Q&A on Frozen Embryo Storage

Liquid Nitrogen bank containing suspension of cells.

QUESTION: I’ve heard people say there are hundreds of thousands of embryos currently being kept in frozen storage in the United States. I can’t imagine such a large number. What will be done with all those little ones?

ANSWER: Most experts agree that approximately 600,000 embryos are currently kept in frozen storage in this country. Such a large number should greatly concern Christians. Most of these frozen embryos are “leftovers” from IVF procedures.

The future of those embryos is determined by their owners. There are five options that can legally be considered.

  • Destroy them
  • Donate them to science
  • Keep them frozen indefinitely
  • Thaw them and transfer them to the biological mother
  • Donate them to infertile couples for adoption

In the application of Christian ethics, the first two options are not acceptable because they involve the killing of those young children at about one week old. The third option is not much better because a final decision is simply being postponed.

The last two options are the only acceptable choices. Although the survival rate for those frozen embryos is fairly low (ranging from 35% to 65% depending on the definition of successful thawing), it is still a better option than intentionally terminating them.

As technology advances, society is faced with greater ethical challenges. In making our decisions, we dare never ignore the humanity of these embryos, and we must avoid the temptation of convincing ourselves that preborn children are commodities to be manipulated rather than blessings to be appreciated.

Christian Life Resources favors consideration of embryo adoption. In this procedure a married couple accepts adoption of life prior to birth by consenting to the in-utero implantation of someone’s unwanted frozen embryo so that the child may completely develop and be born and raised as their own child.


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