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Jennifer Lahl—I call her, “She Who Walks Through Walls”—founded the Center for Bioethics and Culture in 2000, and had the wisdom to bring me on as a paid consultant (he said modestly).  Over the last 12 years, the  CBC has really been doing very energetic and effective work, particularly in the areas of biotechnology and reporductive technologies.  Now, the National Catholic Register has an interesting Q & A interview with Jennifer.  From “Taking, Making, and Faking Life:”

What’s really wrong with egg and sperm donation? Isn’t it just another  medium of creating new life that we can celebrate?

Sadly, much of our focus is rarely on the best interest of the children  created by donated gametes. A couple wants a baby, they have the financial means  to afford expensive fertility treatment, and they will do whatever, perhaps, to  have a baby. With donated egg/sperm, the baby really is, in fact, biologically  not fully their child, but the biological child of the person who donated (more  often, sold) his or her genetic material. We have totally deconstructed our  reproductive bodies in such a manner that we don’t even see that these children  may (and do) grow up wanting to know and be known by that person.

As it relates specifically to egg donors, I have many concerns with the  health risks of these women as well. How did we come to a place where we will  pay a young woman, or ask her to freely donate her eggs, when we should be doing  everything to preserve her health and future fertility? The powerful drugs they  take and procedures these women undergo are not without serious risks.

So you’re saying that a consistent pro-life ethic requires opposition to  sperm and egg donation?

Actually, I would go a bit further and say that in vitro fertilization (with  or without donated egg/sperm) is not consistent with those who want to assert  that they are pro-life. Why do we make so many surplus embryos in the process?  Because we know many embryos will die along the way. They die in the laboratory,  they die in the transfer stage, and they die going in and out of the  freezer.

Also, IVF, by design, is mere technique, turning the making of life into a  eugenic enterprise. The minute eggs and sperm are outside the body,  quality-control standards are implemented. Are these “good” eggs/sperm or “bad” eggs/sperm? Same with embryos and the grading of them, so that the “best” embryos get implanted and the suspect embryos are “tossed” or put into the  freezer. As an industry that is in the business of delivering babies, they seek  to optimize the end result: healthy babies.

There’s more. Jennifer calls it as she sees it.  Whatever side you are on about these issues, the interview is worth reading and Jennifer worthy of a very big tip of the hat.

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