IVF, Babies and Frozen Peas

So what do babies and peas have in common? Well, both can be frozen and later thawed. While it is convenient for us to eat vegetables in this fashion, babies are not vegetables. Yet unborn babies are treated in similar fashion in the world of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

In baby-making processes like in vitro fertilisation (IVF), a number of embryos are created, some are inserted into the mother, and the spare embryos are then either destroyed (simply flushed down the sink, eg.) or saved for possible future use by means of a deep freeze (cryopreservation).

There are two main freezing methods used in IVF clinics: slow freezing and vitrification (rapid freezing). Since the formation of ice crystals can damage frozen embryos and other frozen products (eg., gametes), the second process is believed to help in reducing risks in the thawing process.

Here in Victoria a law was passed in 1995 – the Infertility Treatment Act – which stipulates that all embryos must be destroyed after five years unless the couple requests an extension. The Act also established the Infertility Treatment Authority (ITA).

A major reason why there are so many surplus embryos in deep freeze is due to the process known as superovulation. In order to achieve higher pregnancy rates, IVF clinics will create extra eggs – basically more bang for their buck. This may result in a dozen embryos created. Not all of them of course are implanted, so the rest might be frozen.

The number of such frozen embryos would be hard to calculate worldwide. There may be 100,000 or more surplus embryos in Australia, and perhaps millions worldwide. I raise all this because some obvious mega-ethical questions arise about these matters.

Should we even be going down this path? Is this not really about the commodification and manufacture of children? And most importantly, what about all the frozen embryos and their fate? We know that at fertilisation (even via artificial means) a new, distinct and unique human being comes into existence.

If not hindered, this embryo would go on to implantation, birth, infancy, childhood, adulthood and eventual death. The so-called destruction of surplus embryos is a euphemism for the killing of unborn babies. So anyone considering IVF must be aware of this major moral issue: the intentional creation and then potential destruction of new life.

I also raise this because countless couples have to wrestle with all this in a very practical manner. What do they do with the surplus embryos? Usually there are only several options:
-destroy them;
-adopt them out to other infertile couples;
-allow them to be experimented on by science (which means having them killed in the process).

vergara 3Plenty of couples have to make decisions about this, and now one very famous celebrity couple is in the news about this – or at least in all the gossip columns. I refer to Sofía Vergara and her one-time fiancé, Nick Loeb. One write-up about their situation begins this way:

Sofía Vergara’s former fiancé, Nick Loeb, has filed a lawsuit in California to prevent her from destroying two cryopreserved female embryos created through in vitro fertilization, ‘In Touch Weekly’ is reporting exclusively. Court documents obtained exclusively by ‘In Touch’ reveal that just six months before their split, in November 2013, Nick and Sofía had embryos created as a result of his sperm and her eggs being fertilized.
Nick, who filed the suit under the pseudonym John Doe, “seeks to ensure that the Female Embryos are not destroyed, but Jane Doe [Sofía] refuses to agree to their preservation under all circumstances,” the document obtained by ‘In Touch’ states. (The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2014; it was amended with new information and refiled on April 1 after Nick sought new representation.)

This would not be a unique situation, but it certainly is a very public one, and it highlights some of the many ethical minefields that ART can create. Ethicists have already spoken out on this case. For example, Mary Riley of the Life Legal Defense Foundation said this:

It’s a tragedy that an industry that traffics in human beings has turned a domestic conflict between two celebrities into a matter of life and death. But even more tragic is that a mother would insist on the death of her offspring. No one has the right to a dead child.
Mr. Loeb is doing the right thing in trying to save his little girls. It’s sad what the abortion mentality has done to our society. Abortion advocates commonly say that a woman has a right over her own body. But these two surviving embryos – little girls, really, at a very early stage of development – are not parts of Ms. Vergara’s body. They aren’t even in Ms. Vergara’s body. Mr. Loeb isn’t suing over Ms. Vergara’s body. He’s suing to save the lives of his daughters. And those opposing him are insisting instead that his offspring be killed.

Yes exactly right. In a forthcoming book on IVF and ART I look at all these topics in much greater detail. Let me conclude with a few paragraphs from this book:

It is simply mind-boggling to realise that some women will go through the ordeal of IVF only to turn around and destroy the newly created life. This is the height of both selfishness and the commodification of life. Babies are not mere consumer goods that can be ordered at whim, and disposed of at whim. They are members of the human race that deserve protection and respect. They are not just another commodity to be disposed of when we grow tired of them.
And women who kill their own IVF babies certainly cannot complain about unwanted pregnancies. As Professor Bill Ledger of the HFEA pointed out, “These women can’t be surprised to be pregnant; you can’t have an IVF pregnancy by accident”.
As another report mentions, “Ann Furedi, head of BPAS, formerly the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, believes every abortion doctor sees at least one patient a year requesting a termination after IVF treatment. ‘For infertile people, overcoming the problem becomes a goal in itself,’ she said. ‘Sometimes it is only when women get pregnant that they can allow themselves to ask the question about whether it is really what they want’.”
Sorry, but the time to decide whether you want a child or not is before you begin IVF services, not after it has been successfully carried out. This is simply madness compounded in an age of making life, faking life, and taking life. As Al Mohler writes, “One might think that the most welcome place in the world for an unborn child would be the womb of a mother who would be so intent on getting pregnant that she would seek and undergo IVF fertility treatment. It turns out that in a significant number of cases, that assumption is proved wrong. How do we take the measure of that tragedy?”

Thankfully Nick Loeb is making the right choice here, while Vergara certainly is not. Let us hope and pray that the court comes down on the side of common sense, morality, and life.


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9 Replies to “IVF, Babies and Frozen Peas”

  1. “The concentration can” is a book just recently recommended to me on that subject. Haven’t been able to read it yet as it is not on kindle, but sounds informative.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  2. A very thought provoking post, Bill. The world of science and genetics are so full of thorny issues and people playing God whether with IVF embryos or human/animal hybrids or clones. And who is going to be the watchmen on the wall if not the people of God whose function is to be salt and light. We need to not be careless but fully understanding what the will of the Lord is.

  3. Peas are OK.
    Being created in God’s image we are able to function and use God’s laws of the Natural World to enhance our lives – abundant blessings!
    No other living creature has been given these divine attributes.
    To use knowledge of science to corrupt the natural laws is not new.:
    From three score years and ten we may recall another society that used science to meddle in human biology and treat human life as its resource.. These were educated and professional people. .
    FACTS OF 2015 : Human embryonic cells are marketed for big bucks.. Since 2004 The U.S.. bio – research company Bioarray specializes in the marketing of human embryonic stem cells. These cells come from frozen embryos that are the left-overs of IVF. The most common and easily adaptive biotechnology research cell used is HEK 293 which has its ancestry “stemming” from an abortion in The Netherlands in 1973. Presently,, this stem cell is used in food technology development,. amongst other research areas, including medical.. God gave us peas and Gregor Mendel helped us understand them and we feed the multitude. God,,please help us in our present World as mankind interferes with innocent human life. . . . . ,.. .

  4. Frozen embryos and IVF technology are but one step away from state-run or commercial human incubator labs, where not only conception occurs ex-utero, but also ex-utero gestation of genetically-engineered human progeny occurs to meet the quasi-eugenic policies of governments and business entities of the day: Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World is a story built on just such a dystopian scenario, where pharmaceutical modulation of human sexual activities and the use by the state of a recreational designer drug, soma are used as tools for control of the populations of all except the “savage” parts of the world. Huxley’s novel ends with a suicide, the death of the only really altruistic character in the story…

  5. When we create a person who, in the natural, wasn’t meant to exist we change the future don’t we?

  6. Bill, in your previous article [1], you mention Ann Furedi who heads up the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which receives millions and millions of pounds from the tax payers for murdering over 200 000 babies each and every year in the UK [2]

    Furedi said,
    ‘Sometimes it is only when women get pregnant that they can allow themselves to ask the question about whether it is really what they want’.” In other words they have no choice regarding getting pregnant, only a choice in getting rid of products of pregnancy excess to requirements which they apparently never asked for in the first place. Poor dears, only catching Ebola can be worse than falling pregnant.

    Furedi says that it is the sole responsibility of the woman who has the abortion, as she is the one who will have to live with the choice she has made. But in murder cases the murderer is not the only one who has to live with consequences of his murder. The rest of society has to live with it as well. Plus he is answerable not to himself, but to his or her victim, society, the law and above all to God. Furedi lives in a universe in which each she is her own God.

    If Ann Furedi believes that a baby in the womb is not human : merely tissue, products of pregnancy excess to requirements, why is she getting upset with having the public view pictures and film of abortion. She does not object when a TV documentary shows livers and appendix, being cut out . Why then should she object to seeing baby parts thrown in the trash ? It is because she knows that we know that she knows that what she is doing is wicked.
    Chilling however is the way, in open and public debate, even though she concedes,, that what she is doing is evil, she gloats by saying, no matter, the law is on her side [3] . Perhaps evolution is true after all; there is something pterodactylian about Furedi. Her large mouth, full of teeth and her head swinging about on a long neck, reminds me of tyrannosaurus .
    In the UK the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, happens also to be a trustee of BPAS, the largest abortion service in Britain. She wants to allow abortion up to full term. Only a fiend in hell would have given her that post [4].

    Next year in Britain they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the abortion act which has resulted in 8 million babies being slaughtered in the womb since 1967. One wonders how they will celebrate that. Perhaps I ought to suggest to the Secretary of State for culture, media and sport that a prize be offered for someone to design an installation to be placed in Trafalgar Square.
    The painting by Goya of Satan eating his own children, 1819-23 was prophetic of our own day and age [5]

    Deuteronomy 28 :56,27 sum it up:
    “The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.
    [1] https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/17/ivf-babies-and-frozen-peas/
    [2] http://protectthepope.com/?p=4212
    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKRzObY-SSc
    [4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3590774/Horror-plan-legalise-terminations-birth-midwives-chief-calls-end-time-limit-abortions.html.
    [5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lawz8TcPig

    David Skinner UK

  7. The triple horrors, of homosexuality, abortion and IVF were revealed recently with with a headline that read “Surrogate fathers tore my life apart: Used abused and called trailer trash…how UK poster boys for gay fatherhood turned on woman hired for her womb.”[1]
    The article was highlighting Barry Drewitt and Tony Barlow who run an organisation called the British Surrogacy Centre. They have been making quite a name for themselves in the mass media, starting with this in 2006: “Anger as gay fathers post pictures of their children on dating site.” [2]
    Apart from heterosexuals , they assist other rich homosexuals to get children through IVF and surrogacy. One has to ask, when more and more Christians are being deemed by social services to be unfit to be parents because of their religious views, what especially qualifies Barry and Tony for being parent material, apart from their money [3] ?
    The two were interviewed by Harjit Sarang , where it was revealed that Drewitt and
    Barlow are helping single homosexuals, to become a father. [4]. Meet Bobby
    Norris who is at the very cutting edge of pioneering new directions in parenthood [5]
    Barry Drewitt recently discovered that he had 21 year old son after a night with a drunken neighbour.

    [1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2895772/Surrogate-fathers-tore-life-apart-Used-abused-called-trailer-trash-UK-poster-boys-gay-fatherhood-turned-woman-hired-womb.html
    [2] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/anger-as-gay-fathers-post-pictures-of-their-children-on-dating-site-7207094.html
    [3] Meet The Parent Makers
    [4] Harjit Sarang meets Tony & Barrie Drewitt-Barlow Britain’s First Gay Dads
    [5] Bobby Norris
    i) http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/the-only-way-is-essex/towie-star-bobby-norris-become-daddy-now-hes-found-egg-donor/
    ii) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXpahYkD77A
    Gay surrogate father finds he has a 21 year old son.

    David Skinner UK

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