When does life begin?


Life begins at fertilization.¹ “If sperm does meet and penetrate a mature egg after ovulation, it will fertilize it. When the sperm penetrates the egg, changes occur in the protein coating around it to prevent other sperm from entering. At the moment of fertilization, your baby’s genetic makeup is complete, including its sex. Since the mother can provide only X chromosomes (she’s XX), if a Y sperm fertilizes the egg, your baby will be a boy (XY); if an X sperm fertilizes the egg, your baby will be a girl (XX)”.

Other quotes from a physicians’ website ²:

  • By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception. (Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics, Mayo Clinic)
  • Life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte (egg).
  • Even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant, a distinct, unique life has begun his or her existence inside her.
  • This life is unquestionably human.
  • This new human being is not part of the mother’s body.
  • The pre-born human being may be dependent upon the mother for nutrition; however, this does not diminish his or her humanity, but proves it.
  • When a woman is aware she is pregnant (average: 5th to 6th week after conception), the preborn human being living inside her is metabolizing nutrition, excreting waste, sucking his or her thumb, growing, and doing many other things that nonliving things do not do.
  • As early as 21 days after conception, the baby’s heart has begun to beat.
  • 40 days after conception, brain waves can be read on an EEG (electroencephalogram). (Dr H Hamlin, Life or Death by EEG JAMA, Oct 12, 1964 p.113)


Related Questions:

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Fetal development

Images of Early Development


¹   https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/understanding-conception

²  www.prolifephysicians.org/Lifebegins.htm