New research has finally shed light on why couples whose first child is a daughter are more likely to get divorced.
People have known about the trend for decades and it’s previously been put down to the fact that fathers prefer sons and the arrival of a baby girl may place added strain on a relationship.
But now scientists at Duke University, in North Carolina, have pored over birth statistics for a 30 year period and suggest that there may be a scientific reason behind the increased likelihood of a split.
The research has found that female embryos are more resilient and more likely to reach full term, even if the mother is experiencing a lot of stress. This suggests that a marriage may already be in trouble several months before the trip to the maternity wards.
Amar Harmoudi, who co-authored the report said: “Many have suggested that girls have a negative effect on the stability of their parents’ union. We are saying: ‘Not so fast’.
“Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive. Thus, girls are more likely to be born into marriages that were already strained.”
The surprising findings open the door for more studies into how a family dynamic can affect population.