The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Adoption a Better Use for Embryos

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

A Virginia couple recently overcame their struggle with infertility by adopting two sons: one was a toddler from Russia while the other was a frozen embryo left over from another couple’s in-vitro fertilization.

Suzanne Stanmeyer of Potomac Falls delivered the couple’s son after embryos donated by the child’s genetic parents were implanted in her womb. The donors had been blessed by achieving pregnancy without the need for the frozen life in development and agreed to donate embryos to help the Stanmeyers build a family. It’s wonderful that God’s creation was allowed to grow into a child rather than expire at the hands of researchers.

“Human embryonic stem-cell research requires the killing of an embryo to harvest stem cells. The temptation to destroy embryos for this speculative research is great,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “As Christians, we should seize the moment and capitalize on these advances, rather than destroy human life. Since an embryo is God’s gift of life, adoption seems a much more fitting result than research.”

The Stanmeyers are proponents of embryo adoption, which they advocate as a way both to make some infertile couples parents and to save the lives of frozen embryos that otherwise would be destroyed. The trend is growing as more infertile couples learn about it.

The National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tenn., estimates that about 200 embryos have been adopted nationally. Most of the adoptions occurred in the past three years. The increase in embryo adoption is a promising trend.

The National Embryo Donation Center has performed 71 embryo transfers resulting in 42 pregnancies since opening in 2003. Another facility, Snowflakes Embryonic Donation Program in Fullerton, Calif., reported 121 births since starting in 1997 and has 18 clients awaiting childbirth. A center in Cincinnati known as Embryos Alive, reported this month that it has had seven pregnancies in the past three years through embryo adoption.

A 2003 poll of more than 400 fertility clinics nationwide found that about 400,000 embryos were frozen in storage. That number has definitely increased over the past three years.

President Bush focused attention on embryo adoption in 2002 as an alternative to human embryonic-stem-cell research. To help foster a culture of life, the federal government provides grants of about $1 million yearly to raise awareness of this alternative. The number of adoptions is small but growing, which is an indication that more embryos will experience life than death.


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