Life in a Test Tube

Assisted Reproductive Technologies, ART, has ushered modern society into a ‘brave new world’ resulting in an array of ethical situations never thought possible. (ART is any procedure that involves manipulation of eggs and/or sperm to establish pregnancy in the treatment of infertility.)

Beginning with In-Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, in the late 1970’s, ART now includes a variety of related techniques.  (IVF is a laboratory process in which a human egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body.  IVF is the primary treatment for infertility when other methods of ART have failed.) IVF remains the most common technique and has become a booming, multi-billion dollar industry.

There are potentially hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos, preborn children, in the U.S. alone.  To store these embryos costs several hundred dollars per year or more per embryo.

A recent article by Dr. Russell Moore, What Should We Do with Our Frozen Embryos?, challenged the traditional thinking among the IVF Industry.  Moore, President-elect of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is a cultural commentator, and editor/author.

Moore responded to an IVF parent who struggled with his responsibility towards the unused, frozen embryos (his preborn children), left from the procedure.  Moore raised some strong points on the intrinsic dignity of all life – no matter how it was created.

“Someone is either a human person...or not. You have an obligation to them.”  The game plan, he said, would not be easy. “But these are not things; these are persons, worthy of love and respect and sacrifice.”

Moore acknowledged that while reproductive technology is ethically complex, the issues are very clear.   “In a Christian vision of reality there is no such thing as an ‘almost person,’ which is what we think with the abstraction of ‘fertilized embryos,’” he said.

IVF technology has raised other techniques of grave concern – cloning and genetic manipulation of embryos among others - which further exploit early human life.

 “While some of this science suits the adults involved, what about the best interests of the children involved?” says Jennifer Lahl, founder and President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Indeed.  The quest to protect human life grows more complex every day.

Georgia Right to Life aims to help shape public policy in such a way that it protects the sanctity and the dignity of life.  Won’t you join us?


Suzanne L. Ward
Public Relations/Education
Georgia Right to Life