We earn 8% in referral fees when you shop Amazon through our link. We make it easy! Click to learn how.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

the unborn baby and the bath water

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 01, 2009

 For more than a decade, thousands of older women undergoing in-vitro fertilization have relied on an expensive embryo-screening procedure to boost their chances of getting pregnant.

Thus begins a cautionary story in the Wall Street Journal. But soon you realize that the real problem is not only getting pregnant but staying pregnant-- that is, 1) avoiding miscarriage and 2) having a pregnancy that the mother won't choose to abort. Read on:

Most medical experts agree that embryo screening can significantly reduce the risk of serious chromosome-related illnesses, such as Down syndrome.

There's no risk that the mother will contract Down syndrome. It's a chromosome disorder. The mother's chromosomes were set for life some years ago: back when she was an embryo. The Journal account doesn't quite explain who faces the risks of illness-- it would be impolite to talk about the baby, at a time when the mother still might decide not to continue the pregnancy-- but of course it's the embryo.

For women, embryo screening has offered two benefits: it helps them determine whether they will be able to continue the pregnancy, and whether they want to continue the pregnancy. For embryos, the procedure never offered any benefits at all. Just risks. The risk of contracting a chromosome disorder that will cause miscarriage. The risk of contracting Down syndrome, which will cause a restricted life. And the risk of becoming unwanted.

Now the doctors tell us that the screening process can help identify chromosome disorders in embryos, but it might also cause chromosome disorders in embryos. So it's not at all clear that there's any benefit to would-be mothers. For embryos, the cost-benefit analysis hasn't changed.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our March expenses ($33,009 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,991.25
94% 6%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Don’t touch that Smile! Helping CatholicCulture.org by shopping on Amazon. 0 hours ago
Church Fathers: Introduction to the Greek Apologists March 1
Ad Imaginem Dei: a gem of a blog on Christian art February 28
The Complexities of Persecution February 27
Ukraine: A great lesson in thinking like a Catholic. February 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5