National Study Reports Nearly 4 Dozen Claims of Virgin Births
Wait, what? How??
It's a Christmas miracle! According to a startling new survey, a half-percent of teens and young women said they gave birth without ever having had sex.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were startled to learn that out of the 7,870 women surveyed as part of the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 45 respondents (0.5 percent) confirmed their status as virgins.
“We thought, ‘This can’t be right. We must have done something incorrectly,’” said Amy Herring, a biostatician at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who led the study.
Virgin birth in nature
A virgin birth, known scientifically as parthenogenesis, or a form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization. The process is found in certain species of insects, snakes, sharks, and Komodo dragons. Not to offend any immaculate conception believers, science has never found a a human case of parthenogenesis.
The big question, of course: HOW?
We doubt any of you actually believe this research is evidence of the second coming. The median age at which virgins reportedly gave birth was 19.3 years. The computer-generated, self-interviewed survey allowed the participants to answer freely, and as Herring pointed out, "Social pressure could have made the women reluctant to admit they had sex before a certain age, or it could be they were confused about where babies come from."
The respondents could also have been confused about sex itself. Herring pointed to a Canadian study that showed 10 percent of those students interviewed did not think that intercourse ending in orgasm counted as sex.
According to the report, these "virgin" mothers were also less likely to know how to use condoms. Interestingly, about a third of the women who reported to a chatse birth had signed a virginity pledge, compared to 15 percent of all women who had babies.
The pitfalls of self-reported data
Herein lies the pitfalls of self-reported data, as Reuters explains about the study: "Such scientifically impossible claims show researchers must use care in interpreting self-reported behavior. Fallible memory, beliefs and wishes can cause people to err in what they tell scientists."
Virgin birth or wishful thinking?