A recent study into smoking and pregnancy has indicated that indulging in the nasty habit while pregnant can turn babies gay; this is according to neurologist professor Dick Swaab.
Swaab’s controversial reports states that taking synthetic hormones while smoking can lead to unborn daughters becoming lesbians or bisexuals when they are older; however, it is not just smoking. Swaab suggests that amphetamines, pollution and alcohol also have direct affects on the sexual orientation of a child. The University of Amsterdam professor also suggested that boys with many older brothers could turn out gay.
Health professionals and scientists already agree that smoking is harmful to an unborn baby. It is harmful for the mother, too. There are many chemicals within a single cigarette that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and lung cancer. According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 million people have died prematurely due to smoking.
Smoking and cancer were linked in a report 50 years ago. Tobacco products, including cigarettes, cause a third of all cancers and the number of people dying is going up, despite the number of people smoking decreasing. More recently, in the 32nd report, acting surgeon general Dr. Boris Lushniak linked smoking to colon and liver cancer. These are the two newest, out of a total of 13 cancers, linked to the habit.
The idea that smoking during pregnancy can turn babies gay will be ludicrous to some, but Swaab has expanded on his views. He stated that the brain starts to develop at the second week of gestation, and toxins have a major impact on the hormones during this time.
Stress is another significant factor during pregnancy. Swaab explained that stress leads to a rise in the cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. This affects the amount of fetal sex hormones produced, which increases the chance of gay children. The statement is based on a study of women who took estrogen during 1939 and 1960 in an attempt to reduce the chances of miscarriage; the study showed that there was more chance of daughters becoming lesbian or bisexual.
Drinking and pollution are also linked to a baby developing medical issues. Women who drink during pregnancy can prevent cells from migrating across the fetal brain and can even leave the brain altogether. Swaab also considers pollution to be linked to an increased risk of autism; he indicates that drinking and smoking during pregnancy can reduce the IQ levels of a child.
Many people have taken to the comments on articles to speak out about Swaab’s comments. Some wonder whether it is an early April Fool’s joke, while others want to know the details of the study to see where the information came from. Many see it as scare-mongering and a new effort to stop people from smoking.
Swaab did agree that genetics also plays a part in many of the issues raised. This is the most important factor, although that does not mean women should overlook the issues of smoking, drinking, where they live, and their stress levels. Swaab is adamant that his research shows that babies can turn out gay because of smoking – alongside other adult lifestyle choices – during pregnancy.
By Alexandria Ingham