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When Does Human Life Begin?

Updated on October 18, 2008

Documentation for this article is: I have 33 years of experience in assisting in the teaching of prenatal classes, my wife - who is advising me - is a Registered Nurse, Certified in Inpatient Obstetrical Nursing, a Graduate of the School of Nurse Midwifery from John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and a Childbirth Education Specialist. Further documentation will be placed at the end of this article.

This subject, of when human life begins, has always been a controversial one. For example, some believe life does not start until the baby is born and takes it's first breath, others are of the opinion that it doesn't start until the fertilized egg implants itself in the womb, after traveling down the fallopian tube, and still others feel life starts when the egg is fertilized in the fallopian tube. Another controversial area is that of abortions. Some doctors will only perform abortions up to the 3rd trimester, while others will perform partial birth abortions. Right now we have a candidate for president who believes there is nothing wrong in murdering a baby, after it has been born if abortion efforts have failed.

But, are any of theses views correct? Here are some FACTS; the reader can draw their own conclusion after reading them as to when life starts.

The female egg (ovum) is actually fertilized usually in the upper portion of the fallopian tube. (The "upper portion" is that part of the fallopian tube where the ovum enters the tube.) It's interesting how the ovum gets into the fallopian tube. Each month, an ovum drops out of the ovary where they are stored, and free falls into space. In the meantime, the loose end of the fallopian tube has cilia (or hairs) and they are "sweeping" back and forth. Under normal circumstances, the ovum is actually swept into the fallopian tube. A mistaken idea of some is the fallopian tube has a suction effect on the ovum. This is not true. The fallopian tube is more like a floor sweeper than vacuum cleaner in its actions. There have been cases where the egg misses the fallopian tube and falls into the body cavity and gradually disintegrates.

But, for now I will stay with the norm and state the ovum has entered the fallopian tube and is fertilized. As it progresses down the fallopian tube towards the uterus, (or womb), the cells of this fertilized egg will divide and this will result in the forming of the embryo. The developing baby is considered an embryo from conception to 3 months, after that the developing baby is referred to as a fetus. It is referred to as a fetus until birth. Certain traits that will last for a lifetime, start implementing themselves as soon as the cells start dividing. For example: the sex of the baby is determined by the sperm of the father - not by the ovum of the mother. Other traits are the color of the eyes, DNA and other traits that are passed from generation to generation are forming.

The fertilized ovum continues its journey down the fallopian tube and buries itself into the blood enriched uterine wall where it will continue to develop. (If there is no fertilized ovum, the female will shed the excess blood and unfertilized ovum. This is known as the monthly menstruation.)

At 18-25 DAYS the heartbeat can be heard through the proper medical devices. The brain is already at work since it jump starts the heart. The heart will continue to beat until the person dies, under normal circumstances. (At this point the embryo can be covered with the head of a straight pin it's so small.) It's also interesting to note that a person is not considered dead until the brain is considered dead. The formation by cell division of this developing baby will continue for about 7 months. After this, the fetus will spend most of the time putting on weight. Under most circumstances, the fetus, will be around 20-23 inches long and 7-9 pounds at birth.

A question that makes for controversial discussion, is at what point does the fertilized egg receive its soul?

" For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb."

Psalms 139:13 (HCSB)

Sources Used:

Childbirth Education Practice, Research and Theory, by Francine H. Nichols and Sharron Smith Humenik

The Merriam Webster Dictionary

Textbook for CHILDBIRTH EDUCATORS, second edition, by Patricia Hassid

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Arlene Eisenburg, Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff, Sandee Eisenbergh Hathaway with forward by Dr. Richard Aubry, Director of Obstetrics, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, NY


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    • profile image

      Jesus is my SAVIOUR  

      8 years ago

      GOD IS GOOD.

      Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow.



      Isaiah 43

      Israel's Only Saviour

      1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

      2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

      3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.

      4 Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

      5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

      6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

      7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

      8Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.

      9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, It is true.

      10 You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

      11 I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no saviour.

      12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, that I am God.

      13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No-one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?


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