WTF Fun Fact 13654 – Mother-Child Birthday Month Connections

Do you and your mother share a birthday month? Surprisingly, this is more common than many think.

A recent extensive study examining over ten million births has uncovered intriguing patterns in birth months within families. Not only do mothers and children often share the same birth month, but this phenomenon extends to siblings, fathers, and even between parents.

Statistical Anomalies in Mother-Child Birthday Month

This study, spanning 12 years of data, delves into the intriguing world of birth seasonality. Typically, births in a country follow a distinct pattern, with certain months seeing a higher number of births. However, when grouping births by the mothers’ birth months, an unexpected trend emerges.

Researchers noted a significant deviation from expected patterns. In families where the mother was born in a specific month, there was a noticeable increase in births during that same month.

This trend was consistent across various countries and time periods. For example, mothers born in January had a higher likelihood of giving birth in January, and this pattern repeated across all months.

The analysis revealed a 4.6% increase in births where mother and child shared the same birth month. This trend was even more pronounced among siblings, with a 12.1% increase. Furthermore, parents sharing the same birth month and children sharing a birth month with their fathers showed increases of 4.4% and 2%, respectively.

Key Influencers

What drives this fascinating trend? The study suggests that shared socio-demographic characteristics within families might play a significant role. For instance, in Spain, women with higher education are more likely to give birth in the spring. This preference can be passed down to their daughters, who also tend to have higher education and give birth in the spring, perpetuating the cycle.

Various social and biological factors, such as education levels, play a crucial role in determining a family’s birth month patterns. These factors influence not only the choice of partners but also the biological aspects of fertility, including exposure to sunlight and food availability.

In addition to social factors, biological elements also contribute to this phenomenon. Exposure to photoperiod, temperature, humidity, and food availability varies across different social groups, influencing when births occur.

This variation might explain why certain birth months are more prevalent in specific family demographics.

Research Limitations About the Birth Month Connection

Despite the compelling findings, researchers acknowledge limitations. One such limitation is the assumption of independence of outcomes within families, which might not always hold true. However, even after adjusting for this factor, the results remained consistent.

This study opens new avenues for future research, particularly in understanding how a child’s birth month impacts their health, education, and other life outcomes. It highlights the importance of considering family characteristics in birth month studies.

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Source: “Mothers and children have their birthday in the same month more often than you’d think — and here’s why” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 12912 – Tons of Twins

There are more twins living now than ever before. Well, at least we think so. We only started recording the rate at which twins were born in the 1980s when it was about 1 in every 50 pregnancies (2%).

The rise of the twin rate

The rate at which twins were born went up to 2.5% in 1995. By 2001 it was 3%, and it rose to 3.3% in 2010.

Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic (cited below) explained how he calculated the number of twins as of 2014: “When the CDC calculated the number through 2009, they pegged it at 865,000. Now that several years more data is available, I recalculated the number. I took the number of twins that would have been born if the 1980 twin rate had held, and subtracted it from how many twins were actually born.

The result: 1,009,337! That’s a million extra twins from 1981 through 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.”

Why so many twins?

Madrigal also reported that “A few years ago, the Centers for Disease Control researchers looked into the phenomenon.” They did so because, from an evolutionary perspective, twins are more likely to result in premature births and low birth weights – neither of which is ideal for human survival.

The reason? They can only guess, but “Older women tend to have more twins than younger women—and older women are having more of the nation’s babies. The researchers found this demographic phenomenon accounted for one-third of the increase. They attributed the rest of it to the increase in infertility treatments, specifically in-vitro fertilization and ‘ovulation stimulation medications.'”

Reproductive technology allows for multiple embryos to be implanted during IVF, and that’s common since implanting more embryos has a better chance of resulting in a successful pregnancy – of course, it also increases the chance of having twins. However, as the technology gets better, more couples are opting to have just one embryo transferred.

The “twin rate” seems to have leveled off as a result, but hasn’t reversed yet.  WTF fun facts

Source: “There Really Are So Many More Twins Now” — The Atlantic

WTF Fun Fact 12708 – Parents Sue For Grandchildren

In a story that raised eyebrows around the world, a couple in India is telling their son and daughter-in-law that waiting six years for a grandchild is just too long (or at least long enough).

Sanjeev Ranjan Prasad and Sadhana Prasad paid for an education in the U.S. so their son could become a pilot, bought him a luxury car, and financed his lavish wedding and overseas honeymoon. And now they are looking for payback in the form of a grandchild to dote on.

The couple’s lawyer, Arvind Srivastava, seems to understand: “I feel very sorry for them because I am also an Indian and I can understand their pain,” he said. “This is an Indian parent thing.”

There are probably plenty of prospective grandparents around the world who can sympathize with the disappointment, but it’s the lawsuit (and the accompanying feeling of entitlement) that is…let’s say…puzzling.

They seem to feel that the money was an investment in their own child so they could get something back – in the form of a grandchild. They’ve expressed sadness, embarrassment, and now a bit of litigious rage that the couple seems to have no interest in having a baby after six years. And they seem to think that they are now owed $650,000 for the disappointment and humiliation they have endured.

The deal is that the young couple can now take a year to produce the heir or pay up, and a northern Indian court is overseeing the case (which, according to most legal scholars, will go nowhere).

But regardless of whether or not the case just goes away, it’s raising a debate about what kids owe their parents, legally and spiritually.

According to the NYT: “In the Hindu faith, as in other traditions, children have a duty to repay a moral debt to their parents by taking care of them in their old age. Having grandchildren is also seen as necessary to carry forward a family’s lineage and help one’s parents achieve enlightenment.”

Here’s an interview with the parents involved:

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Source: “No Grandchild? Six Years After Son’s Wedding, These Parents Are Suing” — The New York Times

WTF Fun Fact 12409 – A Strong Signal Jammer

Signal jammers are often illegal for a reason – they can take out all communications in an area, including the ability to dial 911. But a French father in the town of Messanges, France, clearly didn’t know that. He was just trying to get his social media-addicted kids off the internet between midnight and 3 am so they would get some sleep.

report from the outlet France Bleu says the dad used a multi-wave band jammer, seemingly without knowing its power. These are illegal in France (as well as the U.S.). They work by interfering with all communication signals, not just the internet. Authoritarian regimes often use them to stop the spread of information during revolts.

It wasn’t until neighbors started complaining that the government was forced to investigate the reason for the broader power outage and questioned the father. According to French authorities:

“He was thinking of depriving only his children of the internet and did not imagine that the wave jammer he was using would disrupt telecommunications in an area spanning two municipalities. An investigation by the National Frequency Agency established his responsibility and legal proceedings were initiated.”

You read that correct – legal proceedings. It’s a pretty big deal (and could have had dangerous consequences) to strip your neighbors, even accidentally, of the ability to communicate with the outside world.

That’s why dad is now facing a fine of 30,000 Euros and six months in jail. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: A Father Accidentally Shut Down His Town’s Whole Internet in an Effort to Limit His Kids’ Screentime — Gizmodo