SICK: Business Creates Jewelry From Human Embryos Left Over From IVF

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 4, 2017   |   3:55PM   |   Washington, DC

Human embryos, though in the earliest stage of development, already are unique, individual human beings, but many in modern society do not treat them that way.

Human embryos are destroyed, experimented with – and now are being made into jewelry.

The parenting blog KidSpot recently highlighted an Australian company, Baby Bee Hummingbirds, that is taking human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization and turning them into “keepsake” jewelry for their parents.

The company advertises specialty-made jewelry to preserve family memories – such as a ring preserving a child’s first lost tooth or a necklace using material from a baby’s umbilical cord stump. It also makes jewelry with loved ones’ ashes.

It is understandable for parents grieving a miscarried or stillborn baby to want some sort of memento to remember their child. Sometimes, families preserve their baby’s footprints in plaster or make a recording of the baby’s heartbeat to play back. And when a loved one of any age is cremated, some families preserve their ashes in unique ways.

Much of the jewelry that this Australian company offers is in keeping with this.

But its “embryo jewelry” is a totally different situation.

Unlike with a miscarriage or stillbirth, these babies did not die naturally. To be made into jewelry, their lives have to be destroyed.

Company founder Amy McGlade seemed to unintentionally acknowledge this in her interview with Kid Spot. She said the embryos they work with have their own DNA. At another point, she even referred to them as “children” – which is what they are.

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But she did not mention the ethical problem of destroying these children’s lives to create the jewelry.

McGlade said her company has created about 50 pieces of jewelry using human embryos so far. She said the jewelry is created using “embryo ash,” a material they make by preserving and then cremating the embryos after they are sent to them in “embryo straws.”

“We are experts in preserving DNA so that it can be set in a jeweller’s grade resin,” McGlade said.

She said couples who have embryos left over from IVF only have so many options, and her company gives them another one.

McGlade told the parenting blog:

“The families we craft for are very educated, loving people who are aware of the options.

“We are giving them another option.

“It’s special because the embryos often signifying the end of a journey, and we are providing a beautiful and meaningful way to gently close the door.

“Reactions from families who understand the journey are amazing and heartfelt. “They are so grateful for our service.

“What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewellery?

“It’s about the everlasting tangible keepsake of a loved one that you can have forever.”

Destroying a child’s life and then creating jewelry from his or her ashes is not treasuring their life. The best way to celebrate and treasure these children’s lives is to give them a chance at life – not destroy them.

Most of the options involving “left over” human embryos from IVF are destructive. Couples can have them destroyed or donate them to research, where they also are destroyed. They also can pay to have them frozen indefinitely.

One life-affirming option that is gaining awareness is embryo adoption, which allows other couples to adopt the babies as embryos and have them implanted in an adoptive mom’s womb. This gives these tiny, already human embryos the chance at life that they deserve.