MEXICO CITY, September 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Mexico moves towards the regulation of in vitro fertilization, Mexico’s secretary of health has declared his opposition to permitting the freezing of embryos, a practice that results in the production and, ultimately, the destruction of thousands of human lives every year.
If federal legislators follow his lead, Mexico will join Germany, Italy, and Costa Rica in prohibiting the freezing of embryos.
Although José Ángel Córdova Villalobos has resisted attempts to pin him down on the issue in recent months, he finally stated his position in a radio interview on Wednesday.
“It’s preferable in this case to seek out the best efficiency, and the best, I insist, is to respect the life of the new human being that is in gestation,” said Córdova Villalobos. He added that it would be better to preserve egg cells through a process known as vitrification, than to freeze embryos.
“It isn’t justifiable that residual embryos are left, embryos that would have to be cryogenically preserved,” the secretary said. There is “even less” justification today, he continued, “because there are other techniques in which if eventually a pregnancy is not generated by the embryo that was inserted into the uterus, well, for example, the eggs can be vitrified, and then placed in contact with sperm, enabling another attempt to have an embryo for a pregnancy.”
Dr. Manuel Ramos, a molecular biologist and director of the bioethics division of the Center for Advanced Social Investigation in Queretaro, called the statement a “great advance” in favor of human life, but added that the entire process of in vitro fertilization is unethical.
“It is a great advance” he told LifeSiteNews, because “the authorities understand the importance of not freezing embryos,” and added that the nation’s legislators “should hear and support his opinion.”
According to Ramos, the process of producing large numbers of embryos and freezing them has placed 150,000 lives in cryogenic freeze in Mexico, with a total of 5,000,000 worldwide.
Ramos expressed his hope that pending legislation would put an end as well to other practices, such as the buying and selling of sperm and eggs, and even embryos themselves, as well as their use without the donor’s permission. He offered as an example cases that have occurred in which people rejected their own children because their skin color was not to their liking, due to the unauthorized use of reproductive cells.
However, he added that he regarded the whole process of in vitro fertilization as objectionable, and said that it should be prohibited.
“If we put together the whole panorama of in vitro fertilization, it’s a discouraging panorama. It damages the woman by the stimulation of the ovaries, [and] damages embryos by in vitro manipulation. Children born through in vitro fertilization have almost double the number of serious birth defects.” The rate of birth defects rises for embryos that have been frozen, he said.