Monday, July 17, 2017

Baby Born From 20-Year-Old Frozen Embryo – What’s Next?

According to AOL Health, back in 2010, a “42-year-old woman gave birth to a baby that came from an embryo frozen 20 years ago.” Does this surprise you? Dr. Sherman Silber, a fertility expert said “this particular baby’s birth isn’t groundbreaking.” In fact, “it’s symbolic of a practice that is revolutionary and can change women’s [and men’s] lives.”
This is certainly the case with Rachel and Aaron Halbert, a white missionary couple who had trouble conceiving. Last year, after adopting two African-American children, Rachel gave birth to black triplets after ‘adopting’ leftover embryos from discarded IVF treatment. Please view the happy family members below:

Dr. Silber feels such cases are “no big deal. We have lots of babies born from embryos that have been frozen over 15 years earlier.” Nearly a million such embryos already exist in this country alone, and “There is no legitimate shelf life limit to frozen embryos or eggs or ovarian tissue for that matter.”
Pause for a moment and think of some of the implications. Of course, women such as cancer patients who need to delay childbearing can have their eggs or ovarian tissue frozen and later implanted. Perhaps twenty years hence when it is more convenient or physically possible, they can give birth to one or more infants.
Most of us already know this. But there are more implications that have long been the stuff of science fiction. I present just two of many possibilities below.
1. It’s All in the Family. Catherine Donaldson-Evans reports in AOL Health that “Some parents have even stored eggs and sperm for their children with health conditions that will make them infertile—meaning the kids will give birth to their half-brothers or sisters. A woman whose 7-year-old daughter had a medical problem rendering her infertile froze her eggs in 2007. In another case, a baby was born from 22-year-old frozen sperm.”

2. Fifteen years? Twenty years? Why limit ourselves? What about fifty years, a hundred, five hundred? What about a woman ‘adopting’ a one or five-thousand-year-old embryo and giving birth eventually to a healthy baby? Or three, five, or even ten?

Why not? Perhaps in the future, Science will be King. Doubtless, as the photo above shows, the field of frozen embryo development opens up many beautiful possibilities for enriching our lives. However, at the same time, it might lead to darker and troubling consequences.

Perhaps I’ll discuss that last subject in a future post. As for now, I’d like to close with a song from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which a man longs for the artificial womb he inhabited before birth. For some reason, it seems relevant here.

"Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?
Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine;
For there ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine

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