THE Virgin birth in the Gospels was miraculous, but research
published this week in the British Medical Journal
suggests that modern reported virginal conceptions might have less
A study of 7870 women in the United States between 1995 and
2009, tracking them between adolescence and adulthood, found that
45 (0.5 per cent) of those surveyed reported at least one virgin
pregnancy. They had not used assisted reproduction. This phenomenon
was more common among women who had signed chastity pledges, or
whose parents had engaged in less communication with their children
about sex and birth control.
Those who reported virgin pregnancies were twice as likely (30.5
per cent) to have pledged chastity than non-virgins who reported
more conventional pregnancies (15 per cent).
More than a quarter of the parents of women who reported virgin
pregnancies (27.7 per cent) said that they had "inadequate
knowledge to discuss sex and birth control", compared with 5.2 per
cent of the parents of non-virgins who reported pregnancies.
The researchers, based at the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, and led by Professor Amy Herring, note that "virgin
births . . . have been documented in multiple animals, including
pit vipers, boa constrictors, sharks, and Komodo dragons".