I’m still kind of scratching my head over this one. It’s preaching to the converted and is not particularly illuminating.

Surely they could have come up with something better. (Via the bioethics web log.)


  1. #1 Macht
    September 17, 2006

    Plus its just flat out false that 350,000 embryos are thrown out every year.

  2. #2 Tyler DiPietro
    September 17, 2006

    Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

    Gotta say, everytime I see some anti-ESCR, anti-abortion or even anti-masturbation propaganda, that Monty Python classic just starts playing in my head. God thing I have it on my Zen. 🙂

  3. #3 Julia
    September 17, 2006

    “Plus its just flat out false that 350,000 embryos are thrown out every year.”

    What’s the correct number?

  4. #4 Macht
    September 17, 2006

    What’s the correct number?

    The estimates I’ve seen for the total number of embryos that are frozen right now are in the 300,000 to 400,000 range. Only a small percentage (I’ve heard less than 5% but I’m don’t have any stats) of these are thrown out. The rest are stored for further fertility treatments. I imagine the creators of the video saw the number 350,000 somewhere and assumed it was how many embryos are destroyed each year rather than how many embryos are in surplus right now.

  5. #5 James
    September 18, 2006

    Politics is always about preaching to the converted. We may all wish it were not so but genuine political debate is vanishingly rare.

  6. #6 rrt
    September 18, 2006

    Especially with the emotional music, I think the ad could be misread as “Look how terrible it is that they’re just throwing these babies away in the trash!” In other words, as an anti-abortion/stem cell/whatever ad.

  7. #7 Alison
    September 18, 2006

    My contention with the folks who don’t want to destroy the embryos for research is that they believe there’s a soul in each one of them, and it’s a thinking, feeling human being. So I wonder how they feel about confining a thinking, feeling, human soul to a prison of a few frozen cells, condemned for 30 or so years until its death by inviability. When they contend that it’s against god’s will to destroy the embryos or use them for research, they seem to forget that it was against god’s will that they be created in the first place, so why not go for the gold?

  8. #8 Calli Arcale
    September 18, 2006

    Bear in mind, a lot of these people do indeed object to the creation of these embryos, on precisely the premise you describe. A great many will die (either because many of those implanted fail to “take” or because they outlive their shelf life) and of course one has to wonder a little bit about the ethics of creating these children. After all, the parents couldn’t conceive. If this is due to a genetic condition, they may be passing on this counter-survival trait.

    Note: I do not oppose IVF; in fact, I have a wonderful, beautiful cousin who would not exist without it. 😉 But I do understand the arguments against it, and I have to admit they’re not totally loony. In fact, most anti-IVF folks are actually internally consistent and pretty rational in their beliefs. I don’t agree with them, but if it’s unethical to discard embryos, I have to agree that one would logically have to conclude that IVF is unethical.

  9. #9 Lucas McCarty
    September 21, 2006

    The footage could also be used for a pro-life message; if embryos for IVF are thrown away, it can be seen as just more killing of the unborn.

    It’s been about five years since I last called myself pro-choice now and I still don’t know where I stand: the premises of disability rights and abortion/IVF rights are at odds with each other, I can’t support both because they both deal with the assumptions made about the worth of individual people as humans.

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