Calling embryos “reproductive material” is degrading

IVFThe deadline for frozen embryos and reproductive tissue (gametes) which have been stored for ten years is fast coming up.

The embryos and gametes must be destroyed within six months of November 22nd unless special permission to extend the storage has been granted by the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART).  ECART can make decisions on applications for extended storage up until Friday 21st November.  The embryos and tissue cannot be used in any way after that date.

Fertility Associates are frantically trying to get hold of people who have not as yet contacted them regarding the fate of the embryos or gametes stored with them. According to Dr Richard Fisher on Newstalk ZB yesterday afternoon, around 300 people still needed to be contacted.  Not all of these will have frozen embryos stored.

On the radio Fisher referred to both the embryos and tissue as “reproductive material”.  The Fertility Associates website says the same thing.

How degrading for the embryos – human life at the very beginning of its existence and suspended in time.

There is a difference between nascent human life and the reproductive cells (sperm and ova) that are needed biologically to create the embryo.

It would seem that daily ‘playing God’ – creating life then deciding which embryos are to live and which are to die – dulls the conscience into believing that the embryo is nothing more than simple cells such as sperm or ova.

Calling embryos “reproductive material” dehumanizes them, making them simply a by-product of human manipulation.

Does this mean that embryos and other reproductive tissue are disposed of in the same manner?  Lumped together as if they are all of the same genetic and moral standing?

It is time the IVF industry were clear about what they do and how they dispose of embryos that are not transferred into a womb.

It is time that the humanity of these little ones is acknowledged and respected.



To acknowledge this great tragedy, a Mass of Remembrance will be held on Friday 21st November at 7:00pm in Auckland and Dunedin.  In Wellington, there will be a Prayer Vigil for Life, also at 7:00pm.

The Mass of Remembrance is for all mothers, fathers and family members who have suffered baby loss through miscarriage, still birth or abortion.  All embryos discarded from IVF practices, including those to be discarded from November 22nd will also be remembered at this Mass, as will their parents.

For more information visit Family Life International NZ’s website.



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