A post in which I will refrain from any reference to Fight Club

Jen and I attended the Body Worlds exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry this past weekend and were awed by the embryo and fetus room—mostly because it was heavily guarded due to the theft of a 13-week-old plastinated fetus from the exhibit’s stint at the California Science Center last March. However, I don’t think Jen and I were amazed by the embryos for quite the same reasons as most people; we both looked at them and said "this is what all the fuss is about?" These little specks of life, while miraculous to the parents who so desperately want them, just don’t ignite in me the same passion—I don’t see them and think "Hey look! It’s Little Future-Timmy!" Instead, I see blastocysts that could be used to make sure that Little Present-Timmy with juvenile diabetes lives a long and healthy life.

So, when I read about the Snowflakes program over at Pandagon, I just got pissed off. You see, the "Snowflakes" are the little frozen babies that are the result of in vitro fertilization, and the program aims to place these excess babies with new parents, since their bio-parents so callously left them in a freezer. Yeah, it’s great that infertile couples can adopt unwanted frozen embryos—but what if those are my unwanted embryos? What if I don’t want to breed for other people, but would rather that my unused embryos be used for science, be it for Gunther von Hagens’s exhibition or embryonic stem cell research? To be able to give another person a child may be a gift, but not one that should be extracted by force.

And I wonder what the end result would be if we continue along the line of thought that every instance of biological (human) life is precious and should be saved at all cost? Certainly we don’t feel that way about soldiers, but that’s a conversation for another day. If these little congregations of cells are people, endowed with as many (if not more) rights as their parents, what, as Jesse asks, are their names? When are their birthdays? Are they T-minus nine months old? Do we change the laws so that you can claim tax exemptions for all the little embryos you have frozen in some cryogenic tank? And where does it stop? Funeral rituals for my every menstrual cycle—after all, that could have been a baby if I had just done my duty and fucked! Of course, I’m not married, so that’s a sin too. Ah, the illogic.

So, in a bit I’m going to head out and see Jay and Alison’s baby, and I know without a doubt that when I do, I will marvel at this little person and love him without reservation. But Jay has Type I diabetes, and there is a risk that little Ben might someday have it too. I dare anyone to tell me that Jay and Ben’s lives and health are to be sacrificed so that some little snowflake can be born.

annamaria at 9:58 AM

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