A way around the moral issues of extra IVF embryos

In Italy, where the Catholic Church holds much sway, researchers have found a way to circumvent the moral objections to storing and/or disposing of extra embryos from IVF procedures. They are freezing eggs–before fertilization–and then thawing and fertilizing them on call. So far 13 healthy kids have been born this way.

“Betterhumans > Frozen Eggs Hatch Healthy Children” reads the headline. Still experimental and used mainly for women whose eggs are under threat from some extreme situation (like chemotherapy), the procedure needs to be improved to yield more reliable results. But think of the possibilities. Women who know they want to delay motherhood may be able to freeze their eggs while they are young and most fertile and then become pregnant on their own schedule. I can totally see this in the future. It sure fits the way the world is headed in so many other respects–human beings controlling processes formerly thought to be completely up to the vagaries of nature.

Teeth not white enough? Get strips–or if you’ve got the money, pay the dentist to do it.

Don’t like the shape of your body? Get implants. Or liposuction.

Not convenient to get pregnant? Visit the doctor, have your eggs extracted and frozen and have a baby whenever you want.

Possible abuse? Certainly. Every scientific advancement has the capability of being abused. Atomic energy was this great advance–look how many people were bombed to oblivion. But the truth is, once the ability to do these things exists, people will do them. And thus raise more of those questions that have never had to be asked before.

But think back to organ donations–the idea used to raise hackles. Now it’s almost de rigeur–people check off a box on their drivers’ licenses, for heavens sake. Heck, think back to when the world was supposed to be flat–and people were executed for saying otherwise.

Progress in bioscience is inevitable; our spirits and mores are sometimes slower to follow.