Moral Dilemma of Artificial Insemination: What to do with "Leftover" Embryos?

Frozen human eggs at a fertility center. Photo: Mark Boster / LA Times

After successfully conceiving a daughter through in vitro fertilization, Gina Rathan and her husband Cheddi was faced with a moral dilemma they didn't expect to encounter: what to do with the "leftover" preserved frozen embryos they created, but hadn't used?

"I don't see them as not being life yet," says Gina Rathan, 42, a pharmaceutical sales representative. "I thought, 'How can I discard them when I have a beautiful child from that IVF cycle?' "

Many other former infertility patients also appear to be grappling over the fate of embryos they have no plans to use: An estimated 500,000 embryos are in cryopreservation in the United States.

As with the Rathans, this unexpected conundrum often arises well after the infertility crisis has passed, triggering impassioned and highly personal debates about the science and ethics of human life. The discussion boils down to a fundamental question: What is this icy clump of cells smaller than a grain of sand?


Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I had a very religious friend who did this, and for her, it wasn't wrong to destroy the rest of the embryos, because they had only 2 cells each. I suppose anybody faced with probably get over it...or keep them frozen forever?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I had another idea.

They could be sold to homosexual couples - married ones, of course - none of that evil "living in sin" lifestyle for these babies.

Which would be better in your opinion, AnUnSi, to terminate the babies, or to have them raised by homosexuals?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
lol @ AnUnSi. You never fail to entertain. You must have said something the automated screener thought was offensive.

Your one statement defies your other statements.

6. Each human embryo has the right to be born to a married mother and father who have brought the embryo into existence only through normal intercourse.

These embryos have not been brought into existence through normal intercourse. According to your logic, they are demon seed, and ought to be destroyed.

What is "married", anyways, AnUnSi? Are Hindus and Moslems married? Are Protestants married? Are people who are married in a civil ceremony truly "married"?

I think my idea was pretty good, but you didn't comment on it - why not send these babies to Mars?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hey AnUnSi, so which would you save from a burning building -- if you were only able to save one:

1) A tray of 100 fertilized embryos.
2) Two 5th graders.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Moral Dilemma of Artificial Insemination: What to do with "Leftover" Embryos?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More