Human Embryo (7th week of pregnancy)

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    This photo of an opened oviduct with an ectopic pregnancy features a spectacularly well preserved 10-millimeter embryo. It is uncommon to see any embryo at all in an ectopic, and for one to be this well preserved (and undisturbed by the prosector's knife) is quite unusual.

    Even an embryo this tiny shows very distinct anatomic features, including tail, limb buds, heart (which actually protrudes from the chest), eye cups, cornea/lens, brain, and prominent segmentation into somites. The gestational sac is surrounded by a myriad of chorionic villi resembling elongate party balloons. This embryo is about five weeks old (or seven weeks in the biologically misleading but eminently practical dating system used in obstetrics).

    The photo was taken on Kodak Elite 200 slide film, with a Minolta X-370 camera and 100mm f/4 Rokkor bellows lens at near-full extension. The formalin-fixed specimen was immersed in tapwater and pinned to a tray lined with black velvet. The exposure was 1/4 second at f/8.

    This image found its way to Wikipedia and on 29 Nov 2006 was promoted to the status of Featured Picture. It was Wikipedia's Picture of the Day for March 21, 2007.

    More recently, I added an image of a nine-week embryo to my Photostream. What a difference two weeks makes!

    Going backwards in time, I have an image of a 4- to 5-week embryo, which I also found in a tubal pregnancy.

    chloe_charms, ☣ bionerd ☢, and 128 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 10 more comments

    1. Mookies Mom 79 months ago | reply

      Yes, thank you for posting this picture. I found out I had an ectopic pregnancy at about 5 weeks and am still going through it now through methotrexate treatment. Some might think it a bit destructive and morbid to look at this whilst going through it, but I think it helps me get through it by imagining what my little fella may have looked like.

    2. SangPhotographer 77 months ago | reply


      good sharing :-)

    3. Debashish.Das 74 months ago | reply

      Amazing , indeed

    4. blister007 59 months ago | reply

      Dear Mr. Euthman,
      could you tell me if you have more of these embry fotos as I rarely could find those:

    5. euthman 59 months ago | reply

      Sorry, this one and the two referenced in the caption are the only ones I have.

    6. suzane21 56 months ago | reply

      Right now, the only things growing faster than your baby's brain may be your tingly, achy breasts.
      Week by Week Pregnancy

    7. euthman 56 months ago | reply

      Poor Mom! Win/win for Baby and Daddy though. ;)

    8. megmoore1 56 months ago | reply

      Congratulations! Your photo has received the Amber Award from FotoVotr. It has been selected from the Flickr community because of its interest and popularity. For more information, please visit the FotoVotr Amber Group. We would be honored to have you join us!

    9. lisab1973 47 months ago | reply

      I had a ectopic pregnancy and was 7 weeks when my levels dropped and never was my baby that big in ultrasound wasnt to be seen on 8th week and 9th week had chemo shots to terminate pregnancy .baby wasnt in tubes and wasnt to be found .

    10. euthman 47 months ago | reply

      Hi, Lisa. Yes, the presentation you describe is much more common. It is very rare to find a well-preserved embryo in a tube removed for an ectopic. Usually we see some early placental tissue and a lot of blood clot, and presumably the embryo degenerated much earlier.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I hope everything has gone well for you in the aftermath.

    11. Tpovnik 41 months ago | reply

      The "eminently practical dating system used in obstetrics" has a major flaw: it assumes a woman's cycle is always 28 days. I remember trying to explain to the docs that I had conceived four weeks after LMP (I have a regular 40 day cycle) instead of the assumed two weeks and so development was two weeks younger than that given. Sadly, I had to terminate but it was only after I insisted upon an ultrasound that my knowledge was accepted because, of course, the U/S showed a size 2 weeks younger than the obstetric date. This was very important because it meant I could have the VA/D&C method that was initially refused me as being "too late" and so saving me from the horror of being induced.

    12. RumpledElf 36 months ago | reply

      Have to ask, how many women died from ectopics before surgery to remove them was a viable option? You make it almost sound common to remove tubes.

      Oh, and I used this photo here:

      Thanks for sharing with a CC license!

    13. Bambu hijau 7 months ago | reply

      Complaints experienced by many pregnant women into early pregnancy loss of appetite are so few foods that have nutrients to meet your nutritional needs and the fetus is often overlooked. It’s important to maintain appetite during pregnancy, if you leave you lose your appetite during pregnancy, maternal and fetal health would be threatened.
      Healthy Recipes For Pregnant Women

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