The Role of The Egg Cell in The Formation of a New Human Being
With the onset of puberty, there is a similarity in the developments in the male and female bodies. The female reproductive cell, the egg, along with the female reproductive system is prepared to complement the male reproductive system.
With the coming of puberty in women, just as in men, the hypothalamus knows exactly when the time has come to send commands to the pituitary gland to produce the hormones required to bring the egg cells to maturation. The pituitary gland receives these commands, immediately obeys them and begins to produce the needed hormones.
The production of reproductive cells in women is not continuous as it is in men. This production occurs at particular times. It is the job of the pituitary gland to determine the time. The pituitary gland assures the production of a hormone that will bring the primary egg cells to maturation in the ovary. This hormone knows very well where it will perform its function, and going straight to the ovary, it announces that the time has come for the maturation of the egg. At this, the egg cells immediately understand the command and begin an intense activity inside the ovary, leading to the maturation of the egg.13
Now, let us examine this information more deeply. How does this tiny secretory gland called the hypothalamus determine the time? And how does it calculate the exact timing of this process, which has occurred in millions of women past and present, without getting confused? The hypothalamus is located at the base of the brain; it is not a timing mechanism, it has no relation with the world outside the brain; it is a piece of flesh composed of cells. The function of this piece of flesh in determining time is an extraordinary thing that cannot be ignored. But this is just a tiny detail of the wondrous occurrences that happen continuously in the human body. This kind of astounding process continues endlessly, at every moment and in every square millimetre of the human body. For example, an amazing miracle happens in the pituitary gland: a command sent by the hypothalamus is read and understood; on the basis of this understanding a decision is made; according to this decision, substances are produced and sent with other productive material without error to a distant and hitherto unseen area. The pituitary gland is also a collection of cells. The coming together of these cells and their conscious understanding of the commands sent to them and their carrying out a command they have understood is an extraordinary thing. What consciousness makes it possible for this collection of cells to "understand", "conceive", "draw conclusions", "arrive at decisions" and "put the decision into effect"?
The human body is a dark environment into which light does not penetrate and where many fluids move at great speed through the vessels; it is a dense and complicated place. No evolutionist has ever been able to explain how a mass of molecules in this dense environment can go where it wants in the complex mass by crossing over other materials many times its own size and without suffering harm or loss, or how they can even use some means to send some other substances to the places where they are needed. This is because evolutionists' sole refuge, when they come face to face with these marvellous proofs of creation, is chance; but there is no room for chance in the complex structure of the human body or of any other living thing. At this point, we must recall that, in the course of all these events, the intelligence and conscience we encounter do not belong to any cell. What we call a cell has no eyes to see with, to tongue to speak or be understood with, and no ears to hear with. Cells are the creation of God; they are only the means of carrying out His commands; and at every moment, by His inspiration, they effect processes too wondrous ever to have come from themselves.
The Egg Cells Begin to Develop...
The egg is produced in an organ with every aspect having been especially designed for this purpose: the ovary. In every woman, there are two ovaries, one on the right and one on the left. In these ovaries, there is a space, big enough for nerve fibres and blood vessels and lymphatic ducts to enter and exit. Inside this space, there are fibrous tissues rich in blood. For the egg cells to be formed safely, they must be nourished and protected by these tissues. Within this protective structure, there are many sacs (follicles) of varying sizes. In every follicle there is one primary egg cell. But only a single mature ovum is normally released from the ovaries each month so that only a single foetus can begin to grow at a time.
But this production does not consist of only one stage. In order for this egg cell to mature, a few developments must occur, one after the other. In order for the primary egg cell to maturate and become reproductive cells, one division by mitosis and two divisions by meiosis must occur, and in a definite series without confusion. As a result of the divisions, a difference in the number of chromosomes in the cell occurs and different types of cells are formed. As is the case with male reproductive cells, in the female, too, the 46 chromosomes in the primary egg cells are reduced to 23.
As a result of the divisions by mitosis and meiosis in the egg cell, three small cells and one large cell (ootid) are produced. The small cells die from lack of nourishment, while the large cell undergoes some changes and becomes the egg. If each of these cells were the same size, there would not be enough of the required nourishment for the development of the zygote at the end of the fertilisation process. But the fact that one of the cells has more nourishment, and the others are small prevents such a problem from developing.
The development of the egg is not an unchecked phenomenon that occurs randomly by itself. As we explained at the beginning, what gives shape to this development, as in the case of the male reproductive system, are the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, which is located under the brain. It is possible to outline the stages in the formation of the egg and the hormones involved in the process:
1. Follicular Growth: This is the stage in which the egg cell begins to be formed. The primary egg cell is found, as we said before, in what is called the follicle. The formation of the follicle takes about 14 days. A pituitary hormone, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), comes to the ovaries in the bloodstream. This hormone is responsible for the formation and development of the follicle in the ovaries and the production of the egg from the primary cell in the follicle. At the same time, this hormone is the cause of the secretion of the oestrogen hormone from the mature follicle. Oestrogen is a hormone which especially affects the uterus. It accelerates the division by mitosis of the cells in the uterus; this area then swells forming a soft cushion to which the embryo will adhere after the process of fertilisation. In addition, it ensures that a sufficient quantity of blood and tissue fluids are directed to the uterus. These preparations are made every month. If an egg is fertilised, it lodges in this specially prepared tissue where it is nourished and its development continues.
As is the case at every stage of human creation, here also a miraculous event takes place. The cells in the female reproductive system determine in advance the needs of the embryo that they will host, make preparations to meet these needs and work to supply the most suitable environment for the development of the foetus. How can a collection of cells effect operations that require such a degree of consciousness and intelligence? It is, of course, impossible to say that cells possess such a consciousness and intelligence, but cells in the female reproductive system (even cells in the pituitary gland) do these things which we have declared impossible for them, and prepare in advance the environment most suitable to the needs of an embryo they have never known.
It is not possible for anyone with an intelligent mind to claim that cells do these things by their own will and intelligence. Indeed, only one whose thinking is seriously flawed could claim that cells composed of unconscious atoms can do what he himself cannot possibly do with his conscious intelligence. This being the case, the reality before us is crystal clear: all the cells that contribute toward the creation of a human being perform their functions by the inspiration of the Creator; they are vehicles in the realization of a miracle that occurs when every human being comes into the world.
2. Ovulation: At this stage the follicle that carries the egg breaks and the egg is released. But the egg cell, which has been released from the ovaries into the void needs assistance. Otherwise, the egg cell would never be able to find the place to meet the sperm. So, at this point, the fallopian tubes, located between the ovary and the uterus, go into action. The egg cell, which has been released from the ovaries into the void, is caught by the fallopian tube, which has large tentacles like an octopus. The fallopian tube provides an appropriate environment for fertilisation and the later stages occur depending on whether or not there are sperm present in this tube.
Controlling all this process is the luteinizing hormone (LH) secreted by the pituitary gland. It is worthwhile pointing out another interesting thing about this hormone. The LH hormone is absolutely necessary for the breaking of the follicle in which is located the mature egg cell and for its movement toward the place where it will meet the sperm. The absence of this hormone will result in the failure of the follicle to progress to the stage of ovulation, even if there is no deficiency in the secretions of the other hormones. But this sort of problem does not occur and 2 days before the ovulation stage, for a reason that scientists are still unable to explain, there is an increase in the secretion of the LH hormone from the anterior pituitary gland. At the same stage there is an increase in the FSH hormone and, by the influence of these two hormones, ovulation occurs regularly every month. In other words, here too the pituitary gland makes an astounding calculation of time and begins the secretion of the required hormones at exactly the right time and in the proper quantities.
Of course this conscious activity is not to be expected from the pituitary gland itself or from the cells which make up this gland. Since there is a superior intelligence and will to be seen here, there is One to Whom this intelligence and will belong: it is the intelligence and will of God which reveals itself in all of these wondrous occurrences in the stages of human creation.
3. The Corpus Luteum (yellow body) – The Luteal Phase: After expulsion of the egg from the follicle, the empty follicle fills with blood. There are special cells called "granulosa" and "theca" cells, which surround the empty space where these follicles are located; they multiply and take the place of the clotted blood in the follicle. These cells accumulate yellow lipid, and are therefore called lutein cells, from the Latin word luteus, "saffron-yellow." So, the follicle from which the egg has been released swells with the fluids which have filled it and becomes an active element called the corpus luteum (yellow body).15
The corpus luteum plays an important role in the preparation of the uterus for the embryo and in conducting the pregnancy in a healthy manner. The most important particularity of this element is the secretion of the hormone called progesterone under the influence of LH (luteinizing hormone). Progesterone has an extremely important function in stimulating the walls of the uterus. The most important change in the uterus occurs in the mucous membrane (mucous) that lines the uterus. Under the influence of oestrogen and progesterone, the mucous membrane begins to swell. The glands and blood vessels become highly tortuous, and the thickness of the uterine wall increases. The purpose of these changes is to prepare a suitable place for the embryo after fertilisation. In addition, it allows the pregnancy to advance by making the walls of the uterus relax. Progesterone also affects the development of the milk glands.
That one hormone can have an influence on another and that they have the sense to do these things exactly at the right time cannot be explained by the operation of chance. This brings some questions to mind: How can a molecule formed of unconscious atoms be possessed of such a sensitive innate power and take the initiative to organize the operations of the body so comfortably? It is clear that the molecules that make up the hormones do not have intelligence or consciousness. This shows that the system together with its complementary character has been created by a supreme power. It is God, Lord of earth and heaven Who has inspired the molecules which compose the hormones and the atoms which compose the molecules in their conscious activities.
The corpus luteum phase lasts 12-14 days. At the end of this period, if fertilisation has not taken place, the corpus luteum degenerates and the same stage is repeated. With the degeneration of the corpus luteum, oestrogen, progesterone and other hormones are no longer secreted; that is, the pituitary gland again comes into action. Once again the secretion of FSH and LH begins in the pituitary gland, causing the growth of new follicles to begin. But these follicles cannot develop sufficiently because the lack of oestrogen and progesterone causes a new stage to begin—menstruation.
It was He Who created the heavens and the earth in all truth. The day He says "Be!" it is. His word is the Truth. All sovereignty shall be His on the Day the Trumpet is blown. He is the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible. He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware.
4. Menstruation: This is the stage in which the unfertilised egg is ejected from the body. Because fertilisation has not taken place, the previously prepared wall of the uterus contracts, the blood vessels are constricted and the egg is ejected. After this stage, the body will begin again to prepare to carry out all these functions.
This whole stage is repeated in all women regularly throughout a particular period of time. Every month new egg cells are produced, the same hormones are secreted again and again at the same period and the woman's body is prepared as if fertilisation were going to occur. But in the final stage, the direction of the preparation changes according to whether or not sperm are present.
Preparations for Fertilisation
The egg cell is 20-25 cm. from the place where the sperm enters the female body. This distance is about 3000 times the size of the sperm. Considered in proportion to its own size, this distance is quite large and to traverse it the sperm needs strong support.
Before the egg can meet the sperm, some preparations begin in both the male and the female body. The great majority of these preparations are to protect the sperm on its journey in the mother's body. For example, in the uterus various contractions and undulations occur. This uncommon activity in the uterus and fallopian tubes facilitates the sperm's advance towards the egg. The interesting thing about these contractions is the substance that causes them. This substance is called prostaglandin and is found in the seminal vesicle fluid that comes with the sperm from the male body. Despite the fact that it comes from a different body, this substance knows the structure of the mother's uterus and affects it in such a way as to make the way easier for the sperm.16
In order for fertilisation to take place, the changes that take place in the uterus are not limited to these. During this period the tubes expand; under the influence of the oestrogen hormones, the mucous membrane that lines the uterus increases in size and weight. The epithelial cells membranous tissues composed of one or more layers of cells separated by very little intercellular substance proliferate. This structure in the mucous assumes a shape that will permit the sperm to pass through these spaces with the movement of its tail. Besides allowing the sperm to move easily, this transformation has another very important function: the tissues serve as a storage and filter area, allowing only normal sperm to pass. Sometimes the sperm do not have a shape that can ensure fertilisation. In this case, they are suspended in these tissues.
As can be seen from the foregoing, it is evident that every movement in the uterus and ovaries is specially designed for the sperm to reach the egg cell. For example, after ovulation has occurred and the possibility for an egg to meet a sperm has been ensured, the mucous begins to perform a reverse operation: it becomes thick and dense, preventing the sperm from entering.
The reason for the changes that happen in the female reproductive system is to allow the sperm which enter the body to reach the egg (ovum). But, as we saw above and in the previous section, this is a matter of great interest: the elements in the female reproductive system assist cells coming from a totally different body.
How can it be that a cell has come to have so much detailed information about other cells with which it has never even shared the same environment? (even if they had shared the same environment the result would not be different.) How does it know, for example, that the movement of these cells must be facilitated? Indeed, it is not possible for the cells that produce the fluid in the uterus to know the qualities possessed by sperm or to prepare a suitable environment for them.
All the functions we have described up to this point occur in all women in the same perfect sequence. When we consider the operation of these harmonious and complementary systems, we come face to face with an evident plan and design: the sperm is designed for the mother's body; the mother's reproductive organs are especially ordered to accommodate the sperm. If there is the slightest defect in this harmony, for example, if the sperm does not have the tail that allows it to move, or if it lacked the fluid to balance the acidic environment in the mother's body, reproduction will not occur.
This clearly shows that the great harmony that exists between the male and female reproductive cells is the work of a deliberate and planned creation. It is Almighty God, the Lord of the universe Who has created mankind from a drop of fluid, male and female, in harmony with each other. Human beings should consider the perfection of God's creation and submit themselves unconditionally to Him, bowing before the eternal power of the Lord.
And in your creation and all the creatures He has spread about,
Your god is God alone, there is no god but Him.
The Sperm Meets the Egg
After undergoing many processes on the way to maturation, the egg is released from the fallopian tubes. At this time, it carries with it many cells surrounding it. Before the egg can be fertilised, the sperm which reach the fallopian tubes must pass through these cells, which are called "granulosa" cells, and then penetrate the thick mantle around the egg.
How will the sperm pass through these obstacles?
Here we see once again the evident perfection of intelligent design in the sperm. In that section of the sperm called the "acrosome", about which we spoke earlier, the hyaluronidase and proteolytic enzymes are stored. The hyaluronidase enzyme in the acrosome breaks down a substance (hyaluronic acid) binding the multiple layers of granulosa cells attached to the outside of the ovum. In this way, it opens a way for the sperm to traverse the egg envelope. The proteolytic enzymes ensure the dissolution of the proteins in the tissues attached to the egg. With the help of these two enzymes, the sperm reaches the egg.18
How is it that these enzymes which belong to the sperm, produced in the male body far away from the egg, are composed of matter that is perfectly able to affect the structure of the egg? Who discovered the formula for this operation? Who placed these enzymes exactly in the right place to enable the fertilisation of the egg; that is, in the head of the microscopic sperm?
It is not the sperm itself which does these things. It is not possible for the sperm to be aware of the existence of hyaluronic acid or the effect this acid has on cells, or to know that the hyaluronidase enzyme will neutralize the effect of this acid. Moreover, it is not sufficient to know the formula of this acid; its production in the human body must also be ensured. And it is impossible for the sperm by itself to form the system in the human body which will produce this enzyme. For example, if you ask anyone who has not had training in medicine or chemistry the name of the enzyme that destroys the structure of hyaluronic acid, or if you asked him to write the formula of the structure of this acid, he would certainly not be able to give you an answer. But a sperm cell does things that a conscious human would not be able to do; with a seeming awareness of chemical formulas which it could not, however, know, it contains substances within its own body to ensure reaching its goal. Certainly, to say that the sperm does this is completely contrary to intelligence and reason. Leaving aside unintelligent and unreasonable suppositions, it will be seen that the presence in sperm of enzymes that will affect the structure of the egg is in itself a proof of creation. This flawless harmony cannot be explained in any way by reference to chance. The fact that the sperm is aware of the chemical structure of another cell different from itself and living in a completely different environment; that it analyses the effects that these chemicals will have; that it then produces the required chemicals according to the results of the analysis, can be explained only with reference to a Creator with superior intelligence, Who has created the sperm with these particular qualities.
The perfect design in the structure of sperm is one of the plainest proofs of the fact that God created human beings, together with everything else.
The Sperm Continues its Journey
When the sperm reaches the outer layer of the egg, its outer membrane binds tightly to the surface receptors on the egg. When this binding occurs, the sperm sheds its outer covering (acrosome). At the same time, the membrane of the egg secretes a substance called "fertilizin," which is required to attract the sperm. This molecule makes the sperm able to move more quickly, allowing them to react with the egg membrane more easily. In addition, fertilizin facilitates the reaction of the acrosome found in the head of the sperm.
When the sperm touches the egg membrane, new substances come into play and new reactions take place. When the sperm touches the egg, it secretes a substance called "anti-fertilizin" which neutralizes the effect of the fertilizin secreted by the egg. In this way, the first sperm to reach the egg will stop other sperm from approaching the egg.
The membrane which surrounds the egg cell begins to renew itself about two seconds after the sperm cell enters and never allows another sperm cell to enter. Experiments have been done in which a few sperm have been observed entering the egg when the membrane has been destroyed. For this reason it is necessary that the fertilisation membrane be formed as quickly as possible. After the formation of the fertilisation membrane, no sperm can enter the egg. In this condition, it is possible to compare the egg cell to a building protected by security. The outer membrane of the egg cell really acts like the security control system of a building which contains very important information; access is denied to the inside of the cell.
Once a sperm enters the ovum, its head swells and it wanders very slowly toward the centre of the egg. Later, within 30 minutes, the egg completely unites with the sperm inside it. As a result of all these processes, the genetic information contained in the sperm is transferred to the egg. 19
But here there is an important point: if the receptors on the sperm and the egg accept one another, they bind to each other; if not, binding is not possible. The reason for this is as follows: the egg of every living being secretes a substance called fertilizin, which has a particular chemical composition. This is a precaution which prevents sperm cells of other species (non-human species) from approaching the egg and causing the degeneration of the human species. Thus, a cat cannot mate with a horse and a human being cannot mate with any other living thing.20
The electrical charge carried by the sperm and the egg also has an effect on fertilisation. The egg always carries a negative charge and the sperm carries a positive one. Because opposite charges attract each other, the egg draws all the sperm towards itself. But with the first sperm that is able to enter the egg, the charge changes immediately. Now the egg assumes a positive charge like the sperm's. Because like charges repel each other, at the moment of union the egg begins to repel all other sperm.
The Last Stage of Fertilisation
When the sperm enters the egg, it sheds its tail and leaves it outside. We may compare this to a space shuttle which detaches its fuel tank when returning to earth. As we know, when the fuel tanks which carry the shuttle outside the earth's atmosphere have fulfilled their purpose, they are released into space; when the fuel inside them is used up, the tanks are an unnecessary weight. To facilitate leaving the earth's atmosphere, it is necessary that these tanks be released at exactly the right time. In the same way, the tail of the sperm, which provides the required energy and movement capability, is left behind as the sperm attempts to enter the egg.
It is obvious to the attentive reader that fertilisation is a highly calculated and systematic process. Very slowly the fluids which surround the egg dissolve the sperm's armour as it reaches the outer membrane surrounding the egg. The enzymes that are released at the moment the sperm's armour is perforated allow the sperm to pierce the egg's outer membrane and enter. The change in the electric charge at this moment repels other sperm and protects the newly developing organism from uninvited guests.
If such a highly protective and cooperative system had not been created, the union of the sperm and the egg would never have been achieved.
If the egg cell had not secreted the guiding fluid, it would not have been possible for the sperm to reach the egg, which is so distant from it relative to its own size.
If the sperm had not had its armour, they, like other microorganisms, would have been dissolved in the fluid surrounding the egg.
If special dissolving enzymes had not been placed beneath this armour, the sperm would never have been able to enter the egg, even after having gone so far as to reach it.
If the electric charges of the sperm and the egg had been the same and not opposite, the egg would have repelled the sperm and no sperm would have entered the egg.
As we can see, in the union of a single sperm with an egg, there is an extraordinary balance and calculation. Furthermore, this balance and calculation have occurred not just once; they have been repeated time and again since the beginning of the human race for every one of the millions of individuals spread throughout the world.
Even in one single stage there is no room for chance in this miraculous process, which shows very plainly that God created human beings.
Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him. All are submissive to Him. It is He Who originated creation and then regenerates it. That is very easy for Him. His is the most exalted designation in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur'an, 30: 26-27)
13 Guyton&Hall, Human Physiology and Mechanisms of Disease, 6. baskı, 1997, ABD, s. 659
14 Laurence Pernoud, J’attends un enfant, Pierre Horay, Paris, 1995, s.107
15 Prof. Dr. Ahmet Noyan, Yaşamda ve Hekimlikte Fizyoloji, Ankara, Mart 1998, 10. baskı, s. 1119
16 Guyton&Hall, Tıbbi Fizyoloji, Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri, İstanbul, 1996, 9. baskı, s. 1006
17 Lennart Nilsson, A Child is Born, Delacorte Press, NY, 1977,s. 22
18 Guyton&Hall, Tıbbi Fizyoloji, Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri, İstanbul, 1996, 9. baskı, s. 1005
19 Guyton&Hall, Tıbbi Fizyoloji, Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri, İstanbul, 1996, 9. baskı, s. 1007
20 Solomon, Berg, Martin, Villee, Biology, Saunders College Publishing, ABD, 1993, s. 1056