Development stages of the foetus (or fetus)
The embryo becomes a foetus (say fee-tus) eight weeks after fertilization. The foetus depends upon its mother for protection, oxygen and nutrients as it develops.
Inside the uterus, there is a bag called the ‘Amnion’, The amnion contains amniotic fluid, in which the foetus is surrounded. As the foetus is attached to the walls of the uterus, special tissues at the point of contact becomes the placenta. From the placenta, an umbilical cord grows to attach the foetus.
Week by week, the foetus grows steadily and all vital organs such as the spine, heart,brain, lungs and reproductive organs begin to take shape. Below is an illustration of the wonderful stages that the foetus goes through. As the foetus grows into a baby, the mum’s tummy becomes bigger and bigger and bigger.
Boy or girl?
A boy or girl is decided at fertilization. This is called the 'gender' of the baby. The gender symbol is denoted by the term 'Chromosome'. Each egg and each sperm have one chromosome. A chromosome can be either X or Y. Egg cells only have X chromosome. Sperm cells may be X or Y chromosomes. This means the gender of the child is decided by the man, even though he has no control on what kind of sperm cell to release.
Naturally, a human can only be a boy or girl.
X+X means the cell will develop into a baby girl.
X+Y means that it will develop into a boy.
Whichever gender the fertilization produces, it will end up as a unique, wonderful baby, capable of doing amazing things, just as all of us.