Monday, January 08, 2007

"Embryo" Bank Stirs Ethics Fears

no. 323

On Saturday, January 6, 2006, Washington Post ran a story regarding the Abraham Center of Life, based out of San Antonio, TX, discussing the Center's advertising that they are offering the world's "First Human Embryo Bank" for couples dealing with infertility issues. Articles regarding this facility have popped up now and again and it is no surprise that with the last few weeks worth of Katrina Clark stories, Mary Cheney stories, and cloned food stories that this one is trotted out again.

The reporter, Rob Stein, hits all the relevant issues and does note that ethically the service provided is similar to what is currently available in that couples or individuals can now arrange for donor sperm and donor eggs separately and that ethically that has not amounted to the same level of interest that the Abraham Center engenders.

My only comments are, echoing again the authors, that where an individual / couple arrange for DI and DE they are the ones choosing the combination as opposed to the Abraham Center making the choice for commercial reasons as to what combinations they believe individuals / couples woud want. While it is clear that when individuals make the choice they are doing so for their own personal reasons here it does begin to make the line grayer than it already is.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the service provided by the Abraham Center but so far this is my understanding of what it means to offer the World's First Human Embryo Bank. A copy of the Post article will be posted in the Annex to this blog.


Care said...

One thing that crossed my mind as I read this was that they used a Fairfax donor to create 22 embryos. Theoretically they could have done this with just one vial. They talked of using this donor again for another batch. That is a lot of potential half siblings from just a few vials of donor sperm. I will admit I was glad that the donor they used wasn't either of mine.

I'm not sure how I feel about the concept of creating embryos without potential parents already identified. It's one thing (in my mind) to create embroys using eggs and sperm chosen by intended parents, but I'm not so sure about the idea of just creating them....solely for the sake of selling them. I realize the line there is pretty fuzzy. I think it is because I think of each embryo as a potential life - therefore the idea of creating these embryos for sale doesn't sit quite right with me.

DI_Dad said...

"...a sperm bank operated by the Genetics & IVF Institute in Fairfax. He is a 6-foot-tall lawyer with blond hair and blue eyes."

I missed the line identifying the sperm donor during my earlier read of the article and then this time I was at first looking for a donor number and almost missed it again.

I wonder if that donor has seen these articles and whether his opinion has changed.