When Does Life Begin?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

When Does Life Begin?

At conception, right?

Well, at the center of the debate over stem cell research is this-- fertilized eggs/blastocysts/zygotes/embryos or whatever you want to call them are not conception.
First, 'conception', 'life' and 'living distinct beings' are not the same thing as 'fertilization', no matter how much it serves one's purposes to make it so. Fertilization and the creation of blastocysts is an unremarkable event that takes place daily. If that embryo doesn't implant, there is no conception, no life, no pregnancy. Every day millions of women have 'embryos' floating around in their uteri, flush them during menses and nobody bats an eye. These embryos that have not implanted and sunk a vein and begun the process of advancement are not, even by the most conservative of standards, life. Nobody posits funerals or mourns for the millions of these that are, with no awareness, flushed every day. Give a woman as many pregnancy tests with an embryo inside her that has not implanted as many times as you like—there will be no positive result, pee on as many EPT sticks as you like, no plus sign. This is why after an IVF transfer (the two week wait) people so anxiously wait—they are hoping—desperately—that they have CONCEIVED. It hasn't happened yet.
It's a really good essay about the feigned ignorance of Bush and pals, written from the point of view of a woman who has a son via IVF using an adopted embryo.

Also, for all the talk about embryo adoption-- something I may be interested in someday-- I could only find two such agencies listed in the U.S.-- both are Christian agencies. Which pretty much means that it's for Christian couples donating embryos designated for Christian wombs and Christian parents. Non-Christian, unmarried people need not apply. Interesting, eh? Does it cost a lot less than regular IVF? Nope, it costs about $$10,000.

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