The medical director of the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) says a large federal grant will help promote embryo adoption and give otherwise infertile couples a chance to experience pregnancy and birth.
The Christian Medical Association, America's largest faith-based organization for doctors, announced October 26 that it will assist with a $304,000 embryo adoption awareness grant project funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In response to the news, CMA executive director Dr. David Stevens noted that thousands of couples in the US and abroad have used reproductive technology in an effort to have children and find themselves faced with the question of what to do about their embryos who will not be implanted and brought to birth.
“The good news,” Stevens says, “is that couples who value these precious lives now have the option of allowing couples who are unable to have their own children to adopt these embryos and bring them to birth.” He adds that couples who have adopted a child at the embryo stage can attest to the fact that such adoptions are “a wonderful and tremendously satisfying way to experience the miracle of God's gift of life.”
Currently in the US, the “leftover” embryos that result from in vitro fertilization are routinely destroyed. But NEDC director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan describes embryo adoption as a viable and altruistic alternative for previously infertile couples who will not use their remaining embryos. He says the center, which opened earlier this year in Knoxville, Tennessee, has already had many couples offer their frozen embryos for potential adoption.
“We've gotten over a hundred couples who have either completed or are in the process of completing their requirements for donating their embryos,” Keenan says. Meanwhile, he adds, “We have a couple of hundred couples who are on our waiting list to receive embryos, and both the donating couples and the recipient or adopting couples come from all over the United States.”
The doctor says the NEDC is working with the Christian Medical Association and the Baptist Health System Foundation in order to promote this life-honoring option to infertile couples. “It is a fact that most couples, even infertile couples, really do not get nearly enough information on this option for creating a family,” he explains.
“And at the same time,” the NEDC's director says, “there are about 400,000 cryo-preserved embryos in the United States, many of which [sic] will not be used by the genetic parents in order to build their own family.”
Thus far the Knoxville facility has seen seven pregnancies result from its embryo adoptions, and Keenan says those births will take place next summer. It is his hope that this first embryo adoption center will be successful enough that the NEDC will be able to open more such facilities in other parts of the United States.
[Editor's Note: We know this article may generate some questions on the topic of embryo adoption among faithful Catholics. To date, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has not spoken definatively on whether embryo adoption would be considered morally licit. Until that time, Catholic Exchange will continue to inform and educate you with similar articles on this topic.]
(This article courtesy of Agape Press).