Over Two Million Human Embryos Have Been Killed in the UK in IVF Since 1990

Bioethics   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Mar 18, 2015   |   2:50PM   |   London, England

In Britain, the number of destroyed in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos has risen to nearly 170,000 a year and since 1990, over two million embryos have been discarded. The public body set up in to regulate the IVF industry, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, released the new statistics earlier this year.

Embryos are usually discarded when they are no longer wanted, have passed their storage limit or carry a faulty gene that causes an inherited disease. Unfortunately in 2011, a study in the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine revealed that 19% of unused embryos are discarded and 3% are donated for scientific research.

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Lord Alton, a Catholic peer, told the Catholic Herald the following about the new statistics: “Since 1990, when the creation, manipulation and destruction of human embryos became legal, figures show that at least 2,053,656 human embryos have been allowed to perish. Last year the annual rate of attrition rose to a staggering 170,000.”

He continued, “Even these figures are likely to be an under-estimate, as they don’t bother to keep full and comprehensive records. British law, and science, recognize that human life begins at conception. For that reason, successive Governments have said that the human embryo should be treated with respect and should not be used if alternatives are available. How can those sentiments be reconciled with wanton destruction on an industrialized scale?” Failure to respect and protect human life in its earliest stages leads to a disrespect for life at every other stage. There should be an honest and open reappraisal of the legislation, which permits this to happen.”

He also said that these new numbers show a “wanton destruction on an industrialized scale” and a “failure to respect and protect human life in its earliest stages.”


Additionally, Pope Francis explained why the Catholic Church has problem with in-vitro fertilization in 2014. He said, “We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, who created things this way.”

Additionally, Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council said that the IVF industry is dangerous because it operates without oversight. He said, “This is an entirely unregulated industry, a business. It’s the same manufacturing industry that brought us the ‘Octomom’ and ‘egg brokers,’ treating babies and women’s bodies and eggs as commodities. Maybe it’s about time we took a harder look at the whole idea of cavalierly creating life in the lab.”