“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”
When someone receives a donated organ they must take powerful drugs to prevent rejection. That’s because the body’s immune system identifies the implanted organ as “not me.” It then assumes that the invader is dangerous and must be destroyed. That brings us to a puzzling mystery that scientists have been trying to solve: Why doesn’t a mother’s body recognize her unborn baby as being foreign to her body? After all, carrying genetic information from the mother and father, the unborn baby is genetically unique.
Some scientists theorize that the placenta is a physical barrier between the baby and the mother’s immune system. Others believe that the unborn baby somehow hides from the mother’s immune system. A third theory is that the mother’s immune system is somehow forced to tolerate the unborn child.
New research from scientists at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, supports this third alternative. Researchers have shown that the placenta produces an enzyme (IDO) that works to suppress immune cells. In effect, the unborn child puts together just the right enzyme to keep mom’s immune system from attacking it. Scientists say that this discovery may lead to new drugs to treat autoimmune diseases and organ rejection.
This system or a similar system had to be fully operational in the first creature for successful pregnancies and births. It could not gradually evolve. This fact and the wisdom of this system provides more evidence of an all-wise, all powerful Creator of every form of life and all that exists.
I thank You, Father, that You protected me in my mother’s womb. Amen.
J.T., Don’t reject me, fetus tells Mom, Science News, v.154, p.152, September 5, 1998. Photo: Human placenta with umbilical cord a few moments after birth. (PD)