Monday, December 4, 2006

MIRACLES WAITING vs Political Extremists

Here's some text from the home page of the best-known embryo donation site, run by Baptists: "The tiniest of human beings, once earmarked for death, may now have a chance to live a full life thanks to the creation of a center to receive donated embryos."

I have two beautiful children who were created by in vitro fertilization. They used to be frozen embryos, or more accurately, pre-embryos. I also had several other pre-embryos which did not become children, though they were implanted at the same time, and one pre-embryo which did not grow after thawing. If every IVF pre-embryo was a tiny human being, I would have six children, not two. In addition, I would be a little sister. My mother had a miscarriage several years before I was born. She conceived that child the old-fashioned way. Like most natural pregnancies it did not continue to term, though the next two did.

In a previous article I noted that, though I have no connection to the site, Miracles Waiting is the only embryo donation site I would ever consider using. Every other group facilitating embryo donation is run by politically extremists. The goal of evangelical Christian embryo donation agencies is to elevate the fertilized eggs in clinic freezers above the status of the women whose eggs created them. They claim that each such fertilized egg is really a child.

This is utter nonsense. The best fertility clinics report a success rate of only 16% per embryo implanted. That is similar to the pregnancy rate in nature for each egg which fertilizes. These are not tiny human beings. They are not even technically embryos, but rather "pre-embryos".

Conservative embryo donation agencies don't even care about helping to create families through the use of surplus embryos. If they did, they would put their resources into helping some of the millions of existing orphans worldwide be adopted. The goal of such groups is to elevate pre-embryos to the same status as living children. From there, making all abortion illegal is a small step.

Because the Christian extremists prioritize their political agenda over creating families, they refuse to donate to non-traditional families or to mothers over the age of 45. They are bigots, plain and simple.

Obviously some frozen pre-embryos have the potential to become children. If they did not, no one would become a parent from IVF and I would not be donating my unused embryos to an infertile couple. I pray that their dreams come true and they get one or more children from using these embryos. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. They have a good chance of becoming moms from using these pre-embryos. It's not a sure thing. That's why frozen embryos are not children. And it's also why I urge you, donor or recipient, to only use To use any other embryo donation site promotes bigotry and limits a women's right to do what she will with her reproductive capacity.