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“Flash of light” Not Needed to Prove Conception

by | May 24, 2016

By Nancy Valko

A fluorescent flash captures the moment that sperm enzyme enters the egg PHOTO CREDIT:NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

A fluorescent flash captures the moment that sperm enzyme enters the egg

In a May 23, 2016, National Catholic Register article, ”Contrary to Reports, There is No Flash of Light at Conception,” writer Stacy Trasancos takes some people who wrote about the amazing research article and video to task for exaggerations:

“At conception, there is no flash of light, no burst of fireworks, no sparks flying, no fiat lux, no scientific proof of ensoulment, no vindication of doctrine by this research. There is a misunderstanding.”

She is right that claims of ensoulment or actual “fireworks” in the mother is a misunderstanding. That is not what the authors of the research were writing about.

But while I understand Ms. Trasancos’ point about the over- excitement by some writers, the phenomenon itself actually is a pretty big deal.

I am a nurse, not a scientist, but I read the scientific article myself before I wrote a recent blog on the research.

The researchers were not trying to make a theological or philosophical point but rather reporting a testing phenomenon:

“We monitored calcium and zinc dynamics in individual human eggs using selective fluorophores following activation with calcium-ionomycin, ionomycin, or hPLCζ cRNA microinjection. These egg activation methods, as expected, induced rises in intracellular calcium levels and also triggered the coordinated release of zinc into the extracellular space in a prominent “zinc spark.”

For the lay audience, the truly relevant point is that there IS a moment of “human egg activation.” Using fluorescence to show a chemical reaction accompanying that moment of activation enhances the reality of when life begins–a fact that Justice Blackmun in the Roe v. Wade abortion decision said was unresolvable because so many people disagreed.

As I wrote out years ago, the photos of the “sperm injection” mode of IVF (in vitro fertilization) developed over 20 years ago and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) before implantation of the new life back into the mother should have been proof enough of when life begins, even for a Supreme Court justice.

No fluorescence or sparks necessary.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Nancy’s blog at

Categories: Life