Research for a New Jersey company that paid Mexican women to become pregnant and, in some cases, abort their unborn babies is being condemned as unethical across the U.S.
Earlier this week, NPR reported about the disturbing experiments conducted by reproductive geneticist Santiago Munne for CooperGenomics in Livingston, New Jersey.
Munne’s research involved 81 women and more than 100 unborn babies at Punta Mita Hospital near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, according to Breitbart. Women were paid about $1,400 to participate, researchers said.
The researchers aimed to find out if they could collect living human embryos by “uterine lavage,” basically flushing them out, to test genetically and compare to embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization, the report states.
As Breitbart reports: “… Munne and his team injected the women with powerful hormones to stimulate their ovaries to produce eggs and then inseminated them with donor sperm. After four to six days, the team flushed out any resulting embryos from the uterus via a procedure known as ‘lavage’”
Some of the embryos – already unique, living human beings – were implanted into other women’s uteruses and were born, according to the reports.
Others were less fortunate. In some cases, the lavage did not work and the unborn babies remained in their mothers’ wombs; those babies were aborted, the report states.
Munne said both the Ministry of Health of the State of Nayarit in Mexico and the Western Institutional Review Board in the United States approved his experiment.
“We passed all the ethical committees and all the ethical checks and balances,” he said.
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Other scientists, however, slammed the experiment as “disturbing” and “unethical.” Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago, said Munne basically used women’s bodies as petri dishes.
“And there’s something about that that seems so profoundly disturbing,” she said. “I think this research was unethical.”
She also noted that the researchers paid women a large amount of money, approximately what they would earn in two-months salary.
Writing at National Review, bioethics attorney Wesley Smith also condemned the experiment for exploiting both women and babies.
“First, it created human life for the purpose of experimenting upon it,” Smith said. “Second, it paid women to have abortions (when all the embryos were not flushed). Third, it treated women as objects …. Fourth, hyperstimulation can have serious side effects, even leading to occasional death. Add in the likelihood that the women were very poor, and you have a real exploitive circumstance.”