Why don’t sperm and ova have a right to life since they are also genetically human?
Sperm and ova do not have a right to life because they are not individual genetic human beings, but are merely parts of individual genetic human beings. Having haploid chromosomes, they each have only half of the chromosomes needed to make a human being, whereas all other cells of the body (except erythrocytes—red blood cells) have diploid chromosomes. The gametes (sperm and unfertilized egg) do not contain the whole DNA code for a human. They cannot survive on their own; they have no more life than any other cell.
At conception, when the sperm and ova fuse, they each cease to exist. They have formed something new, a zygote, which possesses self-sustaining life such as all life-forms have. A zygote is an individual genetic human being; the sperm and ova are not.
Editor: Paul S. Taylor, Christian Answers, with content provided by Francis J. Beckwith and Tim Kirk.
Copyright © 2002, Films for Christ. All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
Further reading on abortion issues
- Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993).
- Francis J. Beckwith, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 2000).
- Stephen Schwarz, The Moral Question of Abortion (Loyola University Press, 1990).
- Randy Alcorn, Prolife Answers to Prochoice Arguments (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2000).