On Conception and Contraception

Roughly half way into the woman’s menstrual cycle her egg leaves the follicle and a hormone is released to thicken the lining of her uterus. The egg takes about 24 hours to move through the Fallopian tube waiting for a sperm to fertilize it. If a sperm finds its way to where the egg is, fertilization occurs; otherwise, the egg disintegrates in the uterus.

Fertilized egg (called morula or zygote) starts dividing into many cells within 24 hours as it moves through the Fallopian tube towards the uterus, which takes three to four days. The clump of cells at this stage is called blastocyst (a zygote becomes a blastocyst approximately on a fifth day after fertilization).

The next step, called the implantation, consists of the egg attaching itself to the wall of the uterus. Implantation can be completed as early as eight days or as late as 18 days after fertilization, but usually takes about 14 days. Between one-third and one-half of all fertilized eggs never fully implant.

If implantation is successful, within a week a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can be found in woman’s blood. It is made by the cells that eventually become the placenta. This is the hormone detected in a pregnancy test. An implanted blastocyst is now commonly referred to as embryo.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the term “conception” properly means implantation; a pregnancy is considered to be established only when the process of implantation is complete. The medical community has long been clear: pregnancy is established when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the wall of a woman’s uterus.

There exist two kind of emergency contraception: a morning-after pill and an IUD insertion. These can be used to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex. Neither method will work if a woman is already pregnant. Emergency contraception is not abortion.

To recap: morning-after pill does not end pregnancy (fertilized egg that has implanted). Depending on specific circumstances (mainly: timing), it may do one of the following: delay or prevent ovulation, block fertilization, or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Hence, it is not an abortion pill. Therefore, if you need it, take it and stop losing sleep over it and if you happen to be Catholic, you don’t even have to confess (unless you have sinned in some other fashion, of course).

Women who use emergency contraception are not killing any babies. A non-implanted blastocyst will be on its merry way out, regardless whether it was prevented from implanting by a pill or by Mother Nature herself (remember 1/3 to 1/2 of them never implant anyway). Even if you have been indoctrinated to believe that life begins at conception, it is wise to know precisely what conception is and when it actually occurs: at implantation. Amen!

Note: I felt compelled to provide this information to all my friends and whoever else may read my blog because I recently ran into an adult person who is quite devout but blissfully ignorant when it comes to biology, chemistry, human anatomy, medicine, etc. and who got all her so-called “scientific knowledge” in church, where folk are evidently taught such subjects by equally blissfully ignorant clergy.

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2 Responses to On Conception and Contraception

  1. Paul says:

    Unfortunately, your point will appeal only to those who think, and for the most part, they don’t need it.

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