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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

We Live in Strange Times: Trying to Create Eggs and Sperm With Embryonic Stem Cells



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I have never fully gotten my mind around all of the issues involving reproduction. Women have a near absolute right to abortion--absolute in some places--while at the same time, to ensure that people who want babies can have them, we almost literally move mountains. For example: Using IVF, surrogate mothers, purchasing of embryos from poor countries (the latter two being resources exploited by the rich in biological colonialism), paying eugenically correct young women thousands of dollars to endanger their health as egg "donors," manipulated embryo creation to produce children with three biological parents, and in the future, some want reproductive cloning to allow lesbian couples to have children without using any male contributions.

This is all in furtherance of the ongoing coup d' culture that will supplant Judeo-Christian-humanistic equality/sanctity of human life values with "hedonism"--which I define broadly as a near absolute right to fulfill any desire or impulse--as one of the three reigning values of society (the other two, as I see them in my early thinking on this, being utilitarianism--about which I am sure--and radical environmentalism, about which I am 80% convinced.)

Case in point: Scientists are hot on the trail of creating sperm and eggs from embryonic stem cells, for the creation of embryos for study of genetic diseases. Beyond this, the field is now being elevated to the sacrosanct status of a "woman's health issue." From an interview in the New York Times with Stanford researcher Renee A. Reijo:

Q. IN SPEECHES, YOU SAY THAT STEM CELL RESEARCH SHOULD BE THOUGHT OF AS A WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUE. WHY?

A. Because in my lab, we're using stem cell research to look for ways to make fertility treatments safer and more rational. Considering all the heartbreak and expense of infertility treatments, this sort of research is something I believe women have a big stake in defending. Right now, we don't fully know what a healthy embryo in a Petri dish looks like.

Because of this, I.V.F. clinics often insert multiple embryos into women to try to increase the odds of a successful implantation. Patients frequently have multiple births or devastating miscarriages. Half the time, the embryos don't make it. If we could figure out what a healthy embryo looked like and what the best media was to grow it in, we'd cut down on that.

But this niche market for particularized reproductive biotech is very small. The real agenda, I believe, is solving the egg issue with regard to human cloning. If that could be done, if tens of millions of eggs could be made from embryonic stem cells, then human cloning could be perfected on its way to therapeutic cloning, fetal farming, learning how to genetically enhance, and reproductive cloning.

Meanwhile, children go unadopted and millions of babies who might have been adopted are never allowed to be born.

Like I said, we live in strange times.


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