Wanted: Someone to Play God

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on February 25, 2008

Nancy Gibbs over at Time Magazine has a good piece out on IVF. She says a lot of the things I’ve been saying and writing about for years. Like:

Gibbs – “It’s a good thing that most doctors are principled professionals, since there is nothing to stop them from implanting 10 embryos in a woman hoping to give birth to a softball team.”

– ” Mark Evans, the physician known for his technique for selective reduction (where he injects potassium chloride into the beating hearts of the fetuses targeted to be killed), recalls an ultrasound of one mother with twelve fetuses! He adds that this mother’s physician only told her about six of the babies.”

Gibbs – Princeton’s Robert George and University of South Carolina’s Christopher Tollefsen’s recommendation is “Don’t create more embryos than you will implant. No freezing, no choosing, no storing for future use and no experimenting on them.”

Lahl – I’ve written on the great policies in Germany and the movement toward eSET (elective single embryo transfer) and the violation of the dignity of life when we choose to make designer babies.

Gibbs – “And what of the half a million leftover embryos, which now nestle in nitrogen? Are they people–or property?”

Lahl – The Chinatown syndrome and the fate of the human frozen embryo.

Where I depart from Gibbs in on her liberal and conservative assessment. Gibbs states that, “Liberals worry about egg selling and womb rental, about poor women being exploited to help rich women have children–but they don’t want to push too hard, because reproductive freedom is a hallowed right. Conservatives struggle to explain why they oppose using leftover frozen embryos for stem-cell research but don’t oppose their creation in the first place.”

Those lines are not so distinct for sure and people on both sides worry about the exploitation of poor women by rich women and see the problems with reproductive freedom which certainly have not left us free by any means. I get weary of the media always painting left and right divides that aren’t really there. To be sure, left and right do have areas of disagreement, but not so many as the media would have us to think!

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