[This is part 2 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of “Baby Chris.” Click here for part 1.]
In one short week, Baby Chris has grown from a single cell to several hundred. Baby Chris is now known as a blastocyst. He or she is made up of stem cells, which have the power to produce over 200 cell types.
This is the one week in pregnancy where “ball of cells” is a reasonably accurate description—but don’t be an “April Fool” and think that’s a good defense of abortion! In fact, abortion never occurs during the blastocyst stage. Week-old Baby Chris is completely safe from the abortion industry, because there is not enough hCG (pregnancy hormone) yet to return a positive result on a pregnancy test.
The bigger challenge for Baby Chris is to accomplish implantation. He or she has traveled from the fallopian tube to the uterus and is now implanting into the endometrium (uterine lining), which will provide critical nutrients throughout pregnancy. Blastocysts who fail to implant will miscarry.
|Graphic via the Endowment for Human Development|
At conception, Baby Chris was about 1/4,000 of an inch (or 0.006 mm) long. Today, he or she is just under half a millimeter long—an 82-fold increase! Of course, this is still too small for quality photographs. The best available images come from blastocysts who died after being conceived in vitro. The Virtual Human Embryo project has several such images from the first week of human life:
|6-day-old human blastocyst
|7-day-old human blastocyst|
|8-day-old human blastocyst|