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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Made to Order Embryo Commodities Market



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Remember when they said “only” excess embryos would be used in research? It was always bunk, and now an article in the New England Journal of Medicine has called for allowing embryos to be made to order and sold like a corn crop.

What would justify this form of nascent human trafficking? From, ”Made to Order Embryos for Sale–A Brave New World?”, by I. Glenn Cohen, J.D., and Eli Y. Adashi, M.D:

It is not clear how the sale of made-to-order embryos differs from the sale of oocytes for the manufacture of embryos by somatic-cell nuclear transfer for stem-cell derivation, as is presently sanctioned by New York State. Indeed, one might think that this practice–creating embryos for the purpose of destroying them to derive stem cells–is more ethically challenging than the notion of creating embryos for the purpose of alleviating infertility.

Well, for one thing, an embryo is an organism, a nascent human being. A gamete (sperm or egg) is just a cell.  

And note how the game is played: NY unethically permits egg buying for use in biotechnology–and that wrong then becomes the justification for the further objectification of human life and the manufacture and selling of embryos. Talk about rank bootstrapping! 

The proper answer is to repeal the NY law, not create an embryo commodities market. Such sophistry has always been the anything goes in biotech crowd’s primary tool. 

Here’s the the conclusion:

It is readily apparent why the prospect of made-to-order embryos for sale may give rise to apprehension. However, viewed through a legal and ethical lens, the concerns raised by this potentiality appear to be similar to those associated with widely accepted and more common reproductive technologies, such as the sale of gametes. What is new and unique here is the lack of clear legal guidance as to the parentage of the embryos in question. Joint efforts by state legislatures and professional organizations will be required to forge appropriate legislation if made-to-order embryos for sale are to become a practicable reality.

Make no mistake: This means human cloning is coming closer, as selling embryos for use in IVF is just the front for selling cloned embryos for use in research. I’ll be getting into a more detailed analysis of all this when time allows.



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