Unborn Children Heal Themselves in First Days of Life

Unborn Children Heal Themselves in First Days of Life

by Arland Nichols

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the “European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology” shows that in the first five days of his existence, the tiniest of human beings has the capacity to heal himself of genetic abnormalities .

From the story:

Professor William G. Kearns told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that a three-day-old embryo (called a cleavage stage embryo) with an incorrect number of chromosomes (known as “aneuploidy”) was capable of undergoing “a dynamic process of genetic normalisation” so that by day five, when it had developed to the blastocyst stage, it had become euploid, with the correct number of chromosomes.

This is an amazing process of healing directed by the embryo himself.  Scientists are now engaging in research to determine how the embryo corrects the genetic problems.  This is a significant finding because it points to another way in which the early human being develops as do all human beings, towards maturity of body.  For other examples see Maureen Condic’s White Paper, When Does Human Life Begin?: A Scientific Perspective.  In the paper she explains that one of the very first acts of the human being in a zygotic stage (one cell) is to protect himself from other sperm by changing the outer layer of the cell.  One cannot help but marvel how the young human being protects and heals himself even in the earliest moments of his existence.

This study also has significant implications for the practice of in vitro fertilization which often involves “Preimplantation diagnosis.”  Again, from the story:

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) refers to the removal of a cell from a developing embryo and evaluating this cell for all chromosome abnormalities. If the results of this screening show that the embryo is normal, then either it undergoes uterine transfer or is frozen for future use. In cases where PGS evaluation yields a biopsied cell that is chromosomally abnormal, standard practice is to discard the corresponding embryo. (Emphasis added)

The normal practice is to “discard” human beings that are shown to have genetic flaws.  This practice is immoral, as every human being must be treated with the dignity and respect due to every member of the human species, created as imago dei.   The Church’s document Dignitas Personae identifies this practice as “an act of abortion” which is “shameful” and “utterly reprehensible” (n.22). But this study also reveals that often the practice of discarding such embryos, even for the immoral stated reason, is unnecessary as 64% were completely healed.

In addition, if a day-three embryo was found to be aneuploid, then these findings suggest that it would be worth waiting and testing the trophectoderm at day five before making the final decision about whether to implant the embryo or discard it.

Finally, one should note two significant problems with this entire study.  First is that in vitro fertilization is itself morally problematic because it offends the legitimate rights of the child and because it offends the relationship between husband and wife by separating procreation from the marital act.  Second, the way this study was conducted is problematic because (among other reasons) the researchers “dissected the entire embryo,” killing it in the process.

As Dignitas Personae states, “In reality, it is deeply disturbing that research in this area aims principally at obtaining better results in terms of the percentage of babies born to women who begin the process, but does not manifest a concrete interest in the right to life of each individual embryo” (n.14).

LifeNews.com Note: Arland K. Nichols is National Director of HLI America

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15 Responses to Unborn Children Heal Themselves in First Days of Life

  1. Toadspittle says:

    Well, apparently, some unborn children do choose to heal themselvers, and some don’t.

    ..in the first five days of his existence, the tiniest of human beings has the capacity to heal himself of genetic abnormalities .

    It says here.

    Why, then, do not all of the tiniest human beings avail themselves of this priceless opportunity?

    God knows.: Thinks Toad.

    Perhaps it never enters their heads?


  2. Louise Ingebrethsen says:

    I’m wondering the same thing ???


  3. Toadspittle says:

    “But this study also reveals that often the practice of discarding such embryos, even for the immoral stated reason, is unnecessary as 64% were completely healed..”

    Which seems to suggest that 36% were not completly healed.

    A rather high percentage, thinks Toad.


  4. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    The article also repeatedly states that these embryos were all male. What happened to the rest? Are conditions different for the females? Or don’t they count? Weren’t they studied?

    Seems a bit dodgy this article….smoke and mirrors…


  5. Mr Badger says:

    Suppose the 64% figure was (as a matter of contingent fact) 54%; would that make a whit of difference to the moral issue at stake? It is either wrong to end the life of the unborn or it isn’t — thoughtful people have made arguments both ways — . If abortion is acceptable on principle then pragmatic decisions with respect to “abnormalities” can be justified. If abortion is wrong on principle then no abnormality can justify an abortion. — Therefore from a Catholic perspective the self-healing capacity is surely irrelevant to the moral issue in question?


  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Good points here Mr Badger.

    But surely if this article is presented as an objective account of a scientific investigation, then it fails, because little in the account or the investigation can be trusted, according to what we have been told. Toad has pointed out a fundamental problem.

    If as you say “from a Catholic perspective the self healing capacity is surely irrelevant to the moral issue”, then so too is the report and the investigation. Which is in effect what Toad said.



  7. Mr Badger says:

    Wall Eyed Mr Whippy, (it’s a great name and I refuse to abbreviate it)

    It does seem to me that the report and investigation are irrelevant to the Catholic view on this issue. It isn’t worthless however, it may give pause to people who regard terminations as pragmatic decisions based upon “likelihood of a healthy life”. But the Catholic is (correct me if I’m wrong) duty bound not to consider abortion as a pragmatic issue which is decided by such criteria.

    With respect to Toad, I think he may be more interested in the implications that the 34% have with respect to the existence of a benevolent God than anything else. But you know what toads are like!


  8. Mr Badger says:

    I’ve noticed since I started commenting on blogs that I have disconcerting ability to be completely wrong. It might be sensible for me to adopt your practice of signing off with “probably”.



  9. manus says:


    1) The scientific reporting in the link makes no statement about embryo gender. The use of “himself” in the above is a humanizing reference which is understandable, but hardly pivotal to the quality of the reporting.
    2) It seems a perfectly orthodox piece of science (for good or ill) to me – not my field, mind. Where are the smoke and mirrors, exactly?
    3) Similarly, “little in the account or the investigation can be trusted, according to what we have been told” – why, exactly?
    3) As Badger says, Toad’s comments are surely about whether the findings have any bearing on morality or indeed theodicy. Toad is far too wise an old bird to question the science per se.
    4) Therefore congratulations on contradicting yourself within a single posting – your last, regarding Toad’s objection(s) – it usually takes you two or three.


  10. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Mr Badger

    Yes, this report is indeed irrelevant, not to say b-b-bonkers. But as you say, not worthless, merely suspect. And I wouldn’t dream of correcting anyone, far less you, on Catholic thinking. Although I did correct someone about the effect of the crusades, but that was because the person’s views were loopy.

    Toad; yes he is a huge difficulty. If you don’t mind my mixing of species (pax Noah) , I find Toad to be like cats; impossible to herd, yet which I love immensely (whoa there Toad, there’s more). That is to say, they are ungrateful, difficult, contrary and demanding – yet you can’t help arranging your life, your lap, to suit their whims and need for material comfort. Spookily, as I write this, I realise with a rare flash of perception that this is in fact, bollocks, and that cats are not toads. And cats are beautiful, unlike toads. Just look at his picture.

    My example above of being mistaken leads me neatly into your last post where you speak about being wrong. Mr Badger, I am wrong all the time; the trick is to disguise, bluster or evade that painful fact. You have rumbled my little game of sign-off comments.



  11. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Manuel’s last comments melted away when I looked at the Live Feed. ‘Vatican’ arrived 53 seconds ago!

    Manuel, take back all you said – it’s all being written down! That’ll larn yer!



  12. manus says:

    I have no doubt that the Vatican is rather better acquainted with the proper relationship betwen science and morality than you appear to be. Scientific findings are not negotiable. Their interpretation and implications most certainly are.

    So I ask you again – on what grounds do you suggest that the scientific findings reported here are ‘smoke and mirrors’ or indeed not to be ‘trusted’?


  13. toadspittle says:

    Toad must say, that from the get-go,he didn’t really understand what this post was “getting at.”

    And, despite the sterling attemps of Manus, Badger and Mr. W to enlighten him, he still does not.

    Time to move on, he thinks.


  14. Mr Badger says:

    Toad is far too wise an old bird to question the science per se.

    Badger now has visions of a chimerical winged toad fluttering and spittling through his minds eye. Oh the strange zoological garden that is the Catholic blogosphere.


  15. toadspittle says:

    If God had meant Toad to fly, He’d have given him air miles.


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