My birthday is one of my very favorite days of the year. Mostly because I love to celebrate...anything! Although birthdays are awesome, most people who have taken middle school biology know that your life actually began several months prior to the day of your birth.
Human life begins at the moment of conception. Practically speaking this is the moment in time when one single sperm (containing 23 chromosomes) penetrates one single egg (containing 23 chromosomes) and these 2 separate genetic packages (the pronuclei) fuse together. A brand new, totally unique and unrepeatable human life has come into existence. This human life is on a continuum until natural or artificial death.
Contemplating the math of it always boggles me. A woman has hundreds of thousands of eggs. And that specific egg was selected to develop towards ovulation in that particular cycle. A typical male ejaculation contains millions (and millions) of sperm. And that specific sperm found that specific egg. The perfect orchestration of biological events that had to occur to bring each individual human being you know into existence is astounding. Knowing our Creator elevates this concept even further. We know that each individual human being that has ever and will ever exist has infinite human dignity not only because of their genetic unrepeatability but because they are given a soul that will exist forever in eternity and are created in the image and likeness of God Himself (Genesis 1:27).
Back to biology, when the egg and sperm first unite, the human at this stage is referred to as a "zygote". Conception typically occurs in the woman's fallopian tube. Cellular division and growth begins to occur and the zygote begins his or her 6-9 day trip through the fallopian tube and into the uterus. By the time he or she reaches the uterus, the human being is called a "blastocyst" and if all goes well, implantation into the wall of the uterus occurs. Once implanted into the uterus, the human being is referred as an "embryo" for 8 weeks and then referred to as a "fetus" until his or her birthday. These terms simply refer to various stages of human growth and development just as we use the terms "infant", "toddler", "child", "teenager", "adult", etc. to describe various specific points on the continuum of human life.
Many contraceptives are often referred to as having "abortifacient properties". This is because they have the ability to not only prevent conception from occurring, but actually interrupt the implantation process after conception has already occurred. This doesn't, in fact, prevent you from making babies. It prevents implantation but the unique human life with an eternal soul already exists. The birth control pill, IUDs and hormonal implants all fall into the category of being abortifacients.
Conception usually occurs somewhere in the middle of a typical female cycle. As a means of standardization, the medical community begins dating a pregnancy from the first day of a woman's last period, presuming that you conceived precisely on day 14 of your cycle. However, there can be a massive amount of normal variability in this. This is where understanding your fertility can be so incredibly helpful when it comes to accurate dating of a pregnancy.
The first day of your period is used for pregnancy dating because the vast majority of women don't know their days of fertility and infertility or when conception may have occurred. Not so for women using the Creighton Model. Our practitioners will not only assist you in understanding your fertility and infertility but also provide a free pregnancy evaluation for each and every pregnancy to help you fully understand the date of conception. Accurate pregnancy dating helps tremendously with obstetric care for you and your baby. We will also walk with you by periodically checking in with you during your pregnancy to see how you and baby are doing.