Advancements in the medical profession, particularly ultrasonography, reveal earlier and earlier the humanity of the child and in doing so, help people to see clearly that a person’s life starts when male and female chromosomes come together. Standard human embryology textbooks such as “The Developing Human Being” teach that “human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell — a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” Unborn children possess from the beginning the DNA that informs a person’s unique characteristics.

Not only do scientists better understand the early stages of a person’s development in the womb, more and more they are able to perform lifesaving in-utero surgeries on babies who show signs of abnormal development. A team of doctors in Cleveland recently performed heart surgery on an unborn baby during the second trimester who had a rare and often fatal heart defect. That baby is now thriving.

The baby’s mother, Heather Catanese, told People magazine, “We went from discussions about what things did we want to do with him in whatever short amount of time we may be able to spend with him to talking with the doctors about what sports he may or may not be able to play in high school.”