September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

When does life begin? Our poll results

Ten days ago I put up a poll asking readers of this blog when they thought the life of a human being starts. The poll is above and you can still participate.

I purposefully tweeted this poll to as wide an audience as possible. We have gotten a lot of responses and interestingly the most frequent answer with 40% of the vote was that the life of a human being begins “When fetus can survive outside the womb”.  This was far and away the top answer. Most respondents seem to think that human life begins when a fetus has in essence crossed a line after which it can survive independent of the mother.

What I also found interesting is that there was no clear 2nd place answer. Basically tied for second were “conception”, “1st trimester but not at conception”, and “at birth” with a sprinkling of other answers.

So there does not seem to be a polarized group here between only 2 answers.

Also, keep in mind that our readership is fairly diverse including scientists, students, investors, policy makers, funding agencies, anti-ES cell research people.  This diverse group still 85% of the time choose an answer that was not “at conception”.

I still believe there is no “right” answer and I would argue that this is a question that science cannot prove. Each person has to decide on a personal level. I’m still thinking it through myself and will post in the future.

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