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Frozen Embryo

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Jess B

on 27 April 2014

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Transcript of Frozen Embryo

What is it?
Use them
Discard them
Donate them for scientific or other research
Donate them to others who are looking to have children but for whatever reason (usually financial) are unable to create their own embryos.
Continue to keep them frozen and renew your decision annually until you ultimately decide what is best.
The Fate of Frozen Embryos
This presents the
Jessica & Katherine
Team 11

-When undergoing IVF , several eggs are extracted from the female and are fertilized outside of the body in a laboratory, after which point they are implanted into the uterus.
-However, only ONE successfully fertilized egg makes the cut, which means that numerous other fertilized eggs (a.k.a. embryos), have not been implanted into the mother.
-Embryo transfer is the last stage of IVF
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). This means special medical techniques are used to help a woman become pregnant. IVF has been successfully used since 1978. It is most often tried when other, less expensive fertility techniques have failed.
Causes of Infertility...
for both men and women
Abnormal sperm production/function
Problems with the delivery of sperm
Overexposure to certain environmental factors
Damage related to cancer/treatment
Ovulation disorders
Uterine/Cervical abnormalities
Fallopian tube damage or blockage
Primary ovarian insufficiency
They're FROZEN
So What Happens to the Additional Embryos?
What Happens to the Unused Embryos?
Ethical Issues
Opposing Viewpoints
These embryos can remain frozen in storage for many years, and when they are ultimately thawed, over 95% will survive and implant just as well as they would have when they were
Frozen Embryo Dilemma
Things to consider:
When frozen embryos are "thawed" out, they are terminated or disposed. Is this a reasonable strategy to take care of unused embryos?
1 out of every 7 couples have trouble conceiving. What is the best thing to do for such a large amount of people?
Should the embryo be considered a human being?
In Fact...

They are multiple-cellular clumps of tissue and are not technically humans
It would take a burden off the couple whom the embryos belong to
It could eliminate potential issues of paternity lawsuits
Their complete longevity has not been determined as of yet, so they could be potentially dangerous depending on their use.
Using them for a different family would mean the mother would be giving birth to a child who is not biologically hers.

They have potential to be human being
They can be used by the same couple when they are ready to have another baby
They can be used to assist other infertile women
It goes against "embryo rights", where it is perceived as homicide of unborn children
They can be used as scientific stem cell research
Embryos are one of the few places from which we can derive stem cells.
Stem cells are essentially a blank slate: they can become any type of cell.
If these cells can be taught to behave as a certain type of cell, they, as healthy cells, will reproduce. If added to the existing cells of a human, these cells may well be able to replace other dysfunctional cells.
Many people with neurological or tissue diseases argue that the embryos should go toward science for this reason.
Does Discarding Unused Embryos Constitute Murder?
Embryos can remain viable for a decade or more if they are frozen properly but not all of them survive.
Catholic religion declares that life begins when the sperm and egg fertilize. Therefore, an embryo is alive, and is a human. Immediately upon fertilization the resulting embryo attains the basic rights of a person.

The religion of Islam espouses the view that strictly forbids abortion after the embryo has acquired a soul, this is said to take place between the 40-120 day after conception.

In Jewish Law, an embryo is considered to be 'mere water' until the 40th day of gesation.
Many couples are turning to an alternative in which a ceremony is performed to lovingly dispatch their embryos.
Many couples simply can't decide to do with their frozen embryos, so they just keep storing them. Unfortunately, this is a costly choice.
One couple wrote that after completing their family through IVF they discovered they had strongly different opinions on what to do with their remaining frozen embryos. The wife was Catholic and could simply not destroy or donate her embryos to science. She wanted to donate them to another couple. Her husband did not want another couple to be raising “his” children. Their conclusion was to write into their will that whichever of them was the first to die, their remaining frozen embryos were to be buried with that parent.
This raises the question...
Just because we CAN, does it mean we SHOULD?
The Process
 Can be frozen 1-5 days after fertilization just the ones that are good quality
 Frozen in batches
 Cryoprotectant solution for protection
 Embryos are placed in a glass vials container and stored in liquid nitrogen freezers at a very low temperature of -196° Celsius
 Embryos are thawed and bathed in solution to remove the freezing cryoprotectants.

1: Liquid nitrogen supply tank
2: Backup embryo freezer
3: Main embryo freezer
4 & 5: Liquid nitrogen tanks for storing frozen embryos and sperm

How is the embryo inserted into the uterus?

http://www.nefertility.com/financial/ (New England Fertility center)

http://www.center4ivf.com/success.html (Fertility Institute of NJ)

http://www.fertilityproregistry.com/content/embryo-freezing.asp (procedure)




Legal Status of the Frozen Embryo from different opinions

- Bioethicist, legal commentators, religious philosophers, and judges…

1. Human life at its earliest stage
2. Frozen Embryos as Property
3. An entity occupying an interim status

Laws Pertaining to Frozen Embryos
In Divorce, Who Gets the Embryos?
for your undivided attention
be disposed
be disposed
o Attorneys dividing frozen embryos
o Fertility centers and agreements
o How some states view the case

Human Life At Its Earliest Stage

According to the authors of “A Defense of Human Life”, professor R. George &
C. Tollefsen, frozen embryos is nothing less than human life. It is a living member of the species Homo sapiens in his or her natural development.

Frozen Embryos as Property

Treating a frozen embryo as a property could be perceived as a movable personal property such as a piece of furniture, or a car. The owner can sell the embryos, throw them away or trade them for something else. A third party can turn it into a business.

An Entity Occupying an Interim Status

Most people argue that the frozen embryo is an entity & is entitle to special respect because it represents potential life. One might suppose that since frozen embryo is an entity deserving of respect that every court would decide disputes over frozen embryos
in favor of the party wanting to implant the embryo. On the contrary, courts have taken position with those who favored destroying the embryos in every case decided in the United States.

Case #1

Mr. & Mrs. York brought a medical action against the defendant. The Yorks went throught he IVF process in Virginia, but subsequently moved to California and wanted their frozen embryos transferred to a California facility. The Yorks signed a Cryopreservation Agreement with the defendant. The court noted that the agreement was covered by contract law and the parties had created a bailor-bailee relationship. When the purpose of the bailment terminates, the bailee has an absolute obligation to return the subject matter of the bailment to the bailor.” The court’s finding of a bailee-bailor relationship implies that the Yorks had a …………

What approach did the court used for this case?

a.) Human Life at Its Earliest Stage
b.) Frozen Embryos as Property
c.) An Entity Occupying an Interim Status

Case #2

A New Jersey married couple, having trouble conceiving a child, underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF). Such frozen embryos were at the center of this particular dispute. After undergoing IVF, the woman discovered that she was pregnant by natural intercourse, and she and her husband decided to freeze the embryos for possible future use. After their child was born, the marriage broke up, and the woman wanted the embryos destroyed because she did not want to become a mother to any of the embryos and to have "her DNA out there". The father wanted the embryos preserved to possibly have them implanted in another woman or to give them to some other childless couple.
The case was taken to court, and Judge Lee Laskin ruled that the frozen embryos were to be destroyed because the wife has a "right not to become a mother….

What type of approach did Judge Laskin went by?

a.) Human Life at Its Earliest Stage
b.) Frozen Embryos as Property
c.) An Entity Occupying an Interim Status

As an example of the frozen embryo at its earliest stage, New Mexico completely grants a human embryo the status of human being by mandating that all in vitro fertilized ova be implanted in a female. Louisiana’s and New Mexico’s laws require that human embryos either be implanted or stored until they are adopted.
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