With one piece of bad news rapidly following another on the technological reproduction front—the latest being that aging rock star David Crosby donated his seed for lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge's children—one desperately hopes for any sign of good news. It is not so surprising, then, that embryo adoption has initially been greeted with open arms.

Most embryos created by in vitro fertilization (IVF)—fertilizing a woman's eggs in the laboratory with her partner's sperm—are not introduced into a mother's body. Thus most embryos (human beings at the first stage of life) are destined for destruction. In light of this, embryo adoption (implanting an embryo created by another couple into an adoptive mother's womb) seems to be a compassionate act.

I am convinced, however, that the appearance of moral goodness in this case is deceptive. Christians should have significant misgivings about embryo adoption.

To express misgivings about embryo adoption is not to call it morally wrong. Those who participate in embryo adoption, at least with Christian Adoption and Family Services (CAFS) of Brea, California, agree not to dispose of any embryos transferred to them and to carry to term all the embryos that attach following implantation. They intend no harm to the embryos; rather, they offer safe haven and a rescue of abandoned embryos from an "absurd fate."

In the practice of CAFS, adoptive parents are married couples, selected or approved by the genetic parents of the embryos to receive and carry their offspring and, God willing, to give birth to and raise their children.

I still have reservations, though, and this is the most important: the practice of embryo adoption will make irresponsible in vitro activity more likely.

I do not find IVF ...

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Christianity Today
Matters of Opinion: A Deceptive Good
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September 4, 2000

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