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Thoughts on Love, Sex & Entertainment

Do Fertalized Eggs Have Rights?

babyThere is not another nation that takes more pride in the fact that it is made up of individuals than United States of America.  It is, after all, our core belief.  One Nation Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.  We have the right to life, love and the pursuit of happiness.  We have the right to bear arms, speak freely,  have children and to abort a birth of a child if we choose to.  Pro-life advocates picket abortion clinics and speak aggressively against abortion saying that life begins at conception. 

In a nation where people cherish the rights of the individual above all else, and pro-life advocates feel so strongly that life begins at conception, why do we not hear more about the destruction of fertilized eggs at fertility clinics?  The eggs have been fertilized so conception has occurred? 

The Boston Globe reported that this last May, to protest a bill on embryonic stem cell research, President Bush surrounded himself with 21 babies, each of whom had been born to parents through the donation of a frozen embryo. There is ”no such thing as a spare embryo,” President Bush suggested that surplus embryos should be ”adopted” and used to produce children, not stem cell research.

The Bush administration nor many of the news reports on the subject failed to explain: There is no such thing as ”embryo adoption.” It isn’t adoption, and it isn’t legal (except in Louisiana, where the constitutionality of a law declaring embryos to be ”juridical persons” with virtually the same rights as born infants is sure to be challenged). In fact couples with ”spare” or unused frozen embryos have had the option of donating them to other infertile recipients for decades. 

The number of embryos available for donation is less than the estimated 400,000 quoted. That estimate includes all frozen embryos. But according to a 2003 study, approximately 88 percent of those frozen embryos are still under the active control of the patients who created them and are still trying to create a family with them. Of the remaining embryos, only about 2 percent of patients were found to actually choose to donate their embryos to another family for procreation — likely, at least in part, from discomfort over donating their born child’s potential genetic sibling. In my own practice and those of many of my colleagues, almost 75 percent of patients who seriously consider donation ultimately decide not to donate to another family. Many of those patients choose to donate for research.

From a strictly legal perspective, no matter how warm and fuzzy it may sound, adoption is simply an ill-fitting analogy for the transfer of genetic material in the form of embryos, eggs, or sperm. An embryo does not have legal parents, and it is not adoptable — a distinction anti-choice proponents (and those who want their votes) choose to overlook. In virtually every state, adoption is a judicial proceeding involving the placement of a live child in need of a home, pursuant to laws and procedures designed to scrupulously and primarily protect the child’s best interests while transferring parental rights and responsibilities for that child.

In June, the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Preborn Children, or NAAPC), sued to stop stem cell research in California on behalf of ”preborn” children claiming violations of their constitutional and civil rights.

Some have changed the vocabulary to blur the distinction between four- to eight-cell embryos and born children — by using terms like ”embryo adoption,” ”preborn children,” or ”microscopic Americans”

So, why don’t hear more about this subject in the media?  Why don’t we see Pro-life supporters picketing in front of fertility clinics?  Is it because these sites have a reputation of creating life?  The bigger question is: Is the one or two lives created by the fertilization of many eggs worth the distruction of those that are not used?

We are interested in hearing your opinions on this subject.  Please click on “comments” below to leave your opinions.

May 16, 2009 - Posted by | Parenting | , , , , , ,

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