Fetal Cells Cross Placenta, Stay With Pregnant Mom for Life

Bioethics   |   Cathy Ruse   |   Dec 9, 2011   |   11:32AM   |   Washington, DC

“You will always be a part of me,” might be a mother’s teary farewell when her child goes off to college, but research is showing it’s quite literally true.

Kathy Ostrowski reports in the Kansans for Life blog on a recent National Public Radio Morning Edition program featuring Science editor Robert Krulwich and his explosive report about “fetomaternal microchimerism.”

According to Krulwich there is increasing evidence that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells – gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.”

Some interesting points and quotes from the segment:

  • “In a teaspoon of an ordinary pregnant woman’s blood… [are] dozens, perhaps even hundreds of cells… from the baby,” according to a Tufts University researcher. Lab studies done “over and over and over and over” of mother mice with diseases (ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers) show that fetal cells rush to the places where they’re needed in the mom.
  • “The cells of an unborn child will stay in the mother for decades… essentially forever,” said a researcher from Thomas Jefferson University. “There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue.”
  • A study involving a Boston woman with hepatitis (and a history of five pregnancies) found hundreds of fetal cells at work “repairing” her liver.

In a culture where children are too often seen as a threat to self, here’s an argument that might reach even the hardest heart.

LifeNews.com Note: Cathy Ruse is senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, a national pro-family group that focuses on pro-life issues and opposes abortion.