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November 7, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In news that shows how artificial means of reproduction encourage the commodification of children, a woman has put out an appeal for an embryo swap so that she can have another son.

Asking the internet for a trade

Lisa (not her real name), a Brooklyn actress, recently posted an appeal to several Facebook groups, saying: “Hello, we have been trying to give my child a sibling for three years . . . we want to complete our family with a son. We have a great quality female embryo. Would you like to consider a trade?”

She adds that the “donor egg [is] Italian” and the sperm is “English/Irish Yale educated.”

The other side of IVF

Lisa conceived her son through IVF and is desperate to have another boy, especially since miscarrying a son conceived through another round of IVF. After spending more than $45,000 on several cycles of IVF, she and her husband have been left with a female embryo, whom they spend $1,000 a year to keep frozen in a storage facility.

Not only has the IVF process resulted in the creation and loss (or discarding) of several human beings (the three remaining embryos from Lisa's first round of IVF failed to implant, and from the second round most of the embryos didn't develop, while others were “genetically compromised” or failed to implant), the language she uses to describe her embryonic daughter is telling.

A daughter or a commodity?

“I was surprised and sad [it was a girl],” Lisa recalled. After spending $12,000 on a final, unsuccessful round of IVF, she and her husband decided to offer the female embryo to someone with a male one.

“I made up my mind as a reaction to losing the $12,000. Now I have a commodity – something I can leverage,” said Lisa.

Despite moderators on the Facebook groups receiving complaints about the post, Lisa has had several offers. She is considering a woman from Manhattan who is desperate for a daughter and is offering one of her ten frozen male embryos. 

What's the loving pro-life response to infertility?

SPUC has always opposed IVF because it involves the production of multiple embryos, many of whom are discarded, and because it treats human beings as products subject to quality control. Infertility can cause great suffering, and while many couples who resort to IVF give birth to much loved children, stories like this show the other side – unborn children treated as a “commodity” that can be frozen, destroyed and swapped at will. There are also many stories of women being pushed into IVF unnecessarily and of couples being exploited by the fertility industry.

As we said in this blog last year, “surely the most loving response [to infertility], especially when IVF has such a high failure rate, is to point out the problems with it, and let people know about natural, ethical ways of improving the chances of conception?”

Published with permission from Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.