Currently, there are millions of human embryos frozen in clinics that use in vitro fertilization and abandoned by their biological parents. They are submerged in liquid nitrogen vats at -196°C.
In 2013, 1.7 million embryos frozen since 1991 were discarded in Great Britain. According to data provided by the then health minister, Lord Howe, from the 3,546,818 embryos originated since August 1991, there were only 235,480 pregnancies. The minister himself denounced that embryos had been manufactured and rejected in industrial quantities. Once the clinics produce embryos, then something always has to be done with them, and everything that is done – no matter how good the intention is – supposes an added reification to that already generated by the fact of manufacturing them in vitro; even also when it is finally decided that some of them are transferred to the womb and they are thought of in a filial key.
The most common and offered reproductive practice consists of requesting a single child and, if possible, healthy (something already feasible thanks to Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis/PGD). But this selective desire only aggravates the injustice on the lives of the generated embryos, because the demand for a single embryo without anomalies, which contributes, with the consent of the clinics, to a massive elimination of lives that are biologically the same embryos, equal children of the same biological parents.
They generate mass embryos to then discriminate against the sick (eugenics) and freeze the surplus whose final destination will be death. In this case, the discrimination is crueler than what is sometimes found in society towards vulnerable people. Because in these in vitro clinics they are first produced and then eliminated.
In addition, they know in advance that they will generate them with high risks of biological inviability, among other causes, due to the quality of the gametes of couples of critical fertile age. That is why they hyperstimulate the ovaries of women to generate a large pool of eggs that increases the chances of success after fertilization, because many embryos will not prosper. Otherwise, they would extract a single egg at a time to fertilize it, carrying out a single reproductive cycle.
On the other hand, it is impossible – and prohibited – to intervene on a diseased embryo with gene therapies before transfer to the uterus. PGD becomes a eugenic act that intentionally seeks to betray embryos to judge who should live based on their genetic heritage. The person who applies this technique cannot be a medical professional (neither cure nor prevention) but a simple disease detector or quality controller at the customer’s service.
For the biological parents and the technical staff, the frozen and diseased embryos, even though they are “blood brothers” of the healthy transferred ones, are not equally worthy of being children. They are undesirable for their producers who have attributed the superiority of not granting them the dignity to live, disassociating them from the equal relationality they deserved for being children of the same biological parents. They stop being members of the biological family that engendered them, excluding them as foreign bodies, and falling into unfair discrimination within the same species.
The human condition of the embryo is annulled for the mere fact of not meeting the requirements to be transferred to their mothers. But it is contradictory that they are denied their human status when a disease is detected or because they are leftovers. An unworthy transmutation ends up taking place from child to thing, from human life to disposable or congealable biological material.
Some remain obstinate in believing that, in this initial state, the embryos are not human lives and are worthless. But in vitro technicians, daily, certify that what they transfer to the uterus, with care and delicacy, are not mere broken cells with incomplete genomes. Because precisely there, in that transferred biological reality, is where the success of the reproductive industry lies. Otherwise, it would constitute fraud for applicant couples who only dream of having lives transferred to them and nothing else. It was the scientist Robert Edwards, founder of in vitro techniques, who, in 1978, when observing his first viable human embryo under a microscope, excitedly stated that he did not see a conglomerate of cells, but Louis Joy Brown, the first test-tube girl .
Society finds itself witnessing undaunted an all-powerful reproductive debauchery, where parents and clinics arrogate the right to dispose, manipulate and eliminate human lives as if they were objects, seriously offending the dignity of the defenseless embryo.
Is this the fair price that humanity has to continue paying for the happiness of having a healthy child anyway?