Opinion · Science and Technology · World

Frozen embryo born after 24 years

The Daily Mail (UK) reports that Tina Gibson and her husband Benjamin, living in East Tennessee (USA), adopted an embryo which had been frozen for 24 years. The child, Emma, was born on the 25th of November this year. Tina was not able to conceive naturally with Benjamin, because Benjamin is suffering from cystic fibrosis. They were preparing to adopt a child, when they heard about the possibility to adopt an embryo.

The child was conceived in 1992, one year after her adoptive mother, Tina.  Tina carried the bay to term and delivered at 40 weeks.

Experts suggest that the time for an embryo to remain frozen before it is implanted again can be, theoretically speaking, infinite.

For Christians this raises some ethical questions.

To start with, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a topic that has been discussed for a long time already among Christians. Some believe this is allowed to overcome infertility, under strict conditions. One of those conditions is usually that no embryo is being killed deliberately as a result of the process, but that all embryos are being implanted in the womb . Others believe it is not allowed. They fear that this opens the way of tinkering with God’s creation. And there are other reasons for or against.

Another issue is if we should be able to freeze embryos for such a long time. And with that comes the question whether it is ethical to have another woman than the natural mother carry the child to term in her womb and give birth to it.

A totally different approach of this matter can be found on the website ‘evolutionnews.org.

This website provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues. The name (evolution news) may be a bit confusing. This website does not promote the theory of evolution. On the contrary.

Wesley J. Smith argues that embryos are not just so many frozen cells, but living human organisms. He mentions the ‘Snowflake Adoption Program’, as well as the ‘National Embryo Donation Center’.

In this approach, Christians take their starting point in the existing situation, in which there are many embryos frozen, which are not going to be used anymore and would be destroyed after some time. As Christians we believe that human life begins at the conception and therefore every human embryo is a child. Destruction of embryos is therefore the killing of human beings. To save some of these human beings, Christian parents should consider the adoption of an embryo, it is being argued. Is it God’s will that these embryos are being destroyed? Or is it God’s will that a woman carries to term and gives birth to another’s baby? Difficult questions which we should not shy away from.

I invite everyone who wants to contribute to this discussion from a Biblical perspective, to submit your comments, using the form at the bottom of this page. Comments should be based on the Bible. This can be done by either directly referring to Bible texts, or using a way of reasoning that is clearly based on God’s commandments. Comments we receive which are in line with our guidelines, will be published in the opinion section. We usually will publish the name of the commenter but not the email address. If you have good reasons for your name not to be published, please let us know, including your reasons.