by Fudia Muhammad
If you were told that you could choose the sex of your baby before conception, would you do it? If so, why? If not, why not? Is it ethical? Is it in harmony with your moral ethos and principles to predetermine the sex of your baby? The simple answer to the latter question will be found in the answer to the first question. If the answer is superficial – girls have cuter clothes or boys are so much easier – then, we would argue that the motive is without substance and therefore could be considered unethical or at minimum misguided. However, if the intention is farseeing and the decision is made to produce future eventualities that will have a consequential impact on the family, community and Nation; then it is not only ethical, but it is essential.
The birth of Master W. Fard Muhammad, founder of The Nation of Islam – long awaited “Saviour” of the Black man and woman, and Teacher of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, was not by happenstance. His Father (and other wise scientists), having supreme knowledge of both history and prophecy knew that it was time for such a Deliverer to be born for the purpose of redeeming the Black man and woman of America. Before our incredible fall, we wrote history thousands of years in advance and then walked into it. Did gender have any significance in our writings? Of course it did. The coming of Master W. Fard Muhammad and His work was written in the scriptures thousands of years before His birth.
Brother Jabril Muhammad writes, “He (Master Fard Muhammad) took the Honorable Elijah Muhammad back to what led His (Master Fard Muhammad’s) Father to produce Him in the first place. That which led to His birth was rooted in prophecy (the foresight and insight of the Gods) written in the Bible and Holy Qur’an concerning a lost people that needed finding, and of the new world that He would produce through them…This Father was a real Black man. He knew, therefore, that it would not have been wise for Him to come Himself. He knew He had to have a Son Who looked like the wicked infidels among whom He would have to go (and there were other factors in His reasoning). So, He went up into the mountains and got a White woman: a Caucasian. He prepared her to give birth to this special Son. This is hinted at in the Bible in the mentioning of a woman out of whom was drawn seven devils in the ‘gospels.’ You can also find her mentioned in Revelation and elsewhere. The preachers and theologians used to ponder and argue over the coming of this special Son. He is referred to in the New Testament as the Son of Man.”
So, Master W. Fard Muhammad’s father knew He needed a son for this special mission, not a daughter. How was He able to guarantee that the woman would bear a son, fulfilling prophecy? We cannot be one-hundred percent certain; but we now have a level of knowledge in the field of science, biology and reproduction that allows us to make an intelligent exploration as to how we can determine the sex of our own children.
It is the man that determines the biological sex of the baby, not the woman. We know that the female (X) sperm is slower; yet slightly bigger, stronger, and lives longer than the male (Y) sperm. The male (Y) sperm has a smaller head, it is weaker, dies sooner, but is much faster than its counterpart. With that in mind, consider that a man can emit anywhere from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of sperm at a time; most of which will die within minutes. However, those that remain can live inside of the woman for up to five days (3 days on average). Now, ovulation takes place when a woman’s egg is released.Women have one ovulation day per cycle. The egg only has 12-24 hours to be fertilized once it is released. But since sperm can live up to five days inside of a woman, she can have up to six fertile days per cycle. This means she can get pregnant within the five days leading up to ovulation and up to 24 hours after ovulation.
This information is important if a couple is trying to increase the chances of having one sex over another. If a boy is desired, then based on what we know about the characteristics of the male (Y) sperm; intercourse should take place on the day of ovulation, not before. Theoretically, the faster male (Y) sperm will make it to the egg first. If a girl is desired, then intercourse should take place a few days before ovulation; because based on the characteristics of the female (X) sperm; it will outlive the male (Y) sperm and still be around to fertilize the egg once it is released days later. This natural method for choosing the sex of our babies is called the Shettles Method, named after Dr. Landrum Shettles – studies confirms that it is effective 85% of the time. The Shettles Method makes a few other suggestions that factor into its high accuracy rate, but they are far too intimate for this column. You and your spouse are free to do the research later.
As is the case with many scientific theories, there are those who dispute this method. They argue that though there are differences between the male (Y) sperm and the female (X) sperm that those differences are microscopic, which makes them moot. However, sperm itself is microscopic and the natural biological differences that later manifest in the man and woman appear to support the differences in the male (Y) and female (X) sperm. For example: Generally speaking, women live longer than men; their bodies are rounder and fuller; nine times out of ten she will lose in a sprint (everything else being equal); and we can argue over who is stronger, but she does bear human life – smile!
It is true that there is probably only a small selection of us who are looking beyond the superficial and can see the actual future benefit of having one sex over the other; but those people do exist. And we believe that soon, more and more will exist. For the rest of us, we should probably stick to being surprised. It goes without saying that Allah (God) is the Best Knower. And although 85% is a good percentage, there are no guarantees. Once conception has taken place, the mother-to-be should not focus on any specific gender. The couple should pray for a healthy child, who will contribute to the upliftment of the family, community and Nation. If we are of the righteous, then what pleases Allah (God) pleases us.
It is against the law of Allah (God) to kill a living fetus or embryo simply because it is not the desired sex. This happens far too often through abortions. But it also happens by some couples who use artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. They will often request genetic testing before implantation of the embryo, which among other things determines the sex. The desired sex is then selected and sometimes, if the pregnancy is successful, the other embryos are destroyed. This destruction is considered unethical to most people of faith.
It is no secret that worldwide, boys are desired above girls. Even in Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had to admonish the people for burying their female children alive. In an address to the women of the Nation of Islam, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “I don’t know why they call you miss. You know, miss so and so. Maybe it’s because the father missed because he was after a boy and when you got here he missed. So they call you miss. That’s a hell of a thing. How in the world could somebody have missed when they produced you? See the language of the world is against the female. Miss. He missed. Usually all men want to see themselves first. So usually if it’s a girl, you see this look of, oh. In some societies they literally go off. He never missed when you were born. That was a hit if ever there was one because God has come to make Himself known to you and through you, to the entire world, but you got to give Him a chance to make Himself known.”
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)