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Insights in reproductive health research and practice from CompassCare's medical team.

When Does Pregnancy Begin?

The point at which a woman is pregnant has traditionally been defined as when a separate and distinct strand of DNA has been created. This happens at fertilization, when male sperm unites with a female egg, which typically takes place in a fallopian tube. Recently some medical professionals have changed that definition. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “the establishment of a pregnancy takes several days and is not completed until a fertilized egg is implanted in the lining of the woman’s uterus.”1

But does this statement truly reflect the thoughts of the greater medical community?

In a 2011 study, 1800 practicing US obstetrician-gynecologists were asked to define when they believe that pregnancy begins.  Of the 66% who answered:

  • 57% said “At conception (the union of the sperm and the egg, also known as fertilization)”
  • 28% said “When the embryo is implanted in the uterus”
  • 16% said they were “Not sure”2

It was determined that physician’s deeper beliefs about the nature of human life inform how they interpret the science of when a human life begins. Do you believe, as most physicians, that human life begins at fertilization, also known as conception?

It is important to seek out an unbiased source to walk with you through your unplanned pregnancy.  Contact us for a free consultation.


1 The Guttmacher Institute (2005). R.B. Gold, The Implications of Defining When a Woman Is Pregnant. The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, May 2005, Volume 8, Number 2. Retrieved from: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/08/2/gr080207.html

2 American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2011). G.S. Chungemail, R.E. Lawrence, K.A. Rasinski, J.D. Yoon, F.A. Curlin. Abstract: Obstetrician-Gynecologists’ Beliefs about When Pregnancy Begins.  Retrieved from: http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2811%2902223-X/abstract

Categories: Life , Pregnancy