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Ron Stoddart, director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a nonprofit that facilitates Christian adoption, David Cook, a Wheaton College bioethics expert, and Ellen Painter Dollar, the author of a forthcoming book about Christian perspectives on reproductive and genetic technology, weigh in on what should be done with frozen embryos left over at fertility clinics.

Adopt Frozen Embryos

For those who believe that life begins at conception, only one choice remains.

Ron Stoddart

When couples choose in-vitro fertilization to create embryos to help build their families, the unused embryos are frozen for future attempts at pregnancy. Most couples are unprepared for what to do with remaining embryos once their family is complete. There are over 500,000 embryos currently frozen in storage at American clinics.

Although together these embryos occupy a space the size of a 12mm cube—the size of a board game die—they represent the population of a city the size of Atlanta. Size is subject to perspective. We all look mighty small from the moon. But to God, we are wondrously made and valuable at every stage of development.

In 2009, a public opinion survey asked what should be done with remaining embryos. Most respondents said that the embryos should be donated to other infertile couples (68.8 percent) rather than being destroyed (5.9 percent) or being donated for research (which also destroys them).

To answer this question from a Christian perspective, we must first understand what an embryo is. Unlike an egg or sperm cell, an embryo is a complete pre-born human being with a full set of chromosomes and DNA. Just like you and me, it is a unique human unlike any other on earth. Science tells us that life begins when a sperm and egg unite. ...

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In the Magazine

July 2010

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