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Posted on: September 16, 2019 at 5:34 pm

“If you want a boy, keep an ax under your marital bed…”

In the quiet little village of Miejsce Odrzanskie in the Polish commune of Cisek, no boys have been born in over a decade [1]. Within this period, 12 girls have been born from different mothers. This “strange population anomaly” has attracted the attention of geneticists from all over the world who want to find out if there’s some chromosomal issue with adult males since biologically, the males determine the sex of the child. 

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So far, the town has been found to be perfectly normal and there’s nothing genetically abnormal with the people living there. If this had happened in the cities surrounding Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the case would have been an international investigation. It probably would have been attributed to gene mutations caused by radiation spillover.

However, Miejsce is not radiation-soaked, and there’s nothing wrong with the water they drink or the food they eat. The residents have ruled the so-called anomaly a mere statistical coincidence, aided by their extremely tiny population. Poland was the victim of German aggression during World War II, and after the war, the population of Miejsce was 1,200. Today, it has dwindled to 272, and nearly every member of the town has someone living outside the country.

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A reward for the next born son

In the past ten years, every pregnant woman has had a girl, and now, the Mayor has set a reward for the first boy that would be born in recent times.

Some scientists have expressed interest in examining why only girls have been born here,” said Rajmund Frischko, the mayor of the commune to The New York Times [2]. “I also have doctors calling me from all over the country with tips on how to conceive a boy.”

The Mayor revealed that a retired doctor from Central Poland told him to advise the women to eat foods rich in calcium. As some studies have tried to prove, women who consumed calcium before pregnancy were more likely to have boys [3]. This is a method that is not universally endorsed by medical practitioners.

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The Mayor has another option if the calcium thing doesn’t work out.

“And if that doesn’t work,” the mayor joked, “there is always the tried way of the Polish highlanders: If you want a boy, keep an ax under your marital bed. There has been so much talk about us in the media that for a minute there I was considering naming a street after the next boy born here. He will definitely get a very nice gift. And we will plant an oak and name it after him.”

Gear up, everyone! May the ‘first’ man win.

The chances of anyone having a girl of a boy is equally 50 percent

To put things in perspective, in a theoretical town where over 7,000 babies are born in a year at an average of 20 babies per day, no one would think it weird if all babies born on a particular day of the year are all girls. Considering the population size of Miejsce, 12 girls in ten years isn’t anything to worry about, and probably comes down to statistical chance. The probability of a child being a girl or a boy is ½ or 50%, though there is some evidence it may be ever so slightly skewed towards boys at 51%. Either way, it’s like a coin toss. The probability of twelve girls being born consecutively in Miejsce, just like everywhere else, is (1/2)12 = 1/4096. These odds would seem highly unlikely when considered as a whole. However, these girls weren’t all born in one day. They were born over ten years. In this case, the probability of all girls, while still relatively low, is higher. 

The probabilities apply separately to each pair of parents, and it just turned out to be one large coincidence that, to use the coin analogy, all their sides of the coin showed G (girl) and not one was a B(boy). This means the possibilities of having 12 girls or 12 boys or equal amounts of each over one decade are the same. Each scenario independently has an equal chance of happening. So while still statistically possible, it doesn’t rule out that this may have only been chance. 

According to Professor Rafał Płoski from the University of Warsaw, if there is any possibility of being certainly sure that the anomaly is coincidental, some major research work would have to be performed on the birthing parents.

“You have to go deep into the history and check the birth statistics,” he said to Metro UK [4]. “Then you should check if the girl’s parents are not related to each other, even to a very distant extent. ‘The next step, conduct an accurate interview with parents and children, check the environmental conditions. Only then can some trail appear.”

Life in Miejsce

Miejsce should be renamed Girl Ville, for what it’s worth. Women proudly work the fields and farms, harvesting wheat and corn in mounds of golden stalks and cobs. 

The girls in the town volunteer on a fire department youth brigade that is the main hub of social activity in the village. This village has no schools, no malls, no movie theatres, and not even a grocery store or a pizza place. It’s a farming town where the friendly people live like a family and farm their fields. The children go to school in neighboring towns and college in the cities.

A group of girls approached me in 2013 and asked that I train them for a competition,” said Tomasz Golasz, a professional firefighter who founded the village’s youth fire brigade. “These girls live and breathe it. There is so much passion and determination. For two months before every competition, they come to train every day or every other day after school.”

Ten-year-old Malwina Kicler who has been one of the Brigade for almost three years says the girls aren’t affected by the absence of boys from the team. Heck, it makes it easier for the girls to focus on their very important work.

“Boys are noisy and naughty,” she said. “At least now we have peace and quiet. You can always meet them somewhere else.”

These girls have Masters’ degrees in quality sass!

  1. Craig Anderson. No Boys Have Been Born in This Polish Village For 10 Years. Here’s What’s Going On. Science Alert. https://www.sciencealert.com/only-girls-have-been-born-in-this-polish-village-for-the-10-years-what-s-going-on. Retrieved 13-09-19
  2. Joanna Berendt. With No Boys Born in Nearly 10 Years, a Polish Village Finds Fame in Its Missing Males. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/world/europe/poland-village-girls-no-boys.html. Retrieved 13-09-19
  3. Roger Highfield. Diet before pregnancy can affect baby’s sex, new research suggests. Telegraph. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3340540/Diet-before-pregnancy-can-affect-babys-sex-new-research-suggests.html. Retrieved 13-09-19
  4. Basit Mahmood. Town where no boys have been born for 12 years offers reward to next mum to have a son. Metro UK. https://metro.co.uk/2019/07/26/town-no-boys-born-12-years-offers-reward-next-mum-son-10466176/. Retrieved 13-09-19
  5. Admin. GERMAN AGGRESSION AGAINST POLAND. Holocaust. https://www.holocaust.cz/en/history/final-solution/general-2/german-aggression-against-poland/. Retrieved 13-09-19
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