Friday, July 29, 2005

In Vitro Fertilization

In discussing research and experimentation on human embryos, John Podhoretz makes this point:
[T]he only people who have the only pure argument in this realm are those who oppose in vitro fertilization to begin with, on the grounds that it creates these embryos. And that argument, you will have to concede, is so far from being viable as a political discussion point that it cannot even be mentioned.
I'll mention it, then. In vitro fertilization should be heavily regulated such that excess human beings are not created that would either be (1) frozen, or (2) destroyed. The basic principle on which this rests: People shouldn't create and sell human life that is meant for destruction. If such a regulation would somehow interfere with anyone's potential for reproduction -- well, there are plenty of needy children in the world that deserve a chance to be adopted.

Why would that position be unmentionable?


Blogger Raymond Woodbury said...

This is a great, simple idea. Is it feasible? Currently I understand the process as feritlizing x eggs now, implanting y and freezing the rest of the xzygotes; if implantation fails, another y are unfrozen and implanted, and so on. (It's not like you can refrigerate 'em while waiting to see if an implantation takes, so I assume they are frozen.) What would be the difference - in labor, patient costs, etc. - if you only fertilized the quantity y you were about to implant while freezing the remaining sperm and eggs? I would think it could not add much, as technicians would have to fertilize fewer eggs overall and as freezing eggs and sperm separately cannot be more complex than freezing zygotes. (For goodness sake, keep them in the same overall container to avoid mix-ups.)

11:57 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

I wouldn't count on that, "So what if it interfers with somebody's chances of having a child, there's always adoption." line of reasoning to convert many people.

The basic problem here is simply that according rights to fertilized eggs is quite as irrational as the opposing insanity of refusing to accord rights to viable infants, just because they happen to be in a womb at the moment.

Sure, those eggs could grow into people. And acorns could grow into oak trees, but we don't pretend they ARE oak trees.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is getting y embryos.
Keep in mind you are talking about couples who are having problems conceiving for some reason, so the success rate is not usually very high. I have heard that only 30% of attempts have extra embryos left over. That is from a field of maybe 8-10 zygotes on average looking to implant 2-3 embryos.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Nothing I said depends on "according rights" to fertilized eggs. By example, if I oppose cannabilism or the destruction of a Rembrandt painting, it is not because I am "according rights to dead bodies" or to "inanimate paintings."

11:49 AM  

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