Jerusalem| The pregancy of 17-year old Batya Abuhatzeira, has attracted a lot of attention and interest over the last weeks, as a growing number of scientists and doctors have proved unable to find an explanation to her astounding case. The jewish teenager found herself pregnant while on solitary confinement, during a three week activity of communion and prayer with her school, and is still clinically a virgin.
This case’s mystery begins with the circumstances of the “conception”, which presumably took place in a monastery near Beit Shemesh, which she was visiting with her religious private school. Miss Abuhatzeira was participating in a three week activity of prayer and monastic silence with 22 other girls from her class, in a religious institution forbidden to males. The young girl claims she had some mysterious dreams, ressembling a vision, in which a angel-like figure told her she would have a child.
The doctor who initially followed the progression of the girl’s pregnancy, demanded help from specialists after he noticed the girl was still a virgin, and that something about her kid seemed to disturb the ultrasound equipment and rendered clear imaging impossible. More than a dozen experts and specialists have tried to address the problem and find a solution, but it seems a mysterious energy field somehow blocks the scan.
The increased attention on Batya’s case has brought a lot of speculation from the media and the public, bringing forward dozens of wild and eccentric theories. Many religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have manifested their interest towards her child, due to the many similarities between this story and that of the Christ. Various alternative media have on the other hand, elaborated many wacky theories, going from a secret military genetic experiment directed by the Israeli Army, to an alien artificial insemination project.
Parthenogenesis in humans may seem far-fetched, but 50 years ago no-one suspected that parthenogenesis could occur in any vertebrate: now all-female species have been documented in fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds (all major orders of vertebrates except mammals). Parthenogenetic reproduction (reproduction without males) could occur among human females yet remain unnoticed. Indeed, such a woman could have a husband and be totally unaware of her own condition.
A major study was conducted on the topic by Balfour-Lynn in 1956, which studied eight alleged cases, out of which in only one case, “Mrs. Alpha and daughter,” did the subjects show apparent genetic identity in blood groups and several other genetically determined traits including electrophoretic analysis of serum. The probability of such a close match between a mother and daughter produced by heterosexual reproduction is less than one chance in a billion.