OBGYNs Don’t Agree On When Pregnancy Begins

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sperm and eggThe Personhood Amendment in Mississippi may have failed, but that doesn’t mean even medical professionals are united on when pregnancy actually begins. A survey of OBGYNs found that answers were quite all over the place.

At present, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) defines pregnancy as beginning when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. This occurs roughly a week after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Farr Curlina, professor at the University of Chicago, and his researchers sent questionnaires to more than 1,000 OBGYNSs asking whether pregnancy begins at fertilization, implantation, or if the doctor was unsure. The majority of doctors, 57 out of every 100, answered with fertilization and 28 out of every 100 answered with implantation. Fifteen out of every 100 said that they were uncertain.

Therefore, the majority of doctors surveyed disagree with the definition in the ACOG, the leading organization of Obstetrics and Gynecology according to Reuters.

Curlina did acknowledge some flaws in his survey, specifically that he and his colleagues used  the word “conception” instead of fertilization. Conception usually is defined by fertilization, but some do see fertilization as interchangeable with implantation. Curlina noted:

“People say that the medical profession has settled on this…What our data show rather clearly is that it is not at all settled among the medical profession.”

Whether it’s a matter of getting vocabulary straight or making sure that all physicians are on the same page, clearly we need a consensus. Our very laws depend on it.

(photo: Shutterstock)