Virgin Pregnancies Not So Rare?

In my novel Now and at the Hour of Our Death, I explore what it would be like if a young ardent virgin found out that she was pregnant. What if a miracle of biblical proportions happened in today’s skeptical world? Obviously, society would scoff at the scientific impossibility. Virgins don’t get pregnant.

The Annunciation of Mary

The Annunciation of Mary

Or do they?

As I describe in the book, asexual production that results in potential virgin mothers is fairly common in the animal kingdom in a process called parthenogenesis. Zoos have reported numerous cases in which female komodo dragons, for instance, separated from the male population spontaneously produce healthy offspring on their own.

Biologists haven’t seen a confirmed case of parthenogenesis in the human population as of yet, but a recent study released in BMJ shows that one in 200 pregnant women consistently claim to be virgins. That is an astonishing number considering the skeptical world today. From the study:

45 women [out of 7870] reported at least one virgin pregnancy unrelated to the use of assisted reproductive technology. Although it was rare for dates of sexual initiation and pregnancy consistent with virgin pregnancy to be reported, it was more common among women who signed chastity pledges or whose parents indicated lower levels of communication with their children about sex and birth control.

The implications are manifold but include lending scientific merit to stories of virgin pregnancies including the one celebrated at Christmas. It also has the potential to diminish the importance of such events. If they not so uncommon, can they be considered miracles?

cover_m_nhd-200x300From the back cover:

THE CHOICE TO BELIEVE IS YOURS.
IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT TRULY IS.

Mary Credence wants to be a modern day Joan of Arc battling the skeptical world around her. But when the ardent virgin finds herself pregnant, she’s thrust into a much bigger fight than she ever imagined. Is Mary hiding a romantic tryst in an effort to protect her father’s political career, or is her baby a true modern miracle? With the help of a talented writer and a surprising medical finding, Mary attempts to convince the world of her gift and to convert a nation of cynics into believers.

Now and at the Hour of Our Death challenges our notions of faith and science, all while asking the eternal question: What do you believe?