At what point would you consider a fetus a human?

Jump to Last Post 1-32 of 32 discussions (56 posts)
  1. calynbana profile image81
    calynbanaposted 10 years ago

    At what point would you consider a fetus a human?

    I don't want to get into the whole abortion debate, I just want to know how you would decide if something was human or not. An individual or a part.

  2. jose7polanco profile image82
    jose7polancoposted 10 years ago

    I come from El Salvador where the legislation considers the first day of conception or the day where a pregnancy test is found positive as the first day of a unborn human and requires the parents and doctors to provide the proper care to preserve his life until he is born.

  3. Attani profile image60
    Attaniposted 10 years ago

    Birth. Before that it's a fetus. It should be happy it's a fetus. It most places, as a fetus, it has more rights than a human. Especially if it's female.

    1. calynbana profile image81
      calynbanaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I do not think that is true at all.

  4. CriticalMessage profile image70
    CriticalMessageposted 10 years ago

    When it takes its 1st breath on its own... Life requires more than a heart beat...

  5. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 10 years ago

    technically a "fetus" is a fetus until it is born and its body can sustain itself without the mother, so birth I suppose in that light.

    1. ercramer36 profile image95
      ercramer36posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The part I find curious is that you wrote until after it is born and can sustain itself, does that mean a baby in NICU is not a baby, but still a fetus?

    2. MrMaranatha profile image76
      MrMaranathaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Or.. what about Babies who are yet born but fully capable of sustaining life if removed from the womb early?

    3. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I said until it's born - an unborn baby can't be in a NICU - how does a premature baby have anything to do with the question?  A baby in utero is a human feturs. A fetus inside of its mother is not self-sustaining human life until born.

  6. melbelle profile image61
    melbelleposted 10 years ago

    At the moment of conception a fetus is human and has a soul.

    1. peeples profile image90
      peeplesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      How does it have a soul or become human for that matter before it ever even gets a heart beat?

  7. maharg1956 profile image59
    maharg1956posted 10 years ago

    A most intruiging and perceptive question. I wonder what your own view is?

    I am sure that the issue of being human is not just down to breathing unaided, as some people suggest.

    All animals breathe!

    It surely is not the physical aspects alone which make a foetus human. Are we saying that in the seconds immediately prior to birth, a foetus is not human and that, as it passes from its mother, into the world, sheds the umbilical cord and has the membrane pierced, thereby allowing it to breathe, that in the same instant, it becomes human?

    What do people consider the foetus is before that? Alien?

    I think a foetus is human from the moment when the egg is fertilized and then begins to divide.

    What happens then, in the next 39-40 weeks, is that the foetus goes through various stages of human development.

    Would we say that, prior to birth, a puppy is not a puppy?

    That until full term has been reached and it has been born, a baby elephant is not really an elephant?

    I believe that we are human from the moment we are conceived until the time of our heart's very final beat.

  8. lburmaster profile image76
    lburmasterposted 10 years ago

    The moment the child is conceived. At that point, the child is an individual with DNA that defines who they will become. However, they need their mother to survive.

  9. Laurinzo Scott profile image68
    Laurinzo Scottposted 10 years ago

    I think the moment it can first be determined... once there is knowledge that a life is growing ; there IS a life growing. It is sad that people want to ignore that fact when they decide to have often would is termed casual sex; but how can an act that can creat life ever be considered casual????

  10. DzyMsLizzy profile image92
    DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years ago

    In my personal opinion, whether you use the term "human" or "alive," I would say it would be at the point at which it could survive on its own if born prematurely. 
    "Human" could as easily be substituted by any other species--it is what it is by division of cells from the moment of conception, yes; that' is a matter of determination by the DNA, but it is not 'alive' until it is viable on its own.

  11. annerivendell profile image60
    annerivendellposted 10 years ago

    Sperm is human sperm, egg is human egg, what's not human?

    1. profile image0
      Matthew Kirkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      A severed finger is human then also by that reasoning.

    2. Rochelle Frank profile image91
      Rochelle Frankposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      A severed human finger is not a different species. It is human-- even if it cannot sustain its own life.

  12. profile image0
    Garifaliaposted 10 years ago

    From the moment the sperm penetrates the ovarie and the cell separates it begins to develop into a human. It is a human. After being engaged for 2 years I became pregnant. I didn't want my husband-to-be to feel trapped into a marriage we were not ready for so I proposed an abortion. He was in his village at the time and by the time he came to the city I was living in I died a thousand deaths.

    I had not fallen in love with just any man, but the right man. He of course, told me that such a proposition was not an option. At the time I was three weeks pregnant.
    The fetus in the picture is four weeks old. If this were yours would you be able to say it isn't human?

    1. Sterling Sage profile image59
      Sterling Sageposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The question is, is it a person in the sense that you or I are? The answer for me is no, it isn't. I wouldn't feel bad at all about destroying what you show in your picture.

    2. Rochelle Frank profile image91
      Rochelle Frankposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      So you would be OK with destroying it even if it was a picture of you? Presumably you did go through this stage, yourself.

    3. ercramer36 profile image95
      ercramer36posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sterling Sage - So if I don't feel bad about destroying a person it is okay?  Who gets to decide when it is okay to kill someone?

    4. Brie Hoffman profile image41
      Brie Hoffmanposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sterling:  If someone had destroyed YOU at that stage YOU would never have been born and YOU would not have had a full life.

    5. profile image0
      Garifaliaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I used to feel the same way as you before my fist child (the incident above) and I think I did answer the question. A fetus,like the one above, senses danger (in an abortion) and crawls to the top of the womb. YES it's human.

    6. peeples profile image90
      peeplesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Each situation is different. I can see how some would be fine aborting a fetus at this stage. It makes zero sense to bring an unwanted child into this world.

    7. Sterling Sage profile image59
      Sterling Sageposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I understand that different people feel differently. It's just my perspective.
      To answer your questions, yes, it would have been ok if I were not born. I wouldn't have any chance to be unhappy about it, and someone else would have a life instead.

  13. tanker178 profile image61
    tanker178posted 10 years ago

    At the moment that it is conceived it is human. The DNA of the organism is of the human genome.
    We are human even after death. Consider this. Human remains are found to be two thousand years old. Is it not human? If it isn't what is it? Yes it is dead but the attributes and the DNA are still human. It looks human and when it was alive, it was human. We are human as long as a part of us is still around.
    However to determine when the organism is considered alive is a different question entirely. This is where the different opinions come into play.

  14. cyoung35 profile image84
    cyoung35posted 10 years ago

    This is a loaded question and it really depends on personal opinion. It really makes you think though and I think I'm going to opt out of this question because no matter what I say someone else will have a different opinion. There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

    1. DS Duby profile image88
      DS Dubyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I second that notion.

  15. kathleenkat profile image73
    kathleenkatposted 10 years ago

    There is a deeper philosophical question in this; if we were to consider life to begin at conception, why do we celebrate birthdays, and have the birthday as an indication of how long an individual has been alive? I know, not really an answer to your question, but I don't think anyone would really be able to answer this question.

    I suppose if I were to become pregnant, I would consider my fetus to be life. Especially if it is already kicking; clearly it would have it's own individual thoughts.

    1. TripleAMom profile image78
      TripleAMomposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I would think we celebrate "birth"days because that is when the baby is born, not necessarily because that is when the baby becomes alive.  An "alive"day would be hard to determine because people can't usually deterine day of conception or heart beat

    2. Traci21 profile image60
      Traci21posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      We celebrate Birthdays because that is the day the baby was born. I also celebrate the days I got a positive pregnancy test.  With my first I found I was pregnant May 1st 2008 and my second I found out June 17 2011.

  16. AlexK2009 profile image86
    AlexK2009posted 10 years ago

    When it shows evidence of consciousness, like reacting to mild external stimuli. 

    Without consciousness it is just a mass of cells.

    Determining exactly when that happens is  the major problem.  At some point a mass of cells becomes aware and thus becomes a person.  I suspect that the variation in the period after conception at which consciousness arises is around a week, but I am not a medic so I could be wrong.

  17. Mikel G Roberts profile image71
    Mikel G Robertsposted 10 years ago

    As soon as the fetus has the same DNA as any other human.

  18. d.william profile image78
    d.williamposted 10 years ago

    according to the mediums such as John Edwards and Edgar Cayce, the living spirit does not enter the body until just before, or just after, birth.   Yes, it is true in one sense that the products of conception ARE human when sperm meets egg, but ARE NOT human until they are viable and able to live on the outside without the mother.
    Everyone has their own opinions on this subject, but in the long run it is the mother who ultimately has the only right to decide whether to carry this fetus full term or not.  These decisions are between the parents and the physician and no one else.  And these kinds of discussions serve no purpose other than to inflame the passions of those who would force their beliefs onto others.
    So, the question itself cannot be answered by any living being on this planet unless you take it literally.  Only humans can produce human offspring, as is true of every other living species on this planet.

    1. calynbana profile image81
      calynbanaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Does the father not have the right? I always hear people say that it is the mother's body and she can choose to do what she wants to do. What if she wants to terminate and the father wants to keep his child?

    2. d.william profile image78
      d.williamposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      In respect to intentional pregnancies U R correct. In the case of rape & incest, (or a fetus that is grossly malformed), the father has no say at all unless he is the one caring for it 24/7.  Life is never simply black or white.

    3. peeples profile image90
      peeplesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      In the case of rape or incest should the father have any say? No!

  19. LilaDaley profile image55
    LilaDaleyposted 10 years ago

    I'm a believer in human at conception, otherwise what is it? A tadpole?  Sure it is a fetus but its human and a baby at conception.

    I have a 13 year old and when I was pregnant with her she was my baby, never a fetus, always human.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      fetus isn't a bad word - and it's what all of our babies are when we carry them.  I loved my babies too but they were still embryos then fetuses etc.

    2. ercramer36 profile image95
      ercramer36posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      No matter how you cut it, a fetus/embryo is still a human baby, just a different stage of development.  Just because they are not fully formed, does not mean they have less value.

  20. Traci21 profile image60
    Traci21posted 10 years ago

    A fetus is a human the day the fetus is conceived! It is a living being! My kids were moving around before I could feel them. They responded to certain movements and sounds.

    My definition of a human is the child of two other humans. Mom is human, dad is human so unborn child is human as well. Mom cannot be pregnant with any other being therefore she is pregnant with a human baby.

    A fetus is a child who is not born yet.

    If a baby is to die in the womb does that mean he/she does not deserve the proper burial? Since the baby never was able to live on their own? --Not being judge mental just wondering others opinions.

  21. Rochelle Frank profile image91
    Rochelle Frankposted 10 years ago

    It is human from the beginning, if its parents were human.
    I guess you could say it is a human embryo and a human fetus to start with.-- nevertheless, still human.
    If if two chimps or two ducks or two of any other species conceive they conceive a chimp or a duck or whatever species they are... not a human.

  22. Fooch profile image61
    Foochposted 10 years ago

    Letters are put together forming words which we assign meaning to this or that.  The entire debate is skewed by the language and definition of those words which is entirely man made. 

    Once the egg and sperm unite, an entity is created.  It really doesn't matter what you want to call it or at what point -  Human, life, fetus, blastocyst, morula, etc., these definitions could just as easily be called something else and at another time.  A blastocyst is no different than a fetus or a human.  Just as a a child is no different than an adolescent or an adult.  You either have a living entity, or you don't. 

    The problem with science is it tries to compartmentalize everything and it often misses the forest for the trees.  I see this all the time in medicine.

  23. mio cid profile image61
    mio cidposted 10 years ago

    at the point when god blows a soul into him,whenever that is.

  24. ercramer36 profile image95
    ercramer36posted 10 years ago

    A fetus is as human as it gets at conception.  Just because it is small does not mean it is not human.  You can choose to call it whatever you want, it is still a baby, a human baby.

  25. MrMaranatha profile image76
    MrMaranathaposted 10 years ago

    A Human Fetus is human... Period... So it remains a Human Fetus until it becomes either a Human Fetal Corpse after it has been killed... or until it becomes a human Infant at birth.  Your Choice?

  26. calynbana profile image81
    calynbanaposted 10 years ago

    I love the answers that are being given, but I must also ask about the child after birth. They are still developing their body, they are not technically out of the fetal stage upon birth unlike most mammals. Would they be considered human?

    Or a premature baby born at 21 weeks, is that considered human or just a fetus? Where can we draw the line between human and not?

    1. Beege215e profile image56
      Beege215eposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Most concede humanness upon conception, the question should be when do personhood and rights begin?  Are the mother's rights equal to or greater or lesser than the embryo?  Human rights are involved and must be the point of consideration for all.

  27. LandmarkWealth profile image68
    LandmarkWealthposted 10 years ago

    Clearly this is a very senstive topic where the American people are about split down the middle by opinion on Pro Life or Pro Choice.  I can just say speaking for myself that I was once Pro-Choice.  What changed my view long before I became a parent was watching an abortion on video.  I found it to be one if the most heinus acts I had ever seen.  It completely changed my perspective.  At that time I was quite young and abortion was really just a word, prior to seeing one. I don't think I really understood what was happening to the child.

    Later on through education I learned that a child in the womb begins to develop a central nervous system within the first month of pregnancy.  By the third month it is nearly fully developed.  This simply tells me that while the child after brith has no memory of the events within the womb, it can feel pain while it's experiencing it.   That for me was enough to change my opinion.  Considering many couples are unaware of a pregnancy until past this point, it makes it hard for me to imagine hurting your own offspring.  I am not saying anyone has to agree with me, since the supreme court does not.  Thats just my view.

  28. Beege215e profile image56
    Beege215eposted 10 years ago

    The embryonic offspring of any two humans is human.  But to add to that the state of personhood is an entirely different matter.  To add to that the concept of "rights" is an entirely different matter.  To me the question is not just a matter of "humanness", but a matter of personhood and rights.  Why would an embryo have more rights that the mother or father of that unborn human?  Why is the "life" of the fetus more important or have more value than the life of the mother or father?   IMHO humanness can be conferred upon all blastocyts, embryos and fetuses, but personhood and rights would come at the moment of birth.  Prior to that moment, the well-being of all others must have more value.  To injure or allow life threatening illness to disable the mother for the sake of the unborn fetus is inhumane and a violationof her  human rights.

    1. Beege215e profile image56
      Beege215eposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I would not suggest to anyone that abortion for the sake of convenience is valid; reason must be  applied along with caution and common sense. We do not open the door to vanity, but the door must be available for those that have need.

  29. royalblkrose profile image59
    royalblkroseposted 10 years ago

    at what point do human cells stop being human cells? any man that is capable of reproducing has sperm created from his body, therefore those sperm cells are human, right?

    any woman that is capable of reproducing has eggs created in her body, therefore those egg cells are human also, right?
    well, if the above two statements are true, then, when human sperm cells meet human egg cells the result is babies.... human from the point the sperm meets the egg.

  30. Sunny2o0o profile image61
    Sunny2o0oposted 10 years ago

    You've asked the wrong question.  My skin cells aren't just skin cells, they're human skin cells.  My bones are just bones, they're human bones, and will be so long after my death.  Assuming I was pregnant, the zygote in my uterus wouldn't just be a zygote, it would be a human zygote.

    The mere fact of humanity says nothing about personhood or individuality, both of which the abortion debate tends to center around.

  31. Jodi Ralston profile image57
    Jodi Ralstonposted 10 years ago

    I don't think you can separate the abortion debate from the question.  That being said, I know my beliefs say that life begins at conception. Others have beliefs that say differently.  But I suspect that a debate on this topic does very little to change the opinions of those whose minds are already made up; it only changes the minds of those who are on the fence.

  32. Joel Maly profile image60
    Joel Malyposted 10 years ago

    From conception. If indeed its parents are human, as Rochell Frank points out, then is is a human from the beginning. Simple as that.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)