Friday, August 18, 2006

More on made-to-order embryos

The new service by the San Antonio based adoption and fertility company Abraham Center of Life is starting to get a little more media coverage. An article today on the ReasonOnline website gives some additional background and perspective. One bit of trivia not important to the meat of the story but curiously interesting is pointed out by the author, Ronald Bailey. That is that the name of the center evidently refers to the Bible story of the use of surrogacy by patriarch Abraham who, at his wife Sarah's urging, had a son by his wife's Egyptian slave-girl Hagar. Ok, not all that interesting perhaps.

The article mentions that there is some "ethical hand wringing" about the new service and references a post at If you read that post you see they say that Many ethicists have long complained that the use of IVF technology with preimplantation genetic diagnosis, combined with recent breakthroughs in understanding of human genetics, will lead to a nightmare “Brave New World” in which babies are made to order in labs and sold as commodities. But there is little else article, including why this "Brave New World" they refer to is such a nightmare.

Parents want healthy and happy babies born free of genetic defects. Applying diparaging labels like "made to order babies" doesn't implicate the parents' feelings about their new loved one. And being "sold as commodities" is similarly impertinent to the parents, whether they are buying an embryo or buying an adopted child, or don't they critics refer to adoption as buying a baby?

The Reason article points out some of the other obvious conflicts in the ethicists' criticisms.


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