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Letters to the Editor: Fertilized Egg

Dear editor:

Your use of the term “fertilized egg” is scientifically inaccurate. The term further creates the impression that this tiny human being is a mere thing. Human embryologists including Ronan O’Rahilly have debunked the use of the phrase. As Professor Dianne Irving points out (in the paper, “When Do Human Beings Begin?”):

“The use of terms such as ‘ovum’ and ‘egg’ – which would include the term ‘fertilized egg’ – is scientifically incorrect, has no objective correlate in reality, and is therefore very misleading. These terms themselves would qualify as ‘scientific myths.’ The commonly used term, ‘fertilized egg’, is especially very misleading, since there is really no longer an egg (or oocyte) once fertilization has begun. A ‘fertilized egg’ is a human being…

“This new single-cell human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes (no carrot or frog enzymes and proteins), and directs his/her own growth and development (in fact this growth and development has been proven not to be directed by the mother). Finally, this new human being-the single-cell human zygote-is biologically an individual, a living organism-an individual member of the human species.”

In future reports, it would be most helpful to your readers if you use the correct scientific terms such as zygote, embryo and fetus. This will help your readers understand that the person in question is not a part of her mother’s body, and that she exists at fertilization and is an individual. It also clarifies the fact that many popular methods of birth control, like the pill, abort persons during their first few days of life.

When describing the growing human being, please make a note to use accurate scientific terms rather than false science. Thank you.