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Possibility of Virgin Births

Possibility of Virgin Births (a) “Medical men have not ruled out altogether the possibility of natural parthenogenesis, or the production of a child by a female without any reference to a male. Such a statement offhand appears ridiculous, yet its possibility, from a purely biological standpoint, under certain conditions, cannot be disregarded. Dr. Timme calls attentions to this possibility as the result of a certain type of tumors, known as arrhenoblastoma (from the Greek word for “female” and “sperm”) which are occasionally found in the female pelvis or lower body. These tumors are capable of generating male sperm-cells. Naturally, if these male sperm-cells are alive and active and come in contact with the female’s own egg-cell or ovum, conception might occur. There is nothing illogical in this line of reasoning. Dr. Timme states that there are twenty authentic cases, reported in Europe in which an arrhenoblastoma has been found to develop male sperm-cells. . . . The arrhenoblastoma is a tumor that contains blastodermic cells. These cells are creative structures and are capable of development at any time and the fact, therefore, that arrhenoblastoma containing these “embryonic cells” might create testicular tissue, capable of producing male sperm-cells seems scientifically not impossible. . . . If living male sperm-cells are produced in a female ‘body by arrhenoblastoma, the possibility of the self-fertilisation of a woman, even though a virgin, cannot be denied. That is to say, her own body would produce the same result as though sperm-cells from a man’s body had been transferred to hers in the more usual way, or by a physician’s aid.” (American Medical Journal) (b) “There are cases on record of children having been born without fathers. A young girl of great moral purity became pregnant without the slightest knowledge of the source. There is a case of pregnancy in an unmarried woman, who successfully resisted an attempt at criminal connection and yet became impregnated and gave birth to a perfectly formed female child.” (Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, George M. Gold and Walter L. Payle) (c) “Nature’s whims are unpredictable. In the realm of live experience, we will have to be particularly careful not to dismiss the incredible as the impossible. 34 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “In November, 1955, Miss A. a simple woman who definitely knew nothing about the discoveries of modern biology, told a fantastic story. No doctor, no judge, no husband would have hesitated to regard her tale as a senseless web of lies, or as the hallucinations of a lunatic. Yet a team of leading British scientists was willing to investigate the matter by modern scientific methods. Their surprising verdict was; “The assertions of this woman should be taken seriously. In addition, we must admit that we could not refute them.” “The woman insisted that she had given birth to a fatherless daughter. She claimed for her the miracle of the virginal conception. “Unbelievable? Of course, because we are used to regarding the birth of organisms in terms of two sex partners. That a male and a female co-operate seems to us an immutable law of nature. It is not.” (Eric Weiser: Conception and Misconception) (d) “In the past few years 26 cases .of tumor of the character of arrhenoblastoma have been collected and reported from Europe by Professor Robert Meyer of Berlin. These had similar characteristics in that they actually produced in the patients a general masculinisation. Only one case has ever been reported from America. . . . This was the case of a young girl of eighteen years.” The writer, Dr. Walter Timme, then tells us how the girl’s menstruation suddenly stopped and how she began to develop certain male features, such as hair on the upper lip etc. She also developed a tumor mass in her abdomen, which gave her so much pain that it had to be removed surgically. “Sections of the tumor were carefully examined. It was found to consist, besides the coagulation necrosis and degenerative masses, of an atypical arrangement of small round and spindle cells showing an occassional whorl and a suggestion of groups bound together by fasciculi. At other places the structure was undoubtedly epithelial in character, presumably from the hilum of the ovary and represented the primary growth. These cells were arranged in irregular medullary cords and also as rudimentary tubules. The tubules were lined with atypical columnar to cuboidal forms of epithelium. Besides the detritus and coagulated material within the lumen of the tubules, there appeared also a few definite pear-shaped forms of spermatozoa. In fact specimens of these sections were sent to Berlin for Professor Meyer’s interpretation, which he unhesitatingly pronounced to be semini ferous tubules within which were spermatozoa. It was concluded therefore that this was a true arrhenoblastoma originating in the hilum of the ovary and developing from anlagen consisting of residual undifferentiated cells which have developed along male lines as evidenced by the presence of tubules similar to seminiferous tubules and of typical testicular tissue with interstitial cells. In other words, we have male testicular tissue producing spermatozoa in juxtaposition to an ovary which potentially could function within the pelvis of a woman. The possibility of a so-called “Immaculate Conception” is POSSIBILITY OF VIRGIN BIRTHS 35 therefore not without the bounds of reason.” (The Transactions of the American Neurological Association, Vol 60 (1934) pp. 85, 86) (e) “The possibility that a woman might become pregnant without at least one spermatozoon having entered the uterus is not one which the reasonable man would lightly entertain. Scientific opinion for several centuries has sided with the reasonable man; but today biologists and cytogeneticists in particular, would be less dogmatic in dismissing such a possibility. To them the rarity of spontaneous parthenogenesis in vertebrates is ground for remark. . . . “Parthenogenesis, in which an ovum begins to divide ‘of itself producing a haploid embryo or recouping the missing paternal chromosome some form of doubling, is much rarer in warm-blooded complement by vertebrates, but it is common in invertebrates. Parthenogenetic cleavage has been reported in cat and ferret ova, and lately in unfertilised turkey eggs. None of the embryos have been shown to be viable. But parthenogenetic development going to full term and producing a viable and healthy offspring, can be induced in mammals by cooling the fallopian tubes, and many fatherless rabbits have already been reared by this technique, though the failure-rate is high. In view of this, we may have to re-examine the justification for our belief that spontaneous parthenogenesis is rare in vertebrates and absent in mammals. If it were rare in mammals but occasionally present, would it in fact be noticed? “The offspring of parthenogenesis would be a female or less probably an abnormal male, and its immunological make-up would be such that it could be recognised with absolute certainty — ‘no specialised knowledge would permit faking.’ Most claimants could be sifted on the repertoire of blood-grouping tests alone. The culminating proof would be the ability of the mother to take a skin-graft derived from the child without breakdown and with indefinite persistence of the graft. . . . “Possibly some of the unmarried mothers whose obstinacy is condemned in old books on forensic medicine, or cited as a curiosity by their contemporaries, may have been telling the truth.” (The Lancet, November 5th, 1955)