Reams and reams have been written trying to explain why men and women are the way they are. From claiming that they are from different planets to going into their traditional roles in prehistoric times everything has been tried. I am a gynaecologist and would like to present a theory based on reproductive biology. There is no medical-ese ahead and you won’t get lost in long winding words. Anyone who has read this far knows that a baby is made by the union of the mother’s ovum and the father’s sperm. So let me take it from there.
First a little on the development of the ovum. There are two ovaries in a women’s body and at the beginning of a menstrual cycle both gear up to form follicles which house the ova. Many follicles begin this journey but once one outgrows the others and becomes dominant the rest recede. This allows their chosen representative to get enough nutrition and grow unhindered. Such is the sense of purpose in these follicles that if per chance more than one matures there is a risk of conceiving twins, triplets and more. Now, once a month, at the designated time, this mature follicle ruptures and releases the ovum in the peritoneal cavity. For those who don’t grasp the enormity of this statement lets just say that it is a space big enough to get lost in. But this ovum with single minded determination finds its way up the funnel shaped end of the fallopian tube and travels to its cavernous ampulla for its rendezvous with the sperm.
On the other side, in what can only be called a colossal waste of protoplasm, billions of sperms are released with each ejaculation. Such is the mob mentality of this overzealous tailed cell that it cannot function without its peers for company. So much so, that although it takes only one sperm to fertilise the ovum even millions of them are said to be too few to get the job done. These sperms, teeming with nervous energy , are deposited quite close to their destination but get lost in all types of crevices and spaces because they are too arrogant to ask for directions. They run amok, driven by a sole purpose but, sadly, with no game plan . Finally a few thousand, more out of good fortune than anything else, catch sight of the ovum and race each other to reach it.
Biologically speaking only one sperm is required for fertilisation and the ovum knows this. For that matter, the sperms also know this but don’t care. Once a sperm enters, the ovum tries to make the sperms see sense by making its walls impregnable , the equivalent of hanging a house full board. But the sperms cannot take no for an answer and keep trying anyway. In the process many are beheaded and maimed. Their fate does not stop more from banging against the walls and getting killed too.
Now sometimes, due to a freak accident of nature, persistence pays off and two sperms manage to fertilise the ovum. In such a scenario two things are known to happen. Sometimes the maternal nucleus excuses herself and leaves the sperm nuclei to their own devices. In their misguided notion of self sufficiency the paternal nuclei try the baby building business on their own and end up with a bunch of grapes called a molar pregnancy. At other times the sperm nuclei force the maternal nucleus to stay and do the job. This union results in a pregnancy which is partly molar and never viable. There is a limit to what coercion can yield!
Aristotle averred that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We can infer from this cell theory that women are determined, smart, organised and know what they want……… Men, are just men!
( published in Vidura – a quarterly magazine by the Press Institute of India)