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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and together equalling the known number of menstrual periods
experienced, not only proves unilateral ovulation, but also
necessarily implies that such ovulation must be practically
alternate from the two ovaries.

Bland-Sutton, " Diseases of Ovaries," 1891, p. 46.

2 J. Phillips, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," vol. xxxiii. 1891, p. 395.

3 Garrigues, " Obstetrics," 1902, p. 17.


In animals, too, in whom single pregnancy is customary,
only one ovary ovulates at a time. This is borne out by the
observations of Heape 1 on monkeys. These animals are
monotocous i.e. have but one at a birth and he found
the ruptured Graafian follicle on one side only. They had
" a more or less prominent discharged follicle in one or other
of their ovaries " that is, not one in each ovary so that
ovulation had been unilateral and not bilateral.

Of course, in the polytocous animals such as pigs,
foxes, dogs, cats, rats, and rabbits, etc., where multiple
births are the rule each ovary ovulates, and yields several
ova. It is only when the ovaries have provided ova that
the female animal permits insemination; hence both ovaries
in the polytocous animals act at the same time.

I have found as many as eight corpora lutea in one ovary
of a rabbit, and six more in the opposite one, fourteen in
all; while five corpora lutea in each of a sow's ovaries is
not a very unusual number.

Every theory of the causation of sex hitherto brought
forward, other than the association, in some way or other,
of the right side with the production of the male sex and
the left for the female sex, has been met and answered by
a diametrically opposite or contradictory theory; thus

Canestrini maintained that sex was due to the number
of spermatozoa which entered the ovum. The greater
the number of spermatozoa the more male children are
produced; a few lead to girls being born.

Dr. J. Ross (" Lancet," 1884, p. 48) held just the opposite;
he says: " A few spermatozoa lead to male offspring."

Geddes and Thomson ascribed the production of males to
a katabolic habit of body, and of females to an anabolic

Dr. Andrew Wilson, F.R.S.E. (" Lancet," 1891, p. 713),
says exactly the opposite: an anabolic habit of body pro-
duces males, a katabolic habit of body produces females.

The theory that sex is dependent on the relative ages of
the parents led to

1 Heape, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.." vol. xl. 1898, p. 167.


Hofacker and Sadler maintaining that the older parent
produced its own sexed offspring.

This was directly contradicted from a larger number of
cases by

Berner and Stieda, who held that the younger parent
produced its own sexed offspring.

Girou promulgated the comparative vigour theory that
the stronger parent produced its own sexed children, so that
if a woman were the stronger a girl was born.

Vilson, Romme, Van Lint, and others, say just the oppo-
site viz., that the weaker parent produces its own sexed
children, or the stronger parent breeds the opposite sexed
child to itself, and thus a stronger woman should breed boys.

Mayerhofer advanced the view that it was the fresh and
unexhausted state of the father which led to male offspring,
so that when a bull or ram was fresh and newly turned
among the cows or ewes he bred more males or his own sex.

Dr. P. Tuckey (" British Medical Journal," January 19,
1901) says just the opposite that when a bull or ram is
newly turned out among the herds of cows or ewes, the
offspring of the females served early were mostly females;
the later ones were males: that is, when the father was
fresh and not exhausted he bred the opposite sex.

The theory, supported by Robin and by Burdach, that
infrequent sexual intercourse leads to female children has
been met by the opposite one held by Mayerhofer that in-
frequent intercourse is responsible for the production of boys.

This fact I have here alluded to, that nearly every
invented theory has found someone else bring forward
another theory exactly opposite to it, is proof that neither
of them could be the correct solution of the problem of the
causation of sex.

But the exception to the above statement is the theory
which I propound viz. that the male parent has nothing
to do with the sex of the offspring, which is absolutely the
prerogative of the woman or female parent, who has in her
two ovaries the different sexed ova the male in the right
ovary, the female in the left ovary.


This theory receives considerable confirmation from the
fact that the right side of the body in both the male and
female parents has always been allocated to the production
of the male sex, and, vice versa, the left side has always been
attributed to the female sex.

By this I mean that no one has ever yet, as far as I can
discover, introduced an opposite theory, in which the right
side has in any way whatever, or in either parent, been held
responsible for the production of girls, or that the left side
produced boys.

My theory, then, is remarkable as the only exception to
the rule that, given a theory, an opposite or contradictory
one is soon brought forward to disprove it.

In various ways and ideas, then, the right side has always
been assigned to the male, and the left side to the girls or
females. Thus

The secretion of the right testicle plus that from the right
ovary together produced boys, according to Hippo-
crates, Anaxagoras, and later /. Hencke.

The right side in both parents, because it was the warmer,
produced boys, according to Galen.

Turning by the woman on to her right side after coition,
to ensure semen falling into the right side of uterus,
produced boys, according to Avicenna of Ispahan.

Habitually sleeping on the right side of the wife produced
boys, according to T. B., " Lancet," 1870.

Sex is due to the spermatozoa only: the right-sided
spermatozoa are male, and produce boys, according to
Michael Scott.

Sex is due to the ova only: the right-sided ova are male,
and produce boys, according to E. Rumley Dawson.

Further, when pregnancy is present it has been said by
Albertus Magnus :

If a pregnant woman in walking moves her right foot

before her left, she will have a boy.
If in a pregnant woman the right breast is harder and

larger, she will have a boy.


The following facts also serve to show in different ways
the allocation of the right side to males:

Men, Havelock Ellis says, have better sight with the right
eye, women better sight with the left eye; and in domestic
matters it is curious that men have the buttons on the right,
women have their buttons on the left side of their clothes ;
and whereas men usually put the right arm first into their
coats, women usually begin with the left. But why there
is this difference I have been unable to discover. The name
Benjamin, too, is suggestive.



IT will come as a serious blow to the vanity of man to know
that this question must be answered with a decided negative.

Man, or the male, has nothing to do with the causation of
the sex of the future child. 1

In the act of insemination, the semen comes via the
ejaculatory ducts from both testicles simultaneously, and
from the reservoirs or vesiculae seminales which store the
secretion from both the testicles. Out of this mixture of
spermatozoa from the two testicles, some chance spermato-
zoon fertilises the carefully prepared and sexually distinct
ovum derived from a single ovary. Which spermatozoon 2
from the number which collect around an ovum actually
does fertilise the single ovum nucleus must be purely a
matter of chance, but man's part in fertilisation and genera-
tion has ceased with the supplying of this single chance
spermatozoon. Can we credit, then, that this sperm-cell,
rapidly formed in the testis, can be the instrument chosen
from among hundreds of thousands of others to determine
the sex of the future child ?

Its life-history is so short, and its successful junction with
the ovum so much a matter of chance, that it compares very
unfavourably with the ovum, which, though truly only a
single cell, has enjoyed almost a monopoly in the maternal

1 This statement seems to have much perturbed one of the critics of
my book; for, reviewing it in a scientific journal, he opined that not only
was I " not justified in making the statement," but that " this part of the
theory asks us to accept too much"; for, wrote he, "without a male there
will be no offspring, either daughters or sons " ! Could criticism, con-
sidered crushing, be more frivolous or inane ?

I here assume that only one spermatozoon is reqiiisite for fertilisation,



This ovum, which was present in its mother's ovary
prior even to her own birth, has been carefully preserved for
some twenty-five years ; if the woman is of that age, and for
some months has been an object of careful preparation and
maturation, it is therefore no chance production. It carries
with it, I say, its definite unalterable sex, and awaits only

That the human ova have their sex already definitely
fixed prior even to their dehiscence, I stated in my paper
in the Obstetrical Society's " Transactions " for 1900,
vol. xlii., p. 356. The male ova arise from the right ovary
and the female from the left ovary, so that the female
infant is born with her primitive ova already either male or
female, and thus the causation of sex comes to be dependent
on the woman alone.

From a leading article in " The British Medical Journal" 1
I see that Dr. Lenhossek, Professor of Anatomy at the
University of Budapest, has quite recently expressed a
similar belief. He says the sex of the offspring is determined
before impregnation takes place.

" It follows, then, that the sex of the offspring is decided not
by both, but by one only of the parents, and Professor Lenhossek
is of opinion that biological experiments show that it is the mother,
and not the father, that possesses this power. The sex of the ovum
is fixed before the spermatozoon fertilises it."

That our microscopes are not at present powerful or
complete enough to differentiate a male from a female ovum
is admitted, but we may by an improved microscope or
Rontgen or other rays be able to some day thus recognise
a difference in them.

To quote again from " The British Medical Journal ":

" The ova in the human subject, and in many of the animals, do
not indeed show any sexual dissimilarity either in their histological
or in their chemical characters; but similarity in these details may
be only apparent, not real. Nature is constantly teaching us that
dissimilarity may exist when we cannot perceive it. He is a bold
histologist who will nowadays maintain that no difference exists
between two masses of protoplasm simply because his microscope
reveals to his eye no difference between them."

1 May 9, 1903, p. 1101.


I have already said the causation of sex is dependent on
the woman alone ; it comes to be essentially her prerogative.
She prepares an ovum (male or female) in much the same
way as a parlour-maid prepares and lays a fire it may be a
coal or a wood one and waits for the match to be applied
before the fire develops. The application of the match to the
fire in the grate, whether wood or coal, starts the fire it
does not make a coal fire into a wood one or vice versa ; and
in a similar manner the penetration of the spermatozoon
into the prepared ovum starts the process of development
of a child, a boy or girl being produced according to which
ovary prepared the ovum. Hence the part played by man
is that of applying the match or stimulus which starts the
process of development and growth of the offspring from the
ovum. Man, in fact, is the fire-lighter, not the fire-layer.
Man fertilises the ovum ; he does not sexify it.

Aristotle long ago held that woman supplied the primary
material for the development of the future individual;
and it was the function of the man to give the impulse in
consequence of which the future individual came into
being: I now apply this to sex causation. The woman
supplies a definite and unalterable sexed ovum, the pros-
pective maleness or femaleness of her ova being fixed prior
even to her own birth; man supplies the stimulus which
causes the first steps in the child's development; together
the man and woman impart to it, in varying degree, its
individuality, its heredity, its ancestral characteristics and

We shall now see how clinical facts and cases support
these views: that the male parent does not influence the
sex of the coming child is proved by such cases as these,
where a woman has one-sexed children only by different men ;

Mrs. V. L. by her first husband had 2 girls jo boys by
second 4 J either.

Mrs. S. A. by her first husband had 2 girlst o boys by
second ,, 3 J either.

Mrs. P. J. by her first husband had 5 girls \o boys by
second igirl f either.


Mrs. R. L. by her first husband had i girl } o boys by
second 3 girls/ either.

Mrs. P. B. by her first husband had 2 girls] o boys by
second 2 ,, / either.

Mrs. Mk. by her first husband had 4 boysl o girls by

second 3 J either.

Mrs. S. by her first husband had 3 boyslo girls by

second 3 J either.

Mrs. L. T. H. by her first husband had 2 boyslo girls by

second ,, i boy J either.

Mrs. L. D. by her first husband had 4 boys) o girls by

,, second i boy j either.

Mrs. W. by her first husband had 2 boys|o girls by

second ,, i boy j either.

Surely if the husbands settled the sex, the above mothers
would have had mixed children, instead of only one-sexed
children by two different men; the wives were unilaterally
sterile. These cases show that the spermatozoa of two
different men were quite unable to produce both sexes in
certain women, so that sex determination does not lie in
the spermatozoa.

In the following cases the husband of more than one wife
gets one-sexed children only from each wife ; but as they differ
in the different wives, while the sexual act is the same for
each wife, the inference must be that the wife settles the sex.

Mr. G. Y. by his first wife had 3 girls, o boys,
second 3 boys, o girls,
third i boy, o girls.

Mr. L. by his first wife had 3 boys, o girls; then he married
a widow who already had one girl by her first husband ; by
the widow, his second wife, L. had 3 girls, o boys.

Mr. P. by his first wife had 3 boys, o girls.

,, ,, second ,, 5 girls, o boys.
Mr. S. by his first wife had 7 boys, o girls.

,, ,, second ,, i girl, o boys.
Mr. H. B. by his first wife had 3 boys, o girls.

,, ,, second ,, 4 girls, o boys.


In the above cases the fathers produced both-sexed
children with different wives, but only one sex with each
wife, i.e. the father did not influence the sex; the women
were " unilaterally " sterile.

In the following cases the man gets both-sexed children
with one of his wives, but only one sex with the other,
because she is ' ' unilaterally ' ' sterile ; if it depended on the
male he should get both-sexed children with both wives.

Mr. Mil. by his first wife had four girls, no boys; by his
second wife had first, a girl; second, a boy; third, a girl.

Mr. P. by his first wife had 5 boys, o girls.

,, second ,, i boy, 9 girls.
Mr. C. by his first wife had 2 boys, 7 girls.

,, ,, second ,, 4 boys, o girls.
Mr. P. T. by his first wife had 3 girls, o boys.

,, ,, second ,, first i boy, then i girl.
Mr. K. by his first wife had 2 boys, i girl.

,, ,, second 2 girls, o boys.
Mr. T. F. by his first wife had 5 girls, o boys.

,, ,, second ,, 2 girls, i boy.

MONORCHIDS. In those cases where men have only one
testicle -monorchids, as they are called we should expect,
unless we assumed that both testicles contain spermatozoa
able to determine both sexes, that, if the male settled the
sex, all the children he had would be of one sex only, and
would correspond in sex to the testicle he possessed; but
this is not so, and the following cases practically prove it :

C. W., examined by me, has no sign of a right testicle
or cord; he has the left testicle only. His wife has had 3
children by him : 2 boys, i girl.

J. F., examined by me, has the right testicle only ; there is
not, and never has been, any sign or sensation of a left one.
His wife has had 4 children by him (2 boys, 2 girls) thus:
(i) Boy, (2) girl, (3) girl, (4) boy.

H. P., a medical man, has the right testicle only ; never
had any sign, he says, of a left one, being born with the
one only. His wife has had 3 children by him : first a boy,
then 2 girls.


The above three very typical and interesting cases show
that a man with one testicle only can give rise to the birth
of either-sexed children; also that the spermatozoa from
each testicle have not their own particular, definite sex,
according to which testicle they arise from they are,
indeed, asexual or sexless.

The cases quite disprove the Hippocratic idea that
spermatozoa from one testis can only fertilise the ova from
the ovary of the corresponding, or even the opposite, side.

The spermatozoa from either testicle are thus proved
able to fertilise the ova from either ovary, or even both
ovaries, and so give rise to either-sexed children in fact,
a monorchid can be father of boy and girl twins. This
fertilising of an ovum is quite different to initiating its
sex, or " sexifying "it.

That the male parent or father has nothing to do with
the causation of sex is borne out by animals also: I have
noticed that in them a certain female will give with different
males all the same sex of offspring.'

Knight, quoted by W. B. Carpenter* as long ago as 1809,
remarked that:

" In flocks or herds of domesticated quadrupeds, it is no un-
common thing to meet with females, whose offspring is almost in-
variably of the same sex, although it have resulted from intercourse
with several different males; on the other hand, he has never met
with males that exhibited any such uniformity in the sex of their
offspring with different females. Hence he concluded that the
female parent exercises the chief influence in determining the sex."

In support of the truth of this statement the following
cases in my own experience will suffice :

A brown retriever bitch known as " Brownie " had four
pups, all bitches no dog pups.

A black-and-tan bitch was covered by two different stud
dogs at different times; at the

First litter she had 2 dogs*

Second no bltch pups *

oeconu ,, ,, 4 ,, j

that is, two different fathers could not produce female

1 " Principles of General and Comparative Physiology," 1841, p. 500.


offspring. Both these stud dogs the writer knows possessed
both testicles. I mention this because many owners remove
one testicle from dogs, fox-terriers especially, and this does
not cause one sex pups only to be born to any bitch they
may line. It has been proved, too, that a unilaterally
castrated bull similarly produces calves of both sexes.
Hence the male animal does not determine the sex.

A cow was covered by fifteen different bulls, and she had
seventeen calves, all cow or female calves that is, fifteen
different fathers could not breed a male between them.
Surely if the male parent influenced the sex, we should
have expected fifteen different males to be able to breed a
bull between them.

A mare was covered by more than six different stallions
(some being used more than once). She had ten different
foals, all males that is, she never once had a filly or female
foal. The multiple fathers could not affect the sex of the
foals. The mother evidently was unilaterally sterile, only
the right ovary being active. And in the same way the
bitch and cow must have been unilaterally sterile, so that
the multiple fathers could only produce one sex.

And lastly, from the " Daily Mail " I read:

" A sow belonging to Mr. A. Watson, of the Grange Farm, Claver-
ing, has given birth to a litter of ten, all of which are boar pigs."



IN order to prove my theory that the cause of the male sex
is due to the fertilisation of ova derived from the right ovary
only, it will be necessary to show cases of male pregnancy
with the corpus luteum in the right ovary.

We have seen that normally one ovary discharges a single
ovum, and this when fertilised leads to the normal single
pregnancy; if on examining a child we find it to be a male,
and the right ovary to contain a well-marked true corpus
luteum, we are justified in saying that the ovum from that
right ovary produced a male fcetus. This I find to be
always so, and the following cases will prove it.

Jemima H., age 40, four months pregnant. Admitted
an in-patient at Westminster Hospital for stiff knee-joint.

She suddenly developed acute suppurative peritonitis,
which led to her aborting. The foetus was removed shortly
before her death, which occurred on November 30th, 1889.

On examination the fcetus was found to be a male. 1 Post
mortem the left ovary was normal, the right slightly en-
larged, and containing a well-marked corpus luteum.

Tufnell's 2 case.

" The patient had seven years before given birth to a living child.
Again pregnant. . . .

" Post mortem three or four quarts of fluid and clotted blood were
found in the abdomen, with a small foetus floating therein. There
was a rent in the right Fallopian tube, and a cyst, from which the
foetus had escaped. Right Fallopian tube and ovary agglutinated:
foetus one inch long. The uterus contained a healthy male fcetus,
proportionate to the date of conception. The cystic cavity in the

1 By Drs. J. B. Potter. R. G. Hebb, and E. Rumley Dawson.

2 Tufnell, "New Sydenham Society's Year Book," 1862, p. 339.



light Fallopian tube contained a solid organised mass like a miniature
placenta. There were two distinct corpora lutea in the right ovary."

We have here two foetuses and two corpora lutea in the
same ovary, the right ; the sex (male) is only given of the
intra-uterine foetus. It is a twin male conception un-
doubtedly, the second foetus developed in the right tube,
and must have been ai male. Cf. Chapter IX.

Dr. H. R. Spencer's 1 three cases of Porro's operation.
Dr. H. R. Spencer removed the pregnant uterus owing to
cancer obstructing delivery in the third case.

" The child extracted was a boy, and there was a well-marked
corpus luteum in the right ovary."

Mrs. P., of Leyton, was delivered of a boy, who survives.
The patient died of puerperal septicaemia. At the post-
mortem, at which I was present, there was a well-marked
corpus luteum in the right ovary, none in the left. Placental
site was rather more to the right than to the left of the
mid-line of the anterior wall of uterus.

Dr. Macnaughton- Jones 2 describes a case of first preg-
nancy in a woman the subject of a large suppurating cyst
of the left ovary, which had become so large as to increase
the size of her abdomen a year previously to her becoming

"The patient, aged 31, was delivered of a healthy male child.
On operating, the tumour was found to be a cystoma of the left
ovary, from which an enormous quantity of pus was evacuated.
The right ovary I examined, and found normal."

Here it is evident that a large suppurating cyst of the left
ovary did not provide the ovum which was fertilised, but
the right ovary must have done so. As this was healthy, it
was not opened at the operation, so the presence of the
corpus luteum therein must be inferred. The child born
was a boy, and the right ovary only was healthy.

Meredith's 3 case. Both ovaries diseased, right the least.
Child a male. Performed double ovariotomy during

1 H. R. Spencer, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1896.

2 Macnaughton- Jones, "Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1900, p. 141.

3 W. A. Meredith, " Trans. Obstet. Soc.," 1892, p. 240, etc.


" The larger tumour of the two was extremely multilocular. The
right ovary, situated anterior to the main or larger tumour, con-
tained one main cavity, etc."

" Subsequently the pregnancy terminated in the birth of a well-
developed boy."

It is only reasonable to expect that the ovary that was
only slightly affected should have yielded the ovum. It
was the right ovary that had the smaller tumour, and the

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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 5 of 18)