Unborn Life Survival (Part I)

How does the embryo survive from the beginning?

New human life comes about by a sperm and egg meeting in the fallopian tube. When they fuse it forms a zygote which soon divides and begins to multiply while it migrates to the body of the uterus. In a few days it becomes a blastocyst which becomes the embryo which has cells that become the body and those that surround them that provide support. The latter cells send out enzymes to breakdown the tissues that line the uterus so the embryo can implant. These cells also send out a chemical called human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) which tells the ovary to keep sending out the hormones needed to maintain the integrity of the uterine lining so the embryo can survive. In other words, the father provides the sperm and the mother provides the egg and the womb but the embryo still has a lot of work to do on its own to survive.

Here’s how it works.

Early in the woman’s cycle the pituitary gland sends out Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which attaches to specific receptors in the ovaries and tells them to send out estrogen. Estrogen goes to the lining of the uterus and attaches to specific receptors that signal it to grow. Several days later, after the egg has been released from the ovary (ovulation), the tissue from which it sprang becomes the corpus luteum (yellow body). It has FSH receptors that tell it to continue to send out estrogen. But it also has a lot of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) receptors.  LH (like FSH) comes from the pituitary gland and attaches to these receptors and signals the corpus luteum to also send out progesterone.

Progesterone is called the pregnancy hormone because by attaching to specific receptors in the lining of the uterus it signals it to develop further so it can take care of the embryo. The corpus luteum normally has a lifespan of only ten to fourteen days. When it stops working this causes a significant drop in the production of estrogen and progesterone which results in the uterine lining no longer being supported so it degenerates and dies. It is then shed (along with blood) out of the uterus into the vagina and out of the woman’s body in what is called a menstrual period.

But if pregnancy takes place then this changes everything. As noted above, the cells that support the embryo soon start to make hCG. This hormone works to keep the corpus luteum alive beyond its usual lifespan by attaching to its LH receptors and tells it to keep making progesterone. The progesterone goes to the lining of the uterus and keeps it going so the implanted embryo can survive. That’s why when a woman becomes pregnant she misses her period and doesn’t shed the lining of her uterus and new human life continues.

Three Questions for Mr. Darwin

    1. How did life anticipate the need for and provide the information to the embryo to send out the right enzymes at the right time so it could implant in the lining of the uterus?

    2. How did life anticipate all the different hormones and receptors that would be needed and provide that information to the mother’s body to properly prepare her womb for new life?

    3. How does your theory account for the stupendous coincidence that the embryo can produce a chemical (hCG) that stimulates the same receptor as LH does on the corpus luteum to keep it working so the uterine lining can support it?

Also see Dr. Glicksman's Series on

"Beyond Irreducible Complexity"

"Exercise Your Wonder"

Howard Glicksman M. D. graduated from the University of Toronto in 1978. He practiced primary care medicine for almost 25 yrs in Oakville, Ontario and Spring Hill, Florida. He now practices palliative medicine for a Hospice organization in his community. He has a special interest in how the ethos of our culture has been influenced by modern science’s understanding and promotion of what it means to be a human being.


Copyright 2018 Dr. Howard Glicksman. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.