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The Probability of Coming Into Existence, As You, Is Extremely Small



The odds of you being here today with seven billion or more people on earth is extremely small. In fact it would be zero when you analyze this by applying probability to your chance of being born into this world as you. I decided to play with this idea after coming across a website on this subject. When I started doing these calculations, the first two calculated results immediately told me that the odds of you being in existence go down very quickly as you get closer to the final calculation.

Of course the probability of a baby being born everyday is 100 percent, but when the final calculation is completed from a “you perspective” or just for that one single unique person; you will see why people always say being born is a miracle. But people never think about the occurrence of this event from a mathematical perspective. However, if the whole process was repeated from beginning to end the odds of you being born again would be nil. It would be another baby instead of you. Also, keep in mind that these calculations are based on estimated values of quantities, such as population size, female population, male population, sperm count, ovary count, etc. You get the idea. I used the Wolfram Alpha mathematics calculation website to obtain some of the values for my calculations. These values are not static in a world full of life. They are always changing.

You are unique because of your odds of being here. Many events had to occur for you to exist.

You are unique because of your odds of being here. Many events had to occur for you to exist.

It Takes Two To Tango

Let’s start at a hypothetical point in time, the year is 2014, and let us assume you are two years old now. What are the odds of your father, now 26 years, meeting your mother in the United States back in 2012? Your father could have met almost 15 million females between the ages of 18 to 24 years old. This is the number of females in this age group in 2012 based on the data I obtained through the Wolfram Alpha mathematical website. Of course your father could not have met all these young women, but your mother is the lucky woman he does meet. The odds is now 1 in 15 million that he will meet her. If he had met at least 1,000 of them in the six years and one of them was your mother the odds are now 1 in 15,000. At this point, you can see the odds are a little better but still low. If your father had picked another woman other than your mother from the 1,000 women he met, you would not exist. You can see already that if one of many events that occurred to bring you into existence did not happen, you will not exist.

Adding Kids to the Picture

The odds of you coming into existence gets even worse at this point because a few thing must happen here. Once your father meets your mother things may not necessarily go according to plans to have kids. First, there is a 1 in 2 chance that they will be together long enough to produce a child. The odds for your existence is now 1 in 30,000. There is a 1 in 10 chance that they will continue dating for a while, a 1 in 10 chance that they will go on a second date and a 1 in 10 chance that they will date each other a third time. The combined odds are now 1 in 30 million that you will come into existence. You can understand this better if you have seen the popular movie, Back To The Future, which brings these odds to life on the big screen.

In the popular movie Marty McFly must undo a series of events that caused his parent not to get romantically involved with each other in order to prevent himself from being erased from existence. Unfortunately, the movie make it seems too easy for Marty to put things back the way they were supposed to happen. Here is the problem, even though Marty had successfully got his parents together; there are still many other events that have to happen exactly the way they did the first time around in order for Marty and his exact same siblings to be born as before. There is one scene where Doc Brown looks at the photo and noticed something different before sending Marty back to the future. I am not too sure what he saw but something was obviously different in the photo.

The right sperm and the right egg came together to bring you into existence. This had to happen  thousands of times for you to exist, starting from the first living organism on earth.

The right sperm and the right egg came together to bring you into existence. This had to happen thousands of times for you to exist, starting from the first living organism on earth.

Eggs and Sperms Really Matter Here

The odds of you being here really go down when eggs and sperms come into the calculations. They come in large numbers here. In her lifetime your mother will have about 100,000 eggs to release during her monthly ovulation and each one carries a different set of DNA information. Your father makes about one trillion sperms in the years you could have been born and again each one carries a unique set of DNA information. What are the odds of that one particular sperm meeting that one particular egg to make you and not one of your siblings? It is an unbelievable 1 in 100 quadrillion or 1 followed by 17 zeroes.

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You could win the Mega million or Power Ball lotteries a few times before this happen. The odds of winning one of these lotteries are higher than the chance of the right egg and right sperm uniting to start the development of you. There could be millions of combinations of sperm-egg unions besides the one combination that created you.

Again in reference to the movie, even though Marty successfully gets his parent together; it is highly unlikely Marty and his siblings will come into existence because all events have to happen the exact same way as before. It is highly probable his parent could have an entirely different set of children or no children at all the second time around. Their lives will now take another path because their encounter with Marty have changed some of the unforeseen variables in their lives. This is what makes life so unpredictable. There are a lot of movies that illustrate this simple problem with time travel if it was possible.

Looking at the Whole Family

The odds of you being here become unimaginable low when you take into consideration that your mother and father are not the only reason you are here. You are part of an unbroken chain of sperm-egg combinations that go back thousands generations back to the first single-cell organism when it first appeared on earth about three billion years ago. Each one had to survive to procreate the next generation to get you here. The odds of each generation doing that is 1 in 2 . So if you multiply that 1 in 2 odds thousands of times those odds are fast approaching zero. That number is estimated to be 1 in 10 with 45,000 zeroes after the 10. One more thing that we must consider once again; that the right sperm must meet the right egg in each of the previous generations, before this same right sperm meets right egg event took place with your mother and father to bring you into existence.

This critical event must occur at least 150,000. The odds of you being here after multiple occurrences of this event is 1 in 10 with two million zeroes after the 10. If you are mathematically challenged 1000 is the same as 10 followed by two zeroes. You can see how large that number is and when you divide it into 1 the odds of you being here is unimaginable small. The grand total of all those odds I have calculated is 1 in 10 with two million, six-hundred eighty-five thousand zeroes after the 10.

You can look at this from a religious perspective or a mathematical perspective. You are unique.

You can look at this from a religious perspective or a mathematical perspective. You are unique.


As you can see, the odds that you exist at all are basically zero, mathematically speaking. This is why your mother and father see you as a miracle when you are born. There is only one of you in existence. It is highly unlikely there will be another you.


Christina Garvis from United States on July 30, 2018:

This is rather intriguing. Thank you for writing this!

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 19, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, thanks for your comment and for stopping by to read my hub. As you can see, each one of us is here by pure luck, if you look at it from a mathematical perspective. It all begin with your father meeting your mother by chance. Keep in mind whenever anyone crosses your path it is by chance that it happen and then a lot of other events had to happen before they met and after for you to exist. Events before they met had to happen along an unbroken chain that go back to the beginning on both sides of the family before you were born. Everyone had to beat incredibles odds to be here.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 19, 2014:

The odds are mind-blowing. I like the perspective you lay out here.

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