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What color will your baby’s eyes be?

February 04, 2013

For me, one of the fascinating aspects of parenthood is witnessing the mysterious combination of myself and my husband that has come about in our daughter. It’s mind-boggling to see how she has received little pieces of each of us, and yet she is her own unique little person as well.

Perhaps one of the more defining characteristics of our physical appearance is our eye color, and just as each of us inherited our eye color from our mom and dad, we pass it on to our kids. Did you ever wonder what color eyes your kids will have? Or whether the eye color that they’re born with will change?

Keeping an eye on eyes

Many babies are born with blue or gray-colored eyes, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.

Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin that is present in the iris of your eyes. Melanin is a pigment that responds to light, and since babies have spent their entire lives in the darkness of their mother’s womb, their eyes often appear gray or blue at birth. However, over time and in response to light, the color may change.

Those who have inherited small amounts of melanin will retain blue eyes. Those who possess greater amounts of melanin will develop brown eyes. And, the hazel and green-eyed folks lie somewhere in the middle.

Over the first year of life, baby’s eye color can change from that blue-gray color to green or brown. So, even if you want to predict what color baby’s eyes will eventually be, you might have to wait. Usually by nine months to one year of age, you’ll know their hue.

Making an educated guess

Whether your child’s eyes produce a little or a lot of melanin depends primarily on one thing- the genetic material contained in their DNA. Each biological parent offers one copy of genetic material, and the combination gives your child his or her unique characteristics.

The basics work like this: brown trumps green trumps blue. It’s really just a complicated game of rock, paper, scissors.

  • If Mom and Dad both have blue eyes, the child will have blue eyes
  • If both parents have brown eyes, it is likely that the child will also have brown eyes. However, if the parents have a parent with blue eyes, the child has a small chance of having blue eyes, too.
  • If one parent has brown eyes and one has blue, the child could have either one. If the parent with brown eyes has brown-eyed parents, the child will likely have brown. However, if the parent with brown eyes has a blue-eyed parent, you could have a blue-eyed baby.
It’s complicated, I know, but isn’t it interesting?

Check out this interactive tool that allows you to predict what color eyes your child will have: What color will your children have?