Is a baby in the mother's womb a parasite?

Asked by suparnaa | 20th May, 2015, 06:06: PM

Expert Answer:

  • Parasite is an organism that lives and feeds, on or in an organism of a different species and causes harm to its host.
  • However, a human embryo or foetus is an organism of one species (Homo sapiens) living in the uterine cavity of an organism of the same species (Homo sapiens) and deriving its nourishment from the mother.  
  • A parasite is generally harmful to some degree to the host that is harbouring the parasite. A human embryo developing in the uterine cavity does not usually cause harm to the mother. It in fact offers protection to the mother.
  • The baby growing inside the mother’s womb passes his fetal cells - embryonic stem cells to the mother. These cells protect the mother from breast cancer and other diseases. More than that, the protective effect endures for the rest of the woman’s life, even if the woman had aborted the baby due to some reasons.
  • Hence, it is a misconception that a baby in the mother’s womb is a parasite.

Answered by Sheetal Kolte | 20th May, 2015, 07:04: PM