The scientific explanation for the virgin birth of Jesus

Anita Durairaj
Image of painting of Virgin Mary and Jesus by Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255–1319)Public Domain Image

The word "parthenogenesis" is derived from the Greek language and means "virgin birth."

It is a form of reproduction that does not involve fertilization by sperm. Thus, embryos can grow and develop without sperm. It is an asexual reproduction that results in spontaneous embryo development. This approach to reproduction occurs in nature mainly in the plant and animal kingdom.

Examples of animals and plants that have undergone parthenogenesis include mosses, algae, insects, nematodes, and crustaceans. For instance, some wasps, fishes, birds, and lizards can produce offspring in this way. There are rare examples of vertebrates that have also undergone parthenogenesis.

Scientists have wondered if humans can also reproduce via parthenogenesis. The most famous example is the virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. Could this have been a case of parthenogenesis?

Science does claim that it is possible in theory to give birth as a virgin but it is very unlikely and the possibility of doing so is minuscule.

A 2007 article in Slate explains how a virgin birth could occur in a human. First, the woman's egg would have to produce biochemical changes to signal fertilization. The egg would then divide abnormally to compensate for the lack of sperm. However, to actually produce viable offspring, the egg would need to carry "two specific genetic deletions."

These specific genetic deletions can only occur as a random dysfunction or a genetic defect. This occurrence would almost never take place in real life unless genetically manipulated in a laboratory.

Thus, a human egg may undergo parthenogenesis but it has never produced a viable embryo. Even if parthenogenesis was successful, the offspring would be female and not male.

Perhaps, the only exception to this was the case of the birth of Jesus.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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