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Abortion. Rels 300 / Nurs 330 12 March 2014. Fetal Development. Some pictures taken from this website: http:// www.w-cpc.org/index.htm They used pictures from these sources: Nine Month Miracle CD ROM, by A.D.A.M. Software, Inc.

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Rels 300 / Nurs 330

12 March2014

fetal development
Fetal Development

Some pictures taken from this website:

  • http://www.w-cpc.org/index.htm

They used pictures from these sources:

  • Nine Month Miracle CD ROM, by A.D.A.M. Software, Inc.
  • the book A Child Is Born by the famous Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson
  • the handbook When You were Formed in Secret, by Gary Bergel

Additional pictures are from this website: http://visembryo.com/

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human pregnancy
Human Pregnancy

9 months: 3 trimesters

  • 1st trimester: fertilization to week 13
  • 2nd trimester: weeks 13 to 26
  • 3rd trimester: weeks 26 to 40

Fetal viability: somewhere between weeks 20 and 26

    • earlier than 24 weeks, fetuses have a much smaller chance of healthy survival;
    • survival rate at 24 weeks is approximately 50%

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Fetal Development

  • Make your own record on paper of fetal development
  • Draw a graph, or a time-line, or any other method of keeping track of stages of fetal development
    • How long does a process take?
    • When does it occur?
    • What is the natural % of loss?

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  • sperm moves up the vaginal canal, through cervix, and into the fallopian tube;
    • 1% make it this far
  • 1 sperm penetrates zonapellucida; 20 minutes
  • fusion of nuclei of egg & sperm takes another 24 hours

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Single-cell zygote begins cell division:

    • 2, 4, 8, etc.; every 20 hours
  • At 16 cells: zygote becomes a morula
  • Morulaleaves fallopian tube, enters uterus
    • Process takes 3-4 days
    •  5 days after intercourse
  • conception is now complete
    • Rate of success = 25%

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Yellow = the blastocoel cavity

Blue ring = the traphoblast cells

Purple ring = the placenta

The small black cluster at 10:00 on the circle is the developing embryo

Implantation process continues:

  • Blastocele cavity forms in centre of morula
  • Traphoblastcells develop an implantation site for the blastocyst
  • Implantation site becomes swollen with new capillaries
  • This process takes place from day 7 to day 12

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day 14 implantation is complete primitive streak appears on the surface of the embryonic disc
Day 14: implantation is completePrimitive streak appears on the surface of the embryonic disc
  • This is the future axis of the embryo
  • By day 15 or 16, viable embryo will continue to develop
  • Now possible to determine if there are multiple embryos
  • 42% of zygotes fail to achieve implantation
  • Of these, 8% spontaneously miscarry or result in a still-birth

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4 week embryo
4 week embryo

Embryo produces hormones

These function to prevent the woman’s menstrual cycle from shedding the uterine lining and embryo

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5 weeks embryo is the size of a small peanut

Day 21:

Internal organs are forming

Heart has begun to beat

Neural tube splits into 3 sections as brain develops

Placenta is functioning

Spine and spinal cord are growing

Umbilical cord is clear

5 weeksEmbryo is the size of a small peanut

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8 weeks fetal brain waves can be measured
8 weeksFetal brain waves can be measured
  • Facial features developing
  • Eyes have both retina and lens
  • Major muscles are sufficiently developed to allow movement
  • Fingers have begun to develop
  • Fetus has own blood type, with blood cells being produced by its own liver

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12 weeks end of 1 st trimester
12 weeksend of 1st trimester
  • All essential external and internal structures are present in early stages
  • Head: external ear, retina, eyelids, palate, tongue, teeth buds
  • Abdomen: intestines beginning to move from umbilical cord to body cavity
  • Pelvis: external genitalia not yet present
  • Limbs: arms, legs, fingers & toes all developing

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20 weeks genitalia now present fetus can hear mother s voice nearing viability
20 weeks: genitalia now present+ fetus can hear mother’s voice+ nearing viability

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24 weeks viability 20 to 26 weeks
24 weeks[viability = 20 to 26 weeks]
  • Fetus is thin
  • Little fat development
  • Auditory and visual systems continue to develop
  • Reflex movements improving
  • Blood vessels forming in lungs
  • Lung surfactants begin production
  • Fingernails & toenails developing
  • Spine is strengthening
  • All internal organs are formed
  • 50% of 24-week fetusessurvive outside womb
    • Of these, many have life-long disabilities

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full term fetus 40 weeks
Full-term fetus:40 weeks
  • All body parts and organs are more developed and stronger
  • Lungs are not yet fully developed
    • Lungs complete development only after breathing begins
  • Fetus has continued to grow
  • Fatty tissue has formed under the skin

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on your timeline of fetal development place each of these methods of contraception
On your timeline of fetal development, place each of these methods of CONTRACEPTION



  • rhythm method
  • condoms
  • pill
  • depo-provera
  • norplant
  • IUD
  • morning-after pill

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on your timeline of fetal development place each of these methods of abortion
On your timeline of fetal development,place each of these methods of Abortion

# of Weeks Gestation (size of pregnancy) determined by ultrasound

  • Medical Abortion 7 weeks (http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/health-resources/sexual-health/abortion/medical-abortion/)
  • Manual Vacuum Aspiration 8 weeks (http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/health-resources/sexual-health/abortion/manual-vacuum-aspiration/)
  • Suction and Curettage 6 - 14 weeks (http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/health-resources/sexual-health/abortion/suction-and-curettage/)
  • Dilation and Evacuation 14 - 23 weeks (http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/health-resources/sexual-health/abortion/dilation-and-evacuation/)

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what does it mean to be a person when does a fetus become a person
What does it mean to be a person?When does a fetus become a person?

Is a fertilized ovum a person?

    • a zygote prior to implantation?
    • an implanted embryo?
  • a fetus which has attained some certain level of development?
    • development of nervous system (20 wks)?
    • ability to feel pain?
    • fetal viability (20, 24, 28 ? wks)?
  • at live birth?
  • at some point after birth?

Is a stillborn child a person?

Choose 2 points of fetal development where a person could argue that a fetus becomes a person

  • give reasons to support 2 different points

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a third way by l wayne sumner
A Third Way by L. Wayne Sumner



“The liberal view”

of abortion:

  • (voluntary) abortion is always morally innocuous
  • the only acceptable abortion policy is one which treats it as minor elective surgery

“The conservative view”of abortion:

  • abortion is always morally serious
  • the only acceptable abortion policy is one which treats abortion as a form of homicide.

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sumner proposes a 3 rd view
Sumner proposes a 3rd view:

Moral status of the fetus:

conservative view = full moral standing from point of conception

liberal view = full moral standing from live birth

Sumner’s view = a gradual, differential, and developmental view of increasing moral status throughout gestation

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what does this mean
What does this mean?
  • early abortion is more like contraception
  • late abortion is more like infanticide
  • permissive abortion policy in early stages of pregnancy/gestation
  • more restrictive abortion policy in later stages of pregnancy/gestation
  • seek agreement on “threshold stage” which divides the 2

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criteria of moral standing
Criteria of moral standing

criterion of life = too weak

(not all living things have moral standing as persons)

criterion of rationality = too strong

(some beings who are not rational still have moral standing as persons)

criterion of sentience (or consciousness)

= promising middle path

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what is sentience
What is sentience?
  • ability to experience sensations
  • ability to feel pleasure and pain
  • ability to enjoy and suffer
  • capacity for feeling affect (emotional states)

more developed sentience =

consciousness and rationality

“A fetus is…probably sentient by the conventional stage of viability(around the end of the second trimester). (Sumner, p.198)

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sentience as a threshold point
Sentience as athreshold point
  • capacity for sentience depends on the required physiological structures for sensing
    • Cerebral cortex – thought, voluntary movement, language, perception, reasoning
    • Cerebellum – movement, balance, posture
    • Brain stem – respiration, circulation, blood pressure
    • Hypothalamus – body temperature, emotions, hunger, thirst, sleep/wake cycles
    • Thalamus – sensory processing, movement
    • Limbic system – emotions, memory
    • Midbrain – vision, eye movement, hearing, movement

What is the timeframe for neural development?

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when does sentience begin
When does sentience begin?

1st trimester fetuses do not have the physiological capacity for sentience

3rd trimester fetuses do have the physiological capacity for sentience

Physiological capacity for sentience develops during the 2nd trimester of fetal development

Full sentience, including consciousness and rationality, does not develop until some time after birth

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2 nd trimester abortions
2nd trimester abortions

According to Sumner, 2nd trimester abortions will need to be justified by a competing moral consideration:

    • serious threat to the woman’s life
    • serious threat to the woman’s physical or mental health
    • serious fetal deformity

What would you regard as justifiable reasons for a 2nd trimester abortion?

In your opinion, should personal inconvenience and choice count as sufficient reasons for abortion

  • in the 1st trimester
  • in the 2nd trimester?

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B.C. woman, robynbenson, 22 weeks pregnant,declared brain-deadcbc news; http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/robyn-benson-on-life-support-as-husband-awaits-her-c-section-1.2520768

Dylan Benson says his unborn son was just over five months along and growing normally when Robyn complained of a headache and collapsed on Dec. 28.

  • "She was non-responsive. I tried to call her name and stuff but nothing would happen," he said.
  • Rushed to hospital, staff determined that she had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and that damage was irreparable. She was declared brain-dead the next day.
  • "On one hand, I can’t wait to meet my son and try, and give him the best life possible and try my hardest to be a great dad for him. On the other hand, I know that the day or the day after he is born will be the day that I have to say goodbye to Robyn."

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If you were in this situation,22 weeks into a pregnancy, and suffered a brain hemorrhage,what would your wishes be?
  • Would you wish to have your life artificially maintained for 12 more weeks to increase the likelihood of a healthy C-section birth?
  • Would you wish to have life-sustaining interventions removed to allow for your own natural death?

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Feb. 8, 2014: 'Baby Iver' born healthyB.C. woman declared brain-dead on Dec. 28 underwent surgery to deliver 'Baby Iver' on Saturday

Robyn Benson, the Victoria woman who was declared brain-dead in December, underwent surgery on Saturday to deliver a healthy baby boy before she died the next day. 


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