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Saturday 23rd June 2018

Embryos treated as commodities not people

15th June 2009

Writing in The Telegraph, Melanie McDonagh highlights how the unedifying revelations of an IVF mix-up at the University Hospital of Wales reveal much about the way embryos are treated in this country.


Deborah and Paul, a couple who had a child by IVF, were left distraught when 18 months ago they learned that the one remaining viable embryo from the batch of nine that had produced their son had been implanted in another woman.

Once the other women discovered the baby was not hers, she had taken the morning after pill.

But who did the baby belong to if it were born, the birth mother or the natural mother?

The clinic told the women that the courts would have ruled on the matter – a classic judgment of Solomon case for the British judiciary.

As it turned out, the courts never had that opportunity to rule the child be cut in two by a sword as the non-natural mother had already terminated the pregnancy.

Deborah and Paul are being compensated but it exposes “unpleasant elements” of the baby-making industry and the bulk manufacture of embryos.

Did Deborah and Paul plan to give birth to all nine of their embryos, for example?

There is a childless woman who wanted a baby, but not one that was not her own and then the law that treats embryos as commodities, particularly if they end up in the wrong womb.

People return items to shops if they’re not what they want. It turns out we see embryos in the same way.


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