A mystery in a centuries-old village in southwest Poland has people asking: Where are all the boys?
A boy hasn’t been born in Miejsce Odrzańskie in nine years, leading local authorities to offer a prize to the first couple who produces a son.
“Definitely girls rule in our village,” Adrianna Pieruszka, a volunteer firefighter, told Polish channel TVN24.
“Boys are noisy and naughty,” Malwina Kicler, her 10-year-old colleague in the youth fire brigade, told The New York Times. “At least now we have peace and quiet. You can always meet them somewhere else.”
The fire brigade has 24 young women and eight men, while the youngest team of volunteers is comprised only of girls, reported Polish outlet WP Wiadomości.
When the female-dominated teams showed up at a regional competition this summer, the media took notice. The village where boys are scarce has now made headlines around Europe and in the U.S.
Fewer than 300 people live in Miejsce Odrzańskie, a village established in 1679, and most every adult resident who reporters interviewed seemed to have two daughters. Boys are a rare sight, and some who do live in the agricultural community moved there from other places.
Birth records show the last boy was born here in 2009. Since then, 12 girls have been born.
Some residents believe it’s just a coincidence, but the trend is so troubling to Rajmund Frischko, head of the Cisek region that includes the village, that he has promised an “attractive” reward to the first local family who produces a baby boy, though he has not specified what it would be.
There is no way to control what sperm successfully meets an egg.
It may not be tempting enough. Residents say parents who have two daughters already don’t want to risk having a third girl.
For couples who do want to try, tips on how to boost the chances of having a boy have been pouring in. Some people advised changing the diet or trying other folk “remedies.”
But doctors say that unless a couple chooses in-vitro fertilization, there's nothing they can do to increase the chances they'll have a boy or a girl. The sex of the baby is determined at conception, with men contributing the deciding sex chromosome.
"You have a 50-50 chance," Dr. Megan Gray, an OB-GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, told TODAY.
"There is no way to control what sperm successfully meets an egg."
Meanwhile, the village’s mostly female youth fire brigade is winning competitions and making a big splash.
“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,” firefighter Tomasz Golasz told The New York Times.