We’ve Both Got Brown Eyes But Our Baby’s Eyes Are Blue – What’s Going On?
Posted Jul 20 2012 7:35am
Our eye colour is one of our most defining features, and so it’s unsurprising that one thing which fascinates millions of parents more than anything else is watching their child’s eyes develop.
Throughout pregnancy parents dream of looking at their baby’s face and seeing characteristics of their own reflected back at them, and one of the most glaringly obvious examples of this is eye colour – so how likely is it that your child will have your eyes, and what else is going on to determine them?
We all know that the biggest influence on how our children look is the genes we pass onto them. That said, our genes can sometimes mix and match in some unexpected ways, and just because both you and your partner have brown eyes it doesn’t guarantee that your baby will too.
When a child’s eye colour is being determined in the womb it’s far more complicated that mixing paints on a palette – a blue eyed father and brown eyed mother won’t have a baby somewhere in between. In fact, in situations like this the most likely scenario is that the baby will grow up with brown eyes, as dark genes tend to win out over lighter ones – so loosely speaking we can order eye colours as brown-green-blue in terms of gene strength.
That said though, there’s nothing to say that this same baby may not be born with blue eyes – it’s all down to a sort of ‘wheel of fortune’ and people can carry the genes of a completely different eye colour which only come to light when they match up with other similar genes – so your family could have had green eyes for generations and you and your green eyed partner could still produce blue eyed offspring.
The way that genes are passed on is incredibly complex and so there really is no way of accurately predicting what will happen by looking at your family history.
Our chemical makeup is made almost entirely from our genes, so really we should be focussing on them when considering appearance. That said though, even once a child is born their eye colour isn’t yet fully determined – in fact it can be a couple of years before everything settles.
The substance which colours our eyes is called melanin, and the more of this we have the darker our eyes are. When babies are born they tend to have very little of it and so the majority of children spend the first part of their life with blue eyes. As soon as they’re born though, the bright lights they’re exposed to kick starts melanin production and from here their eyes will darken until the genes say stop.
Beyond this point, if eye colour changes dramatically then it could in rare cases indicate an underlying problem, and so a trip to the doctors is worthwhile.
Regardless of your irises though, the nicest eye colour is the white around it which makes any eye colour dazzle.