Liz and Kevin Krainman adopted their daughter through Miracles Waiting, an embryo donation site, which helps match would-be parents with people who have “leftover” embryos following the in vitro fertilization process. It wasn’t a traditional adoption. Horrifyingly, the law considers these little humans property, not children; therefore, an embryo adoption is merely “a transfer of property.” The contract between the two sets of parents is short, with the original parents relinquishing all future rights to the child.
Liz and Kevin’s daughter was frozen in a lab for seven years before she was implanted in Liz’s womb. The maximum length of time an embryo can be frozen in a lab and still be viable is 10 years. Even within that time frame, many of the little babies cannot survive the freezing and thawing process, so doctors generally have couples create far more embryos (babies) than they will ever need. In the UK, thirty babies are created for every one baby born via IVF. Here in America, Yale University School of Medicine found that for every 100 babies created in an IVF laboratory only 5 will become live births.
Embryo donation is hardly the primary solution to the problem of those “excess” babies. Most are thrown away or destroyed by scientists through experimentation. To whitewash this catastrophic waste of life, IVF scientists have taken to referring to these little six-day-old babies as “pre-embryos.” Lee Silver, author of “Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World,” breaks down this subterfuge well:
I’ll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.
The term pre-embryo is useful in the political arena — where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo (now called pre-embryo) experimentation — as well as in the confines of a doctor’s office, where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients. ‘Don’t worry,’ a doctor might say, ‘It’s only pre-embryos that we’re manipulating or freezing. They won’t turn into real human embryos until after we’ve put them back into your body.’
As much as we don’t like referring to babies in the cold sterile term of “embryo,” it is important to understand what it means. Open any human development textbook and you will find sections like this one: “At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun…The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life.”[Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943]
It’s a complicated way of saying what science has always acknowledged: Human life begins at conception. Nothing else will be added. Only time and nutrition are needed for a single-celled human being to become a 37-trillion-celled human being. As Liz said of her adopted daughter, “I believe life begins at conception. Therefore, these embryos are life. They deserve an opportunity to grow and live and be loved just as any child deserves. These are little humans who happen to be nine months younger.”
While we are thankful that some of the babies created in the IVF process are being adopted, the truth is that the vast majority are being killed, either through destruction in the lab, experimentation in other labs, or selective reduction abortion on multiples that were implanted and conceived to “increase your odds” of having a child. It is tragic that one in six couples face infertility. My heart breaks for them, especially because I have been so greatly blessed by my own 16-month-old daughter and 28-week-old preborn daughter.
But regardless of the emotions, the in vitro fertilization process is morally bankrupt. It must be strongly condemned by all humanity for its callous and frivolous waste of human life for the sake of personal pleasure. It is not an acceptable route to parenthood. For indeed, what kind of true parent creates 30 children to be killed so that one may be born?
It is important that we continue education about human development and quote the scores of textbooks reminding us that life begins at conception. In discussions with abortion rights advocates, we must not allow ourselves to be dragged down rabbit trails about birth control, our views about war, or the shortcomings of the foster care system. The central point of the abortion rights and, indeed, IVF rights discussion is whether or not the “embryo” or “fetus” is a human being. As Greg Koukl says, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”
Truly, the IVF process is elective abortion by another name.