Friday, July 21, 2006

Unused Frozen IVF Embryos and The Bush Veto - Four Options

Stem Cell Bill Gets Bush's First Veto
By Charles Babington

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 20, 2006; Page A04

"Officials say that about 400,000 frozen embryos are stored at U.S. fertility clinics. The vast majority await disposal because the couples that produced them have completed their pursuit of children and do not want another person to raise their biological child. Bush praised those who "adopt" such embryos, implant them in a woman's womb and bring them to term.

But others said there will be few such adoptions because most couples seeking a child through in vitro fertilization want a genetic connection to that child. "Even with federal funding available to encourage adoption, the number is 128, which makes it conclusive that these 400,000 embryos will either be used for scientific research or thrown away," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a proponent of the bill, said this week.

Bush and his allies say that frozen embryos are tantamount to humans, and therefore are no more appropriate for medical research than are death row inmates. "If this bill were to become law," Bush said yesterday, "American taxpayers would for the first time in our history be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos."

Others reject that analysis, saying it would make killers of every couple that produces an unused embryo, and every employee and official who allows fertility clinics to produce and store such embryos.

"If that's murder, how come the president allows that to continue?" asked Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). "Where is his outrage?" Harkin called the veto "a shameful display of cruelty, hypocrisy and ignorance.""

Four Options (1) Embryo Adoption, (2) Research, (3) Cryogenic Eternity, (4) Disposal

As discussed in the WP article there are four options available for IVF created embryos left unused.

George Bush’s veto of the bill passed yesterday by the United States Senate effectively removed Option #2, where Federal funding was involved, for the approximately 400,000 frozen embryos referred to above in the article cited. As described above, Option #1, the adoption of Snowflakes, the political term used for the embryos "rescued" via adoption, is not very popolar among those considering ART / DC in their family building.

That leaves Options # 3 and 4. The conservative right would have these embryos be left in stasis based on their belief that #1 is murder. It just seems to me that the best alternative is research if there are no families looking to adopt these embryos. Certainly the anti-DC community would rather have these embryos not be born into life disconnecting the resulting child on both sides. Then again this community is probably not looking to expand research on this area either and would want Option # 4.

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