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.

2 thoughts on “When does life begin? Our poll results


  1. The question of when a human life begins is a profoundly intricate one, with widespread implications, ranging from abortion rights to stem cell research and beyond. A key point in the debate rests on the way in which we choose to define the concepts of humanity, life, and human life. What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be human? Is a zygote or an embryo alive? Is a zygote or an embryo a human being? These are intricate philosophical questions that often incite intense debate, for their answers are used as evidence in the answers to questions about the moral status of a zygote, embryo or fetus.


  2. I think society has confused the issues of when biologically life begins and when we believe human life has value. A new distinct human organism is created at conception. That is a fact. What we are not sure about is when that life has VALUE. That is the real question and the one we should be discussing. So I think your question should not be “When does human life begin?” but rather “When does human life have value?”

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