Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stem Cell Hypocrisy Part II

Jon Stewart had it right when he poked fun at Bush administration's portrayal of the stem-cell debate as saintly pro-lifers versus the no-regard-for-life hippies quaffing their "baby-smoothies."

A new study by the RAND Corporation found that fertility clinics in the United States have nearly 400,000 frozen human embryos in storage—twice the highest previous estimate. And where do these "surplus" embryos go? From the San Francisco Chronicle:
...they are flushed down the drain in a metal sink. At another [fertility clinic], a technician drops them into a medical waste bin, to be picked up and incinerated by hospital staff.

Christianity Today cited (through the RAND study) that an estimated "9,000 of those frozen embryos will be thawed and destroyed." And don't tell me there's not a single Christian/Conservative/Pro-life/Republican-created embryo in that 9,000 that are going to be trashed. I think, au contraire, there's many many Republican embryos in there...But hey, what's a little embryo death when in pursuit of embryo is just a bunch of cells, oh, wait, oops! That's what we're saying the OTHER side thinks.

Why oh why does no one see the idiocy of the so-called Snowflake Children (because no two are alike, and they are all white, my hero Jon Stewart quips) Bush photo op representing not pro-life values but instead the 9,000-"person" (as the "pro-life" side defines it) massacre of the wee embryos basically flushed down the toilet?

FertilityBitch says, if you're going to do the flush-flush thing, at least, RECYCLE and REUSE and help someone with Alzheimer's or spinal cord injury or diabetes. (And don't forget to look at Stem Cell Hypocrisy Part I for her rant on why no one complains that the big pharma is in the market for ABORTED FETAL TISSUE as a raw material for producing vaccines, and Bush, the Vatican, etc. doesn't seem to mind THAT--a process that is infinitely more disturbing.


Kim said...

60 Minutes did a piece on this a few months ago - interviewing a woman who is the head of the AFA (American Fertility Association.) She had undergone ART and was wishing that her embryos that had been cryo-preserved could be used for medical purposes, should she decide to not have any more children. This option does not exist for the individuals who undergo fertility therapy.

The strange qualifications placed on the value of life perplex me. It is totally fine to be bombing, sending young Americans to war, and killing people on death row - but for a man or woman to "discard" an embryo - that perhaps would never have survived in the uterus - is murder. The claim of innocence and purity is what makes these lives worth saving when compared to the "criminals," "terrorists," and "godless," I suppose. I have always wondered why a life is inherently valuable when it begins and when it ends, but in between - naahhh.

Green Fertility Marie said...

Wow, that's funny that basically the only option for most IVFers, then, is "down the drain." I mean, you can donate your BODY to science, why not otherwise-soon-to-be-dead embryos?

And yes, I heard were sending more missiles to Israel (insane!) that will only kill more people. I guess Bush prefers the embryonic stage of life. Maybe he was really into Sea Monkeys or something when he was young (flush!)

bauhaus_sea said...

i think it's a little more nuanced than that. I have gone through 2 IVFs with 2 fresh cycles (that's what they are called) and 2 frozen cycles. I think it would be interesting to know more about the couples who have "extra" embryos, because in the 5 years I have been seeking fertility treatments and going to support groups I have yet to meet a couple who is in the enviable quandary of "we have more embryos than we want". I would love, love to have this problem.

Green Fertility Marie said...

Wow, thanks for adding that, Bauhaus--I only know what I read in the RAND study. It could also be some portion of the 9000 are not viable, but there must be extras, because that's were the snowflake children came from, etc.


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Anonymous said...

The ONLY issue is if the embryos are Human. If they are not human, have them for lunch, no one will care. But if they are human then that's like saying: Well Hitler is going to kill all those Jews anyway. May as well do some experimentation, use some kidneys and lungs for others, test out some poisons. Try some science experiments. That's the true analogy. So the question is: is it human? Nothing else. I would say whoever wants to do the killing and experiementation or the throwing out of embryos has the burden of proof on them to prove they are not human.

The point is that it's wrong to throw out the embryos despite the fact that it is happening. You can't make moral judgements based on what peopel are doing. Morality is trancendant and independant of culture. Otherwise you could argue that killing Jews was moral since it was legal in Germany and their society said it was OK (it was culturally acceptable). Same for Slavery before the 1800s. Until the Xians complained no one was saying slavery was wrong. To say that morality is not trancendant would be to argue that slavery was moral until the 1800. It was ok to treat my people as animals and cattle back then.

Also storage is not a problem. You can store 1000's of embryos in a single canister the size of a 100 gallon milk can and with the price of liquid nitrogen being so cheap, you can keep them frozen for a few dollars an embryo a year. So no one needs to throw these out.

If you are a doom sayer you could argue that perhaps we'll need some 50,000 embroyos to reseed the US after Al Quada releases a few nukes in strategic places and a large portion of the population dies or get infertile.

Mr. Too Lazy to Register