first, and the child being a girl.

1 " Brit. Med. Journ.," Feb. 1904, p. 388.

2 " American Journal of Obstetrics," Oct. 1902, p. 502.



In the case of Mrs. E. F., who was delivered by me
of a boy, not only was her right breast much larger than
her left, but the nipple and the areola were most marked,
and were quite six times larger and much darker than
the left nipple and areola. While Mrs. W. H., who was
prematurely delivered of a stillborn female child in March
1911, still had milky fluid oozing from her left nipple on
August i, 1911, when I examined her. The right breast
was quite dry, and she had never seen anything there-

Mrs. L. S. G. engaged me to attend her on June 20, 1912.
She was turned two months pregnant. Her right breast
was so much larger and firmer than the left that I there and
then predicted a boy for her. I delivered her of a boy on
January 15, 1913.

I have been unable to obtain more cases owing chiefly
to the reserve of the early pregnant woman, and her not
coming under observation soon enough.

Confirmatory of this, Sir J. Bland-Sutton 1 and Dr. Lewers 2
have both recorded cases of milk in one breast only in cases
of tubal pregnancy. In each case the breast corresponded
in its side to the gravid tube, and therefore to the oosperm-
supplying ovary. Dr. Lewers' case was on the right side;
Sir J. Bland-Sutton does not specify which side.

I have seen several cases of abscess in the breast which
corresponded to the sex of the child: thus, child born
female, breast affected the left, and vice versa. Billroth
states that abscess of the right breast is distinctly more
frequent than abscess of the left breast, there being 250
cases of abscess in the right breast to 190 cases of left-breast
abscess. But, then, boys are more often born than girls,
and thus probably we get the reason for the greater number
of right-breast cases. At all events, the breast most often
affected corresponds with the ovary which, being larger,
leads to most children (males) being born. Be it noted
that bilateral mammary abscess is distinctly rare about
8 per cent, of all cases only and boy and girl twins are also
rarer than single boys and girls.

1 " Diseases of Ovaries," 1896, p. 296.

- " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1900, vol. xlii. p. 326.


These cases, then, all go to prove alternate action of the
ovaries in ovulating, for we have had

pain over the same ovary in alternate monthly menstrual
periods ;

pain in the t same breast in alternate monthly menstrual

periods ;

and the intimate association of the breast and ovary of the
same side are proved by

milk first appearing in the breast corresponding to the
side of the pregnancy (normal or extra-uterine) ;

abscess in the breast corresponding to the sex of the


While Emmett's case of bimonthly menstruation from the
normal half of a bicornute uterus is convincing.

If fertilisation invariably followed ovulation, we might
expect the children would be more often born alternately
male and female. That this does occur sometimes we have
seen in Chap. XVII.

Owing, however, to the uncertainty of fertilisation in the
human species, and to the fact of insemination occurring
at any time, and so not happening to fertilise the ovum from
the opposite ovary, such regular alternation in the sexes
does not often happen.

It is otherwise, however, in the monotocous animals,
who permit insemination (from which fertilisation practically
always follows) only when an ovum is provided i.e. when
on heat (see Chap. XIV., p. 99, for the remarks by Fane]
which Heape 1 'thus confirms :

" In many, possibly most of the lower mammals, though not in all
of them, ovulation and heat are indissolubly connected."

In mares and cows especially we find that male and female
offspring appear alternately, provided the female is allowed
access to the male when instinct or " nature " prompts
her that is to say, if the female is covered when the mother
first ovulates and shows sexual desire i.e. the first rutting
after the birth of her recently born foal or calf.

This fact is well known to many veterinary surgeons in
the country. A friend of mine, a doctor, " by acting on

1 Heape, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1898, p. 171.


this has made his cow give him three heifers (or females)
in succession by preventing the bull getting at her for a
month after calving, thus missing the first rut or ovulation,
which would give a male."

The following extract from a private letter from a farmer
correspondent is very confirmatory :

" Our experience supports your theory so far as practice goes.
For some years between 1888 and 1893 my father and I carried out
your theory in breeding our pedigree Jersey herd. We concluded
that the sex changed with every heat. On this theory, and desiring
cow calves, we were very successful."

The fact is made use of also by stockbreeders e.g. in
South Africa, where, when " ordering cows from England
to calve there, they stipulate for a bull calf to be born,
relying on its being so if the last calf was a heifer."

Dr. L. M. Snow 1 recently thus confirmed this:

" Suppose a mare has a filly foal, and goes to the horse on the
ninth day after foaling and becomes pregnant, the foal will be a colt,
for at her last rutting time she became pregnant with the recently
born filly. I may say he has correctly foretold me the sexes of his
foals for the last five years."

Because a woman's children are not alternately male
and female it is no proof that ovulation was not alternately
from the right or male and left or female ovary; it signifies
only that fertilisation did not happen to occur in an ovum
from the opposite ovary to the one which yielded the
former child.

When one ovary has been completely removed, ovulation
from the remaining ovary soon ceases to be only every
alternate month; a compensatory activity sets in, and both
menstruation and ovulation then occur every month with
great regularity, as usual. We all know how vision, hear-
ing, and manual dexterity become keener and greater when
the fellow eye, ear, or hand become useless or are removed.
In the same manner the single ovary becomes equal to all
demands upon it ; for it grows and increases in size to make
up for the deficiency, rising, as it were, to the occasion
and fulfilling the function of the two, somewhat like the
single kidney does after the removal of its fellow.

1 " Brit. Med. Journ.," May 16, 1903.



FROM the contention of ovulation occurring alternately
from the male or right ovary, and the female or left ovary,
I have been able to correctly forecast the sex of the forth-
coming child of my pregnant patients, as well as of some
others whom I had not even seen.

I claim to have had 97 per cent, of successes; the 3 per
cent, of failures are chiefly due to inability of the mother
to correctly state in which month her confinement is to be
expected. Thus, if a patient states she is to be confined
in June, for example, and I have predicted a female child,
but she is delivered of a full-time male child in May or
July, my prophecy is thrown wrong; but she would have been
told to expect a male in either of those months had the
mother said she expected in one or other of them. Some
of these cases are due to menstruation occurring once at
least after the patient has become pregnant, so that the
expected month of birth is wrong. Similarly, should
pregnancy occur during lactation, when menstruation is
usually absent, it would be difficult to know exactly which
ovulation had been fertilised.

Forecasts of a child's sex must be made for full-time
children, for premature children may or may not make the
prediction wrong, since if born two months too soon the
sex would be correctly foretold because it would be the same
as in the full- term month; if born a few days to a month
too soon the forecast will be wrong.

Such immature children and all abortions and miscarriages



interfere with the rhythm in calculating later pregnancies.
See the case of the Queen of Spam's family in Chapter XXVI.,
p. 216.

Failure in other cases is due to an irregular type of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 18

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 14 of 18)