Can women get pregnant by sunlight as a result of the process called parthenogenesis? No, that's not true: Mammals, including humans, do not reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis.
The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on Facebook on March 13, 2023. The male host said:
Women can do that. They can get pregnant by sunlight. It's called parthenogenesis.
The description of the video contained several hashtags:
Virgin birth Explained‼️ #virginbirth #parthenogenesis #quickthoughtpodcast #virginmary #HolySpirit #godson #God
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Mar 14 14:50:13 2023 UTC)
The man speculated that parthenogenesis explains how "virgin birth" was possible in the Bible, ending with a generalization that real-life women are allegedly also capable of it if the conditions are right.
The video did not cite any scientific research nor any sources at all.
In 2020, Mercedes Burns, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country, specifically addressed this question and explained parthenogenesis in an article on the university's website:
Parthenogenesis is a Greek word meaning 'virgin creation,' but specifically refers to female asexual reproduction. While many people may assume this behavior is the domain of science fiction or religious texts, parthenogenesis is surprisingly common throughout the tree of life and is found in a variety of organisms, including plants, insects, fish, reptiles and even birds. Because mammals, including human beings, require certain genes to come from sperm, mammals are incapable of parthenogenesis.
While women cannot get pregnant by parthenogenesis, a similar process may potentially lead to a serious health condition, according to a 2017 paper published by the department of biology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil:
Spontaneous parthenogenetic and androgenetic events occur in humans, but they result in tumours: the ovarian teratoma and the hydatidiform mole, respectively.
Lead Stories reached out to medical professionals specializing in fertility, gynecology and obstetrics. When we receive their responses, this article will be updated as appropriate.
The man who appeared in the video on Facebook was Lamonte Mcintyre. His profile does not indicate that he has any credentials in the fields of medicine or biology. In contrast, he introduces himself as a marketing specialist, a co-founder of a real estate group and an owner of a barbershop.
Mcintyre has shared false claims in the past. For example, he claimed that amygdalin, which turns into cyanide in the human body, is a "vitamin." A Lead Stories debunk of that claim is here.
Medical misinformation and disinformation researchers have pointed out that reproductive health, including pregnancy and abortions, is one of the areas where false claims are very persistent.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about reproductive health can be found here.