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Good Seed Needs Good Soil in a Woman Too

Man with his pregnant wifeOne of the most amazing examples of design in the world around us is the process of conception and a baby growing in the womb. With all of the attention to birth control and related issues one might assume that getting pregnant and having the baby develop in the uterus is quite easy to do, but in fact the entire process is incredibly complex. One of the main players in the baby being able to survive is the lining of the uterus which is called the endometrium.

The endometrium undergoes dramatic changes during a woman's menstrual cycle. It is only receptive to embryo implantation for a few days after ovulation, and any time before or after those few days the embryo will not implant, much like good seed will not grow in bad soil. Researchers have found that the protein content of the endometrial fluid changes radically depending on whether it is in a receptive or non-receptive stage. Part of the studies of the human genome have shown that there is a group of genes that turn on and off at different phases of the menstrual cycle and it is these genes that control the receptive ability of the endometrium.

In the January/February 2009 issue of this journal, we discussed the fact that the body of a woman treats pregnancy as an invasion by a foreign body (causing morning sickness), and how science is still struggling to explain why the mother's immune defense against this foreign object does not destroy the baby. In our July/August 2011 issue we discussed how the body of a woman uses thermotaxis — temperature variation in the fallopian tubes — to help the sperm find the egg and how the egg itself releases attractants to bring the sperm to it. The more we learn of the process of reproduction, the more complex and amazing it becomes. Our studies of the human genome, and our understandings of how genes do what they do has added another layer of complexity to what it takes to conceive and sustain a baby through the nine months of growing inside the woman’s body.

David's beautiful praise of God in Psalm 139:14 reflects the fact that from conception on we are “fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are [God's] works.” Source: Scientific American, September 2012, page 18.

Picture credits:
Hemera Photo Objects Collection