Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Donielle Brinkman sends ten babies to their deaths so she can "experience pregnancy" 

EDIT on 6/9/2005. Comments are wandering off in different directions. Please check this post on abortion in general and this one on the rationality and ethics of using third party IVF to "rescue" embryos before commenting here. Thanks.

As I wrote this, two different squirrels were scampering around trying to bang another squirrel on my windowsill. I couldn't keep straight who wanted the sex and who didn't.

These people Bush invited to a photo-op are raving mad,

As evangelical Christians, the Brinkmans, who are both 32, believe that life begins at conception and that each embryo is a person.

When the embryos were shipped by FedEx to their fertility clinic in Phoenix, Donielle Brinkman recalled, her "ultimate nightmare" occurred: The package went astray because of an erroneous Zip code. In a panic, she drove to a FedEx warehouse to retrieve it herself. "I went to the counter, and I wasn't leaving until they gave me that tank," she said. "I said: 'You have my babies there. I need you to hand them over.' "

... Over the next three years, she insisted that her doctors transfer all of the embryos into her womb, two or three at a time. She had four transfers, and three miscarriages. Tanner was the only one who survived, but "we were committed to all 11 of those babies," she said. "We were going to see it through as long as it took."

... When the Brinkmans ran into fertility problems, they first tried in vitro fertilization themselves, unsuccessfully. They also thought about a conventional adoption. But because they wanted to experience a pregnancy, Donielle Brinkman said, they turned to Nightlight Christian Adoptions of Fullerton, Calif., and its "Snowflakes" program, a name intended to emphasize that every embryo is unique.

Recap,

  1. Donielle Brinkman considers a fertilized embryo a person, presumably with the same right to life as everyone else
  2. Donielle knows her uterus is likely to kill any embryo that finds its way in
  3. An already born unwanted child is not good enough for her to adopt, Donielle wants to experience pregnancy herself
  4. Donielle opts to send eleven donor embryos to her uterus of death; one survives

I'm a big fan of adoption, but don't consider the actions Donielle Brinkman took to be immoral. What she does with her ability/inability to reproduce with or without the aid of science is none of my business. But I fail to understand how she can avoid feeling guilty about these 10 babies she thinks died so she could experience pregnancy.

UPDATE: From the Brinkman's website - Donielle expresses something akin to regret or a rethinking ... or something,

We feel so blessed that the Lord chose us for two very unique and different adoptions. The first was a Snowflake Embryo Adoption - what a joy it was to get to carry Tanner. After loosing all 10 of Tanner's siblings in first trimester miscarriages though, I did not have the heart to continue down that road.

Two questions arise: First, if her "heart" won't let Donnielle continue down a road she chose, why did her brain let her get on it in the first place? Her "pregnancy experience" fulfilled, she now thinks sending snowflake babies to likely death is all of a sudden wrong?

The second question is why is Bush posing for an "embryo adoption" press photo with a woman who has qualms about "embryo adoption" in some cases, including her own?

Post a Comment

Comments:

Hi there! Donielle Brinkman here:). I was googling for something and happened upon this article. It appears that I should take a moment and clarify a few of your "facts". You seem to be applying some faulty reasoning here. Allow ME to recap:

(1) Yes I pursued embryo adoption because I wanted to experience pregnancy
(2) I do not support cryopreservation BECAUSE it can be harmful to embryos. The fact that I don't agree with cryopreservation though has nothing to do with the fact that these embryos needed mommy's and daddy's. I don't support sex outside of marriage either but I wouldn't refuse to adopt because I disagreed with the timing of conception. (3) My womb was not the problem (according to the Dr.s). I did carry Tanner to a full term birth and tested negative for any factors that could have contributed to my miscarriages. The Dr.s concluded that the miscarriages were due to abnormalities within the embryos. They would have miscarried irregardless of who carried them. Although to your point, had I found out after my first miscarriage that my body was causing the loss of our childrens lives, we were prepared to place them with another family. We would have been heartbroken but we would have prioritized them. This is why we made sure to have me tested before proceeding with the other transfers (4) The intent of transferring frozen embryos into a mother's womb should be obvious. To rescue them from frozen orphages. This is a life saving endeavor - not selfish life taking. Not sure why this is confusing. (5) My "regrets" were not about embryo adoption - don't take me out of context please. For a mom who has suffered infertility, to then loose children in miscarriage is a HEAVY grief to carry. I mourned these babies and am emotionally not prepared to risk another miscarriage (although - medically I shouldn't have to be concerned about that any more than any other woman because once again - my Dr.s claim I did not contribute to their loss of life). And lastly, I should point out to you that I most definitely support domestic adoption. Maybe you missed that part on my website? We domestically adopted our son at 25 weeks in January of 2004. I held both my children before they were deemed "viable" Tanner while in a tank and Ty before he was even in the second trimester. Any wonder why I lobby to protect these tiny lives? Just thought your posting needed a little balance. Sincerely - Donielle Brinkman
Wow, what at typical circular argument. She "sends 10 babies to death" in her "uterus of death." What in the world do you think would have happened to those 10 embryos otherwise? They would have been trashed or stayed frozen forever. I guess you would prefer they be used for experiments. Next, we will be using "useless" old people and those in comas for science. They don't really have quailty of life anyway either, according to the same philosophy of those who would use embryos for experimentation. Giving a child a chance at life, either before or after birth is not selfish in any way.

A fan of life- all life-
Patti Sedita
Patti -

You ask and answer, "What in the world do you think would have happened to those 10 embryos otherwise? They would have been trashed or stayed frozen forever."

You present a false dilemma. Today, implanting a fertilized embryo works far less than half the time. In the future, we may be able to grow those same embryos into people completely in the lab with 100% assurance. They were created in the lab - something we couldn't do a few decades ago - why not encourage science to clean up it's own mess, if that's what you feel has happened? You seem anxious to give a 20-30% shot at survival right away because ... you're in a hurry maybe? Why?

PS. I've thought about it and see no circularity in the argument I imply in my original post. What is it?

Doni -

Thanks much for your thoughts. I did see that you adopted your second child. I could echo the comments I made to Doni, but will just say that to me, it's more important to take care of unwanted born babies than frozen embryos.
Erik - Your welcome. Also, I meant that Ty didn't make it "out of" the 2nd trimester not "into". Figured you guessed that but just to clarify LOL. Also, children placed for adoption aren't unwanted. They are loved. That's why they are placed for adoption. Children that aren't wanted are aborted. I post that thought for the sake of Tanner's genetic family and Ty's birthmom. They both made very loving decisions. - Doni
I was an unwanted pregnancy, my birthmom put me up for immediate anonymous adoption when she was 14. I've since tracked down her and her current family and all parties agree that things couldn't have worked out better.

So I would dispute your statement, "Children that aren't wanted are aborted."

Adoption of live babies can be a pain in the neck, but there are lots of them out there who need permanent homes. Frozen embryos stay frozen. Born children sometimes go from foster home to foster home or orphanage to orphanage. For me, they ought to get the priority. But again, I'm not going to try to press my morals onto someone else. That's why I call my position pro-choice.
Your right Erik. Not fair to make such a closed statement about that. From my experience though (and I did crisis pg counseling) I actually never met a birthmom who placed for adoption because she didn't "want" her baby. I have friends who have birthmom support groups and they agree that it is rare. (This is of course a reflection on your birthmom and not you of course - I know that goes unsaid but I still had to say it:) I also agree with you that it worked out for the best in your situation and am glad that your parents made the choice they did. As for domestic versus frozen adoption...I do hear your perspective. For those wanting to adopt for reasons of mercy...that may be a point to consider. Adopting for these reasons though are certainely not limited to the infertile. For those adopting to build their family...they have the same hopes and dreams that everyone else has of carrying a child and giving birth. Why would they abandon that because they have a medical problem that doesn't allow natural conception? Frozen embryo adoption gives them that chance AND rescues these kids from a frozen state. While I am grateful that both embryo and domestic adoption gave me the chance to be a mother - I still have to say that I believe it to be tragic that babies in both scenarios need to be adopted in the first place but young mom's are not going to stop getting pg and IVH patients are unlikely to stop freezing so many embryos so....? All the kids still need parents. Tanner and Ty BOTH needed us. Have I mentioned how grateful I am that I "get" to be their mommy? :) Doni
I've read Erik's post and the comments that have followed. I'm also an avid reader of Doni's site as well - and just so happen to know Doni and her family VERY well.

Erik, after having conversations with Doni, I'm surprised that you haven't changed the title to your posting. Doni didn't send 10 babies to their deaths. It seems there are three possible reasons for their deaths and none of them have anything to do with Doni.
1. There was a problem with the sperm or egg before fertilization. 2. Something was not right with the embryos after fertilization.
3. Cryopreservation damages embryos and thus many are miscarried. (I'm willing to bet that this is often the case.)

Actually, there is a fourth option - perhaps none of the above is correct and there are simply answers we will never know.

You suggest that we should make a stand that science get its act together. Well, actually, I believe that is exactly what Doni and other snowflake families are speaking with their lives and their recent trip to Washington. But they are asking for it in a different way than you are. They don't want science to continue experimentation to learn to freeze properly or grow more children in a lab - as this particular science is performed KNOWING many children will be lost (destroyed, killed) in the process (just as embryonic stem cell research kills as well). Rather, they ask science to be more responsible, more ethical, and protective of life. Finding homes for the many frozen children is a definite start in the right direction... reducing the number of children to be frozen in the future is another step in the right direction... freezing none, using invitro to create only as many as will be planted in the womb at the time of the procedure, and finding homes for all the remaining frozen embryos could come close to solving the problem altogether.

Another thought in defense of the Brinkman family comes to mind and I hope you will listen with your heart on this one. Regardless of which children you personally think should be top priority in line for adoption, the fact remains that both already-birthed children and those in frozen states need families, just as Doni stated. The fact also remains that the Brinkman's LOVINGLY welcomed 2 children (but willing to lovingly welcome 10 more and then some...) into their family and they have all been blessed beyond words to be a family. What the Brinkman's have done is beautiful - what they have experienced is a miracle of love - they have become a family. Who can argue what a beautiful thing it is to have family? I'm thankful they have adopted both of their boys regardless of the exact way the boys came to their family. I love those boys, the nephews of my heart, and am just so grateful God chose to make them Brinkman's.

Erik, I'm so glad that you have a family - that you were not lost or alone. What a gift to be held by someone who loves us. We all have stories that lead us to where we are today and where we will go in the future. I hope that your adoption story was a happy one and that life will continue to be. May the grace that comes with finding the love and gift of adoption lead you to be gracious to others in all you do.

That is one thing I have learned from Doni - to try to accept grace and learn to live in it, offering it to others. If you have time to continue reading more of her postings while "listening" with your heart, I think you'll find a very real, sincere, genuinely loving, gracious woman.

Thanks for taking the time to write about this subject and allowing us to comment and have conversation about it. It is definitely a worthy subject to discuss.
not sure why you felt the need to attack someone that saved the lives of two precious babies! Those boys deserved a loving home just like you did. Or do you consider yourself better than her children?

How very egotistical of you!
Well I guess you needed a soap box to ride because you were adopted, and feel only children born need homes, not children who are also given for adoption while they are frozen. All are children who need homes regardless. I guess one perspective is easy to argue when you are in it, however, showing true compassion is when you can step out of your situation and understand someone elses. I would think you could appreciate that Doni did exactly what your adoptive parents did, and loved a child that was not born to them but given to them by a highr authority who knew the best outcome for each child. Your argument is offensive because it cheapens the life of a precious child. I doubt you would appreciate it if I bashed your parents who adopted you. How about you look at this situation from Doni's child's perspective. All children should have a voice. And your argument on the other 10 sent to there death is extremly uneducated. You might want to research an argument before you post it. Naturally it would be nice to blame one person for scienec's mistakes. Nextime choose someone who guilty of something other than loving a child enough to give them life.
My husband and I have adopted 4 children - 2 out of foster care and 2 we recieved as frozen embryos. All of our children are equally loved and cherished regardless of how their lives began. I don't know Doni very well, but from the few times I have spoken with her, I know that she loves her children VERY much - including the 10 that through no fault of her own did not survive until birth. It is very frustrating to me that anyone would say such horrible things about such a nice person. It is even more sad though that you might actually think or feel that way, not having enough love in your heart to keep you from saying such hurtful things.
Erik,
You have every right to your opinions, and to express them freely, however; I highly suggest you research the facts from which you derived these opinions, before making such grossly exaggerated and inaccurate statements. To say that one of the most loving and generous women in the entire world would “send her babies to death” is just hurtful and unnecessary.
Sincerely,
Christine B.
Everyone -

Christine B writes, I highly suggest you research the facts from which you derived these opinions, before making such grossly exaggerated and inaccurate statements.

What facts do you feel I'm ignoring? Here are the the main facts I've presented:

a. The best medical technology today can only ensure the survival of, at best, one third of frozen embryos.

b. Medical technology is rapidly advancing and it's not unreasonable to believe that in a few decades that survival rate could be nearly 100%.

So, I suggest that nobody who understands those two facts could sincerely think they are on a "rescue mission" by attempting to bring them to term using present technology which all but guarantees that well over half will fail to become full term human beings.

Patti S offered a logical solution while trying to take a shot at me, "What in the world do you think would have happened to those 10 embryos otherwise? They would have been trashed or stayed frozen forever. I guess you would prefer they be used for experiments."

What's wrong with being patient if one believes these embryos are people with rights like you and I?

Shauna writes, It is even more sad though that you might actually think or feel that way, not having enough love in your heart to keep you from saying such hurtful things.

I explained how I feel in the original post, " I'm a big fan of adoption, but don't consider the actions Donielle Brinkman took to be immoral. What she does with her ability/inability to reproduce with or without the aid of science is none of my business. But I fail to understand how she can avoid feeling guilty about these 10 babies she thinks died so she could experience pregnancy." (and I use adoption in the traditional sense, not also as a synonym for third party IVF as some have recently begun to use it, changing the well accepted definition).

Heidi Jo -

It seems our difference is irreconcilable for the moment: I don't consider a fertilized egg to be a person, you do. Until we can objectively make that determination, it's best for the federal government to stay out.

I listen attentively to speculation of what would happen if Roe v Wade were overturned, but it would seem to create just as many problems as it would solve - for instance could a state forbid a citizen from obtaining an abortion in another state?

Doni -

I am glad we both have confidence in the adoption of babies the birth mother choses not to raise. We can make our own adoption laws less cumbersome and aid organizations that facilitate international adoptions. Some have even suggested a 10K tax credit for adoptive families. The more attractive the adoption option is, the more children will grow up in loving homes and the less attractive the abortion option will be. Each congress there are bills up to make adoption easier ... I can't find it now, but recall browsing a non-profit site that kept track of all the adoption related legislation. Will post if I find it again.
I think ANY form of adoption is great... my husband and I went through years of infertility and are STILL on a waiting list to foster adopt.... been on it for over 2 years now.... embryo adoption takes far less time...
To adopt from China BOTH parents have to be at least 30... this rules my husband and myself out for that... as does the 30$ needed to do it.... attacking someone for wanting to "experience" pregnancy" is cruel.... you have no idea the longing to feel life in your belly... or to hold a child in your arms the FASTEST way possible (short of kid napping one).
I don't judge you for your opinions.. .they are your right.. and I appreciate the fact you allow people here to debate them with you...
Donni, I'm happy for you. Snowflake is an alternative choice that should be available. Birth of a wanted child is a beautiful thing. I hope that you and Tanner are doing well.

I also can appreciate Erik's muse with the irony of the ethics.

Others have presented the relative risk of embrionic implantation. You also must know that snowflake will probably never attempt to bring embryos to term. What are there? Like 600 embryo adoptions, out of about 45,000 embryos in cryonic state? How many of these adoptions are just manipulated by politic, where the embryo will be stuck between the leftovers and ravioli?

I don't buy the argument that embryos are fully human. I believe they are part of a biological process toward humanity. Embryos to uterus implantation become fetuses. A fetus, with some luck and good health care will become a baby.

I believe the irony that Erik has blogged on is the pragmatism of the ethical dilema. Most of these embryos are going to be flushed down the toilet, rather than being brought to term or in anyway contributing to the human condition.
Doni and her children are alive, happy, and loved and have made it through a lot of yearning and faith with much support ... and Doni was able to experience pregnancy and childbirth. It's really an incredibly heart-warming story. That is the easiest and greatest thing to understand about this topic, and I applaud the way Doni and her family's efforts have unfolded; with beautiful children who will grow up loved and respected in a free country.

HOWEVER, I also believe that Erik's point was directed more towards the fact that all parties were manipulated for reasons beyond the beauty of their personal experience by an administration that has shown little regard for human life -- callously manipulating good people's beliefs (like those of Doni's and her family) while thousands of innocent lives are being lost in Iraq and elsewhere for a cause based on blatant LIES. I believe that is the point of this topic. It angers me to see good people like Doni and her family paraded and used by hypocritical killers who claim to support a "culture of life". Their family doesn't deserve that kind of betrayal. It's sick.

It is so good to see such thoughtful and obviously loving and compassionate people defend their loved one and her family, with points well taken. I'm just sorry that good people get innocently caught up in the unforgiveable manipulation that is going on in broad daylight right before our eyes with this administration. God help us all -- I'm praying daily for everyone of us.

Erik is pointing out hypocracy ... it is not an easy task, but one done by a person with perseverance who loves this country and our freedoms. Unfortunately, the story of Doni and her family is caught in the middle, like all of us.

So, that's my two cents .... best of luck to Doni and her wonderful family (I'm not kidding -- I really mean it) ... and best of luck to the good citizens of this country in pulling the blinders off, taking a deep breath, and realizing that they've been had yet still have each other ...
I have some points that I would like to make and some questions I would like to ask.

Point #1.) It is scientifically proven that at the time of conception (at most, 24 hrs. later), there is a heart beat of the newly created embryo.

Question #1.) If a creature, no matter what it is, human or otherwise, has a heart and it's beating, is it not living?

Point #2.) When a heart stops beating (obviously, permanently), a creature is pronounced dead. Sorry so blunt.

Question #2.) If a creature dies, it had to at one point be living, correct?

I am very big in the pro-life side of things, however I do see the need for a cure for diseases. But I don't think the death of an innocent "creature" is the way to go about it. This "creature" is defensless and can't fight for itself, so isn't that an unfair battle? That's like a Junior High bully picking on a kindergartener. It's an unfair match.

When that "creature" has grown and is capable of defending itself, then direct the subject of ESCR toward them and see how they truly feel. They will be able to tell you their opinion simply because they weren't murdered and were allowed to live the life they started from within 24 hours of conception.

-C
OPS my former comment should have said 30K not 30$!

Sammie
Eric,
You say that you don't see how Doni doesn't feel guilty about the 10 that died so she could experience pregnancy. If her only intentions were to experience pregnancy, and her intentions were not to give these embryos a chance at life, then wouldn't she have abandoned these embryos when they didn't show a high survival rate. If you will read her comments to you, she had herself examined to make sure her womb was not a problem. If she selfishly only wanted to experience pregnancy, then she wouldn't have cared what happened to the other 10, instead, she grieved deeply over their loss. I can tell you right now that her intentions went way beyond wanting to experience pregnancy - she wanted to give them a chance at life. And although only one survived, his life is worth it. How can you look at pictures of Tanner and say the things you have said about his mother? Also, 15% - 20% of ALL pregnancies end in miscarriage. Should we just stop having babies all together and wait on science, which currently only has a 20% - 50% chance of "growing" embryos to a 5 or 6 day blastocyst. You have no guarantee that science will ever be able to "grow" humans to viability. Every pregnancy whether from natural conception or FET has a chance at a live birth with a healthy baby that gets to grow up and experience life. Yet you suggest we wait on the POSSIBILITY that science will be able to do it better in the future. To me, that is ridiculous - you have no guarantees for the future of science, but a loving mother and her womb guarantee at least a chance at life right now. I had a FET with 2 embryos, and both survived, I now have happy healthy 2 year old twins. 100% survival rate. By God's grace alone, and not because of anything I did, both of my babies survived. Listening to your logic, they would still be frozen waiting for a better chance - which wouldn't have been any better. It is true that no one knows what their FET results will be, but no one knows what their natural pregnancy results will be either, nor do we know whether we will die today, tomorrow, or 60 years from now. That is life - and that is exactly what we are trying to offer to these embryos - a chance at life. By the way, are you a foster parent, or have you adopted a child? If you have, then I am glad that you are trying to help the "already born chidren" that you say deserve top priority. But whether you have adopted or fostered a child or not, you really shouldn't criticize people who have adopted - and are actively helping these children. I have 2 adopted chidren from foster care, and have been a foster parent for 8 years. And you are right to say that these children desperately need loving, stable homes. And it has been my joy to be able to love these children for the past 8 years. But my twins deserved just as much as these "already born" children did - a warm, safe, loving environment to grow up in. I agree with you whole heartedly that we need to provide loving homes for the chidren in foster care, and the "already born" children waiting to be adopted. But that doesn't mean we should turn our backs on the pre-born children who also also deserve a chance at a loving home.
Hi Erik,

Just wanted to clarify my comment. I wasn't referring to the science of embryonic adoption. I was refering to the fact that you stated my sister-in-law would knowingly harm her children by sending them to her "uturus of death".

Christine
There is just so much I would like to respond to but I lack the time and late night energy at the moment... besides, I just don't see there being a resolution with some of the individuals writing here. I will respond to Erik though - you said:
"It seems our difference is irreconcilable for the moment: I don't consider a fertilized egg to be a person, you do. Until we can objectively make that determination, it's best for the federal government to stay out."

1. I agree with the first sentence - we are at an impass that can't be bridged unless one of us lets go of the foundation of our beliefs on who and what embryos are. It's clear to me that scientifically human eggs fertilized by human sperms create human cells. Those cells, if they continue to grow and not die, are living. Those cells continue to grow in the right environment (presumably a mother's womb at first) to live through all differnent stages of life as a fetus, infant, toddler, adolescent, adult, middle-aged...etc. Live human embryos are living human beings - science proves it. The question remains - are they assigned personhood and if not then, when are they? Can you name the date?
2. I do not agree that since we have differing opinions that can't be resolved then the government should stay out. In fact, it is ESPECIALLY BECAUSE we can not agree that someone should step in to create laws that protect life. We can disagree on all sorts of things that don't matter and will never change the world... but if there is any chance whatsoever that embryos really are lives that deserve protection, shouldn't we take THAT chance? If we are going to make a mistake about whether human embryos are really people or not shouldn't we risk the error being on the side of caution? It just seems like the most ethical AND logical thing to me to consider embryos as life worth protecting until someone can prove otherwise - not the other way around. When it comes to humanity - always risk on the side of protecting life.

As to the commenter who is so intent on listing all the reasons our current gov't administration is "hoodwinking" everyone into believing he's fighting for life... all I can do is really shake my head. If he was truly trying to pull the wool over our eyes in order to win votes or whatever it is you think he's trying to do, he certainly could have taken an easier path! Fighting for unborn children has become a very difficult fight in recent years - whether it be regarding various aspects of abortion, IVF, cloning, or embryonic stem cell research. If he was trying to win the majority with so-called lies I'm sure he could have found an easier path and chosen less controversial subjects or perspectives.

You comment also on a war "based on lies" but that would take way to much to really properly respond to. I will say this: As the wife of a military member I can say I fully support our President and our troops in the war on terrorism - whether it's here on the homefront or in Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm thankfully somebody is doing something to clear out even a little bit of the evil that has been devastating lives for too many years.

PS - Erik, I responded to your arguement about encouraging science to clean up it's own mess on Doni's site. I agree they should but not at the expense of more embryos. And in order for them to find greater success in bringing embryos to full term pregnancy age in a lab rather than a womb - I have NO DOUBT whatsoever that it would be at the expense of thousands of more lives of preborn children. (That's just a highlight of my thoughts on the subject).

Once again, I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to respond to your article. It will always be a subject worthy discussion.

PS - I do still wish you would change your mind about saying Doni sent her babies to their deaths... the fact of her story (which are medically documented) prove otherwise. It does seem a rather blatantly cruel thing to say to a mother who wants to lovingly raise her family and give life to little ones. I hope you'll reconsider and at least concede on that point. :)
I have one simple word to sum up Erik's comments: Mysogynistic.
Let me add one more term to aid in understanding Erik: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He is replying to his own posts, what else can I say?
Eric,
I was shocked when I read your posting regarding Doni and her walk down the path of choosing life. There could not have been more joyous celebration when the transfers resulted in "being pregnant". To the same, when the babies miscarried she struggled to understand why and the heartbreak was almost too much to bear. But she always relied on her faith and often she was giving hope to everyone around her. She is an amazing and resilient woman who know and trusts in her Lord. Tanner is a real blessing and he brings such joy to their family. How they would have loved to have more of the FET's survive and joined their family with their brother, Tanner. That was not to be. But then Ty came along and again, their faith and stamina were tested as they kept the vigil at the hospital. The Brinkmans are an incredible family and they love their boys with unabashed dedication. Thank Heaven for people like them and all the others who choose to adopt, whether it is through the Snowflake program, babies and children born and up for adoption or the other adoption of fertility options. They all deserve that chance to experience life.

Her uterus was not a vehicle for death, it was a vehicle for life, and the reward for that is an incredible little boy named Tanner.

Kathleen
Shauna says, "You say that you don't see how Doni doesn't feel guilty about the 10 that died so she could experience pregnancy. If her only intentions were to experience pregnancy, and her intentions were not to give these embryos a chance at life, then wouldn't she have abandoned these embryos when they didn't show a high survival rate. If you will read her comments to you, she had herself examined to make sure her womb was not a problem."

As I understand it, Doni's fist attempt at third-party IVF resulted in a successful pregnancy; this was followed by three unsuccessful attempts. This is not an unexpectedly low success rate, which is my main point: one knows that with the best technology available today most attempts at bringing implanted embryos ("people") to term will not be successful ("kill people").

Shauna also says, "Yet you suggest we wait on the POSSIBILITY that science will be able to do it better in the future. To me, that is ridiculous - you have no guarantees for the future of science, but a loving mother and her womb guarantee at least a chance at life right now."

You are right, I speak of the not unreasonable possibility that in the near future, third-party IVF will enjoy significantly higher success rates - and we will probably be able to correct flaws in embryos. I would be happy to make a monetary contribution to the charity of your choice if after ten years pass I am wrong if you will do the same for me if I am right. Contact me ( gozz@gozz.com ) if this sounds interesting.

PS to Shauna: again, you will note in my original post I explicitly state that I find no fault with Doni's actions, I am questioning the reasoning behind them.

Christine questions "the fact that you stated my sister-in-law would knowingly harm her children by sending them to her 'uturus of death'".

Ten embryos ("people") died in Doni's IVF experience, did they not? Same question to Kathleen.

Heidi Jo asks, "The question remains - are [fetuses] assigned personhood and if not then, when are they? Can you name the date?"

I can tell you my opinion, which I can later present an argument for: Until we can assuredly assign rights to a fetus through the scientific method, the time we ought to assign rights to a fetus is the week at which the fetus has a reasonable chance at surviving outside a woman's womb with the best technology available.

The reason the government ought not grant a fused sperm and egg personhood is because this is a radical view held by few Americans.

Dear StepOff -

So's your mamma.

Thanks to everybody that has entered into a thoughtful conversation.
"A person is a person, no matter how small."-- Dr. Suess, Horton hears a Who

Erik-

You said that you do not believe life begins at conception.I have only one question for you-- then when does it begin? You must choose some random point if you don't believe that when egg and sperm collide, those cells are human life. Is it when children can survive outside the womb? Medical science is continually pushing that timeframe back, so you better keep up on your research so you can know when life begins. I would hate to make a mistake and have an abortion at 23 weeks and then find that a doctor across the country had saved a baby that young...

The operating definition of whether or not someone is "living" seems to be whether or not they are "wanted".

None of us would be here if our mothers hadn't carried us in their wombs.

Regardless of whether or not you think that life begins at conception, the point is that if those cells are given their natural environment and aren't disturbed, a human is born. Messing with the process at any point affects the end result.

Why do you think so many people have posted to your site? Because they believe that unwanted children are being murdered. If that is true, it would be monstrous not to act.

By the way, I am waiting to adopt myself. I have been waiting for 6 months and have not yet received a single call. I could wait for years. Many people do. So don't portray infant adoption as lots of waiting babies. There are far more families than available infants.

A good day to you, sir. Thank you for being open to discussion.
Hey! I got it! We're so hung up on this debate about "when life begins" ... let's take that question of "when life begins" a step further and start a "Pro Half-Life" movement to federally protect all testicles and uterises and also urge folks to take on this motto: "You can have my gun or my uteris when you pry it from my cold dead fingers/body". Why not continue the hypocracy until it has reached the point of no return? It sure would make good TV!

What is wrong with people?! Mind your own business and your own body. Keep your hands off of mine. So many well-spoken "life begins at conception" arguments, so little talk of the reproductive rights that those like Donielle seem to take for granted.

And as far as mysogeny goes, how many men in this country would actually defend their right to bear ridiculous armaments to their death before they would ever lift a finger to keep the government's hands off their own wife's or mother's or sister's body?

And when you discover that a female in your family or circle of loved-ones was faced with the seriousness of making the decision to end a preganancy, how many of you would make a citizen's arrest and have them locked up? C'mon, people! How many priests or pastors have heard people of their congregations confess to having an abortion and how many of those priests or pastors would break their oaths and report that person to the authorities?

With all the senseless state sanctioned killing going on, all the starvation in the world, potentially cureable diseases, and environmental issues that lead to pre-mature death or suffering, why are we debating something as simple and common sensical as a woman's right to control her own body and what goes on inside it?

Extreme anti women's-right-to-choose arguments are a serious example of the intellectual and spiritually arrested development spreading like a cancer across this beautiful FREE country of ours. People are obviously not praying hard enough ....
I have gotten to know Erik pretty well from a message board and from his blog here. I can tell you from experience that he will not change the title of his article. He likes to get a rise out of people with his titles, but he always backs up his arguments with undisputable facts. Basically, I have noted in my dealings with him, that the reason he gets the biggest rise from people is because he is right, and the truth hurts, so people try use emotional arguments against his facts.

On this subject, I think Erik is right.
It's about time someone from "your" side finally stood up for your ugly comments. Doni is only trying to help never with intent to harm....never.
beth said:
"He likes to get a rise out of people with his titles, but he always backs up his arguments with undisputable facts."

always? that means he's ALWAYS right? clearly many of eric's points in this article are anything but fact. he is sharing his opinion on a subject and using false perceptions to back them up.
I stood up for Erik on THIS issue because I happen to agree with him on it. That does not mean I think he is always right. But he is very careful to be accurate in his facts and figures, from which he never needs to back down from because they are simply are the truth. If you choose to ignore the statistics, I suppose that is your choice, but it doesn't make you right.

BTW, I am very pro-life, but IVF and freezing unborn babies is wrong. Pope Benedict XVI agrees with me.
let me quote you again,
beth said:
"But he is very careful to be accurate in his facts and figures, from which he never needs to back down from because they are simply are the truth. "

Just because Erik says it is true doesn't make it fact. In regards to his story about Donielle Brinkman he clearly has his facts wrong - even Donielle's physicians can prove that. So, I'm not trying to be ugly - just simply clarifying that even Erik sometimes gets his facts a bit wrong.

"He likes to get a rise out of people with his titles, but he always backs up his arguments with undisputable facts."

I gathered that about the "rise out of people" - it's clear he has no intention of being concerned with getting his facts corrected - only that he make his point no matter the cost - slander, lies, or not. (And if his points in this article were really undisputable none of us would even be discussing the subject.)

Furthermore you say:
"BTW, I am very pro-life, but IVF and freezing unborn babies is wrong. Pope Benedict XVI agrees..."

We actually see eye to eye a little bit here - Freezing unborn babies is a dangerous thing and has made this mess messier for sure! If that had not happened in the first place there wouldn't be an urgency to give homes to these frozen babies. As to the Pope agreeing? Well, I'm glad about that but disagree with some of the Catholic churches stand on this issue... adopting frozen babies is not intended to further the problem but to resolve the current one. I say that as I've read that some Catholics don't believe adoption of frozen embryos should be allowed because it could further the problem. It would be best in my opinion to allow for adoption of the current frozen embryos while putting a stop to freezing more.
To Eric,
You say that you don't have a problem with Doni's actions (her third party IVF as you call it), and you say that her success rate is not unexpectedly low; so why did you call her womb a "womb of death"? If Doni's results were normal, then in your opinion, every woman who has "third party IVF" has a womb of death. Well, what is the difference between 3rd party IVF and traditional IVF - the embryos have been frozen. This science of freezing them is what causes them to have a lower survival rate - not people like Doni (and myself) choosing to have them put into our uterus. People that see embryos as life, most often do not support freezing them, because it often harms them. Instead of spending lots of money, and destroying many embryos lives for science to improve in this area, wouldn't it be better for IVF clinics to stop pushing their patients to create as many embryos as possible, but rather only what they are willing to transfer at that time? I am sure you won't agree with that statement, but it comes down to this - you are focussed on science and do not see these embryos as human life, and I (and Doni) do see these embryos as human life and are focussed on their lives. Also your statement earlier that life begins when science can sustain it outside the womb - I had a foster daughter that was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 lb. 8 oz., she was born 3 years ago. She is healthy today, but if she had been born 10 or 15 years ago, she probably wouldn't have survived. So was she a human 3 years ago, but 15 years ago she wouldn't have been? How can a fetus of the same gestational age be human one year, and not another? By the way, if you are only concerned with Doni's reasoning behind it - how do you know her reasons? Did you ask her? There is probably more to her motives than what you have read about her. Is it a crime that she wanted to experience pregnancy? Would you have questioned her motives if she had done traditional IVF? Why is it that you say mean things about Doni who chose embryo adoption, and you don't say anything about people who choose infertility treatments &/or IVF? Why are you not upset with people who choose to have their own biological kids - they chose not to do traditional adoption either - were these kids not good enough for them too? What about you? You still haven't answered my question - have you adopted? Are these kids good enough for you? I don't say that to be mean, but if you really feel that way, then by all means, adopt. But don't jump all over people like Doni (who by the way has adopted traditionally also) because she chose to adopt an embryo.
To Beth-
Pope Benedict XVI also says that life begins at conception. Therefore frozen embryos are lives. Shouldn't we reach out to those lives and give them what they need to grow - a womb. Wouldn't it be immoral to leave a known life to perish?
Eric,
I also meant to say earlier that I do support the growth of science and medical technology. I am also a nurse, and 6 months ago I lost a great friend, my patient for 4 years. She died of muscular dystrophy at the age of 21. I HATE that medical technology or science couldn't help her. I support the growth and development of science and technology - but not at the expense of human lives - lives no different than my own children.
BEth,
If your going to use the Pope and the Catholic Church as a frame of reference you have to take the ALL the Pope's and The Catholic Churches teaching....1. Life begins at conception 2. They are against taking any life (abortion and death penalty)
Yes, they are against IVF but embryo adoption no more supports IVF then does domestic adoption supports premartial sex (another church teaching).
The Catholic Church has NO official ruling on embryo adoption so PLEASE stop misrepresenting it as they do.
Thank you!
Anonymous Angry Person -

Beth is right - whoever told you the Roman Catholic church "has NO official ruling on embryo adoption" lied to you.

Here's the Vatican talkin',

A 2. DOES HETEROLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION CONFORM TO THE DIGNITY OF THE COUPLE AND TO THE TRUTH OF MARRIAGE?

Through IVF and ET and heterologous artificial insemination, human conception is achieved through the fusion of gametes of at least one donor other than the spouses who are united in marriage. Heterologous artificial fertilization is contrary to the unity of marriage, to the dignity of the spouses, to the vocation proper to parents, and to the child's right to be conceived and brought into the world in marriage and from marriage ..."

Anonymous -

I wish you'd say what facts you think I'm getting wrong when you say I get my facts wrong (such as you specifically pointed to what you were disputing about Beth's points) . I'd rather have a conversation with you than hear you vent. Thanks.

Jason -

I respond to you in the second link below. Thanks for the comments.

Comments are wandering off in different directions. Please check this post on abortion in general and this one on the rationality and ethics of using third party IVF to "rescue" embryos before commenting here. Thanks.

Shauna asks, "If Doni's results were normal, then in your opinion, every woman who has "third party IVF" has a womb of death."

IU answer, because any womb is going to kill more embryos than it brings to term.

Shauna also asks, Also your statement earlier that life begins when science can sustain it outside the womb - I had a foster daughter that was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 lb. 8 oz., she was born 3 years ago. She is healthy today, but if she had been born 10 or 15 years ago, she probably wouldn't have survived. So was she a human 3 years ago, but 15 years ago she wouldn't have been?

I answer that here. Short answer: something being human and something being a person with rights are two different things. Maybe discuss that in the post I link to.

Again, Shauna, "Is it a crime that she wanted to experience pregnancy?"

I believe this is the third or so time I've pointed to my original post where I say I don't consider the actions Donielle Brinkman took to be immoral. What she does with her ability/inability to reproduce with or without the aid of science is none of my business.

Regarding whether I've adopted or not, my personal life experience has no bearing on facts and logic which are sound.
One last question for you Erik (I think):)
Why did you write this article?
Because I wanted to share my thoughts with others.

Putting my thoughts in writing helps me to sharpen them and sometimes leads to discourse which I enjoy.

Why do you ask?
Eric,
You say any womb is going to kill more embryo's than it brings to term. First of all, no womb kills the baby - the babies die for various reasons, like being frozen before transplanted, genetic problems, etc. Also, I had 2 frozen embryos transferred, and gave birth to twins. No deaths, 2 live births. So fact is that not "every womb kills more embryos than it brings to term"
You say that Doni's ability/inability to reproduce with or without the aid of science is none of your business - then with all due respect - stay out of her business and stop saying horrible things about her and her reproductive choices.
You don't want to share with me your personal life experience as to whether you have adopted or not, but you have no problem criticizing Doni for her personal life experience. Doesn't she deserve the same respect as you do concerning her personal life?
Also, you mention facts and logic which are sound. Saying Doni has a womb of death is neither fact nor logic that is sound:
Facts:
1. Doni carried Tanner in her womb to term.
2. The 10 she lost, the Dr.s determined to be of no physical fault of her womb.
3. The 10 that she lost died from other reasons such as possible genetic defects, or having been frozen too long.
You know, I enjoy a debate as much as the next person, and I know what you mean about writing helping you sharpen your thoughts. But is it really worth it to write something so cruel about someone for the sake of you sharpening your thoughts?
Shauna -

Doni recently took part in a political photo-op and agreed to be interviewed regarding her political views by major newspapers. She has testified before at least one legislative body and agreed to let the Right to Life people to use her son as a poster child in political material.

She's by any definition a political activist and I believe can stand up for herself quite well. To chide me for blogging about her is frankly quite odd!

Congratulations for being two successful pregnancies for two embryo transfers. Let me correct myself by amending my quote so as to be prefaced with "with extraordinary exceptions, when attempting to 'rescue' multiple frozen embryos, ..."

If your experience were the rule instead of a extraordinarily fortunate exception, your argument would trump mine, but as it is, I think I've written enough on this topic for my meaning to be clear.

To quote your ...

"Facts:
1. Doni carried Tanner in her womb to term.
2. The 10 she lost, the Dr.s determined to be of no physical fault of her womb.
3. The 10 that she lost died from other reasons such as possible genetic defects, or having been frozen too long.


I can agree with all that. None of it addresses my argument which is summed up by a fourth point which I believe is impossible to disagree with:

4. The rescue attempt was 9% successful, 10 out of 11 embryos ("people") perishing in the rescue operation.

Is #4 a fact or not? Thanks.

To answer your question about adoption, no, I have not adopted, but I am adopted myself. As I stated earlier, I was an unwanted pregnancy, my birthmom put me up for immediate anonymous adoption when she was 14. I've since tracked down her and her current family and all parties agree that things couldn't have worked out better.

Again, I don't see how my life experience has any bearing on our debate.
Doni does speak out about what she believes in, and I have no doubt that she can stand up for herself. But just as she chose to speak publicly, you chose to make the statement on here that "it is more important to take care of unwanted born babies than frozen embryos". I do think your life experience has a bearing on our debate:
1. You are adopted, and that is probably why you feel "born" babies deserve to be adopted more than embryos.
2. If you had been adopted as an embryo, you would probably feel it is just as important for embryos to be adopted.
3. I find it odd that you are criticizing Doni for which children she chooses to adopt (as if she has turned her back on born babies waiting to be adopted) when you have not adopted any children at all. (why should she be criticized for turning her back on them, and not you, or anyone else?)

As to the facts previously listed; your #4 may be true, but your comment that she should feel guilty about her womb of death is proven false by #3. Sadly 10 people did perish - but it was other factors, and not her womb that caused their deaths, therefore your statement about her womb of death is false.
Even scientists have said that after a period of time that cryopreservation harms the embryos beyond what they can fix. For Doni to have waited longer to transfer them, quite possibly could have caused further damage to them, possibly even Tanner. Having said that, I feel like we have talked enough about Doni and her children. Whether she chooses to talk about it publicly or not, it is her private, personal life.
Lastly let me say - science can only get you so far. As a nurse I have seen people at the end of their life, and it is not science that they look to at that point - it is God. Because after life here on earth, science gets you no where. And as to life here on earth God created science and we as humans will never be smart enough to understand all that He has created and set in motion. Science may improve every day, but at its core are scientists who are merely human. Although they may grow smarter every day, to try to be smarter than God is only to set yourself up for destruction. We will probably disagree on that too, but in the end I will stand up for my friends, I will stand up for my children - adopted before and after birth, and I will definately stand up for my God who has blessed me with all that I have.
Although we have disagreed, I value you as a person too, and I hope that one day you can understand my views on life and God. To me, your views on life mean death for embryos like my babies once were. I don't know your views on God, but they are obviously below science which you talk frequently about, and I really hope that one day you can know God like I know Him. :)
What I really want to know is why did you write this particular article (I could have guessed the rest about sharpening your mind, enjoying conversation, etc.)... why this specific subject, why attack the Brinkmans? You could have just as easily discussed the subjects of embryos, life, adoption, and more without attacking their family. Why?
Shauna -

Since you're psychoanalyzing my life experience, I'll throw you a curve-ball: Why am I pro-choice as a person who was born to a 14 year old and who's birth mother and her parents discussed the abortion option?

PS: Back at cha! I really hope that one day you can know God like I know Him! 1 John 1:5-7
Heidi Jo -

You ask, "You could have just as easily discussed the subjects of embryos, life, adoption, and more without attacking their family."

First, I try to never attack people except in jest, however I love attacking ideas I find flawed. Sorry if you find some ad hominum which has not been intended.

Since this post, I've made another on the rationality and ethics of using third party IVF and another concerning abortion in general. I'd love to hear your thoughts - I created them as this seemed a real hot topic, so I'd like to go deeper with everybody.

I feel silly explaining why I made a particular blog entry, so will answer your questions generally:

a. I read a lot of news and get the desire to blog some of it.
b. If I wrote as you suggest, never using provocative language and tip toeing around public figure's feelings, I believe my blog wouldn't be as interesting. Certainly none of us who have met in this thread would have met!
Erik, am I correct if I say that I hear you saying, because the rescue attempt may only be 9% successful then there is no reason to attempt to rescue them at all, just destroy them?! Tell that to all the cancer patients, terminally ill people, etc. in this world who have a certain percent chance of being saved from their situation. Just because the percentage may be low, doesn't mean that they don't deserve a chance. What those of us who support protecting these embryos believe is, they DESERVE A CHANCE! If they are used for research they have no chance, not to mention the fact that SO FAR the chances embryo stem cells would produce a useful treatment for illness is 0%. The use of adult stem cells is much more successful. If the government is going to use my money to fund any kind of stem cell research, use it on the kind that has already proven to WORK and absolutely don't destroy any life on this research. Bottom line, these embryo's are life and deserve a chance to LIVE.
The embryo should never be created in the first place, then you wouldn't have to "rescue" them!
Beth has a point - but fortunately many embryos are being loved through adoption - not only by the parents who will carry and raise them - but also by the genetic parents who lovingly choose to place them in the arms of families. The ones needing rescuing are those at risk of being destroyed and researched upon. Thank you genetic families for choosing life for your little ones and not leaving them frozen or allowing them to be destroyed. You have chosen from what is beautiful and good.

Eric, you and I have once again come to an impass. You say, "First, I try to never attack people except in jest, however I love attacking ideas I find flawed." but it is very clear to me (and others) that you attacked the Brinkman family - not just an idea. You used their name, their children, their gift of life, the very core of all they hold dear in their beliefs, you told falsities about them as if they were facts and still have not recanted at least that part (your incorrect facts)... you do not know the Brinkman's and have no idea how deep their heartache has gone in the last few years - you have said cruel and hurtful things that cut to the heart of all their grief and tears.

You view this as an attack on ideas - where I see it clearly as both - an attack on ideas but also an attack on fellow humans who simply desire to show love and grace. And by the way - they have shown grace beautifully in this situation.

You and I have stayed respectful of one another all the way through this discussion - and I intend to stay respectful now. I simply do not and will not agree with you for using the Brinkman's in such an unkind way. I won't continue to debate on this aspect of things either because there is no way I will see eye to eye with you on this one (unless you come to agree with me and change your tune). :) I don't suspect that will happen so I'll just close the door and not ask again. I was curious as to your answer and now I know. Thanks for answering.

Shauna - you have heart girl! I hear you well and love what your family has done in loving our little ones.
Heidi Jo, Mrs. Brickman has decided to publicize her actions and hold them up to be an example of the what she thinks is right. Erik has simply used her example to show what he thinks is wrong and why.
beth - wrong again - i don't know how to be anymore clear about this. he did NOT use the brinkman's story or life events as an example... he used his interpretation of their story with incorrect "facts" as an example. things he said are factually & literally untrue and there is documentation to prove it. i'm not talk about his opinion on the various issues surrounding embryos/life/adoption, etc... i'm talking specifically about the words used by Erik to describe the Brinkman's story - he has his facts wrong. refusing to correct that makes his words slanderous, cruel, and not to be ugly, but lies.
Heidi Jo -

People keep telling me I am getting facts wrong.

Can you enumerate what facts I'm getting wrong? Thanks.
Anonymous asks, "Erik, am I correct if I say that I hear you saying, because the rescue attempt may only be 9% successful then there is no reason to attempt to rescue them at all, just destroy them?"

I'll repeat the point I've made again, shuffling the words around in hopes my meaning will be understood this time:

Next year, third party IVF will enjoy a higher success rate. The thawing process may improve as well. And the year after that and the year after that. I am confident in the not too distant future, one will be able to extract DNA from an embryo and be able to guarantee nearly a 100% success rate with the resulting pregnancy.

If the idea is to rescue embryos ("people") from a cryogenically frozen state, the "rescue attempt" should not be attempted with the technology we have now, but tomorrow.
Erik,
Doni clearly answered that question with her initial response to your article.
Heidi Jo
Erik -

Boy - if you and I went head to head on all this stuff it would take up our whole darn day wouldn't it? I appreciate that several people have come to my defense as you launched your attack against one of my deepest griefs - the loss of my children. Having said that I do agree with both you and Beth on at least this point...I did ask for it. I can't claim anonymity now after standing behind the leader of the free world on this:). It seems strange to read that I am now a "public figure" and a "political activist/lobbyist"...but I can't argue that this does seem to define me at this point.

I feel God prepared me since childhood to speak up on behalf of life and I must follow that leading even if the end result is 100,000 blog articles written with the intent to patronize, and discredit. I am not one to back down under pressure:) so I will trust that God's grace will cover me as I continue on. I feel compelled to stand up for life, even at the earliest stages and I do realize that is going to make me a target. That doesn't make it any fun:), but it is an expected outcome.

Also, I want to point out (mainly to Beth) that I agree on the cryopreservation point. That is why my husband and I did not go that route - we felt it would put lives at risk. Adopting them though is not supporting the "market" anymore than (as was already stated) it would be to adopt born children from those that conceived out of wedlock. As for the Catholic church...I think the point is being misrepresented here. (And btw, I had no idea Alan Cooperman was launching a debate between the Catholics and Evangelicals in his article - I would have had him talk to my friends that are catholic and snowflake mom's). What Erik quoted is applicable to IVF but I don't think it has any merit as applied to embryo ADOPTION. If it did, the Catholics would have to stop supporting domestic adoption (which would be a violation of scripture) following that same logic I think that ultimately the Catholic powers that be will support embryo adoption while still adhering to their opposition to IVF. They won't have to support IVF to acknowledge that irregardless of the method of conception, real lives HAVE been created and now they need parents.

Erik...I am not missing your point. I recognize that your viewpoint is that I am guilty of murder (based on MY definition of murder) because I knowingly transferred embryos into my womb when statistics for their survival are low. Your accusation is meant to patronize and attempt to draw attention to what you would define as hypocrisy. I have already answered quite clearly in my posting why I find your line of reasoning to be invalid and irrational. I am not confused about your point. I simply give your point on this one zero credit.

I have to admit, it is a struggle for me to not engage in debate with you (especially when it comes to scripture :). HOWEVER, I have to be cautious of where I spend my time and gauge the productivity of that time spent AND I fear that my intent to debate is most likely rooted in my own human pride. I am not afraid to venture the deep - I can go there and my nature pleads with me to jump into this with you but I know that it would be without purpose. We will end up in the same place...impasse. I am a person of purpose and don't think it is wise for me to spend too much time in discussions that merit little long term benefit. Based on that, I likely won't jump into your other threads (though I admit I have to fight the temptation:). My former 25 weeker is now wanting mommy so I must be off. I must echo Shauna on this, based on YOUR logic thank GOD that Ty was not delivered before technology could save him or you would have denied him "personhood". Tragic.

Thank you for clarifying one point that I always wish the pro-choice camp would just be honest about. In the end, this discussion is not about beginning of life - it is about right of personhood. That is an entirely different discussion and I appreciate that you were honest on this point.

Doni
Doni -

I understood from reading your website and your first comment here that we agree that given the premise that an embryo is a person, one must conclude that an unsuccessful attempt at IVF is a death. I don't think "hypocrisy" is the best way to describe my original observations, rather a great deal of "tunnel vision" in the presidential press conference you partook in: there is no hint of anything pointing to your grief that came with the procedures you underwent. He used your experience as an example of his statement, " In the complex debate over embryonic stem cell research, we must remember that real human lives are involved," without mentioning the 10 embryo you call "[my] babies" and "Tanner's siblings". Indeed he followed up by stating, "Research on stem cells derived from human embryos may offer great promise, but the way those cells are derived today destroys the embryo."

So "tunnel vision" is more appropriate than "hypocrisy" - and not even tunnel vision on your part. I just think you let your family be used in a dishonest way.

Has the President ever expressed that he shares your grief over those ten embryos? Is he aware of it, do you think?

On the Vatican's position on all this, I'll just post two excerpts from the Catechism that are more clearly worded, if more general than what I posted previously,

Parahraph 2376,

Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other.

And the following paragraph ...

Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act ...

This is not to say the Roman Catholic beliefs will not change - this is one of the things I admire about Catholics - they are unafraid to change with the times, although they have been way too slow on many important issues.

Thanks for continuing this conversation. I've spent a lot of time on it too, but I enjoy discussing ideas, so it's no loss for me!

Take care.
All I have to say is, if you haven't experience infertility yourself and gone through all the struggles and pain that come with it, don't presume to pass judgement on anyone who has. Today there are so many choices facing a couple who wants children and can't go about it the traditional way. The difficulty in making choices between treatment, adoption, embryo adoption, etc. is heart wrenching, all of them come with risks, incredible risks. The biggest gamble is with your heart. The grief and pain that comes with infertility is more than you can imagine if you haven't been through it yourself.

I know your oppinions differ from so many of the posters here and from Doni's oppinions as well. She and many of the others respect that. I have seen you explain your position and that's fine if that's what you believe. What I haven't seen you do is publicly appologize to Doni for the things you said about her, all of which were not true. Not only did you insult all those people in Washington calling them something like raving mad, but you went on to bash Doni in particular for the choices she made, which I might add, you know nothing about really.

In addition I'd like to know if you prefer that these embryos be used for stem cell research or preserved until we can be sure they have a %100 chance of survival? Which by the way is absolutely impossible. Nothing can be 100%.

Also, since the success rates are so low for IVF and Frozen embryo transfer, then you deem those using these proceedures to be sending these babies to death. Therefore anyone who tries to have children, knowing those children may not make it to birth and survive is killing their kids, in your oppinion? If this is the case, then we ought to outlaw sex. It isn't 100% successful either, the actual number of natural conceptions that do not result in the birth of a baby is unknown. Many women miscarry never knowing they were pregnant, which means the real rate of miscarriage is really higher and the actual success rate could be about the same as that of IVF. We are all sending our babies to wombs of death, stop the sex!

Come on, think in terms of reality here. There is no way anyone can guarantee that any embryo will survive, whether conceived naturally or in a lab or wherever. I'd also like to see something about anyone even trying to create the technology to grow babies in a lab. Show me something cause I think it is absolutely ludicrous.
Erik -

Okay, kiddies are down and I just couldn't resist it!:). Yes you understood me correctly. Failed IVF (defined as fertilization occurred but that the embryo(s) did not survive to term) equates to the death of living and unique human individuals. Lives that deserve to be mourned. I did mourn. I mourned deeply. I am not following your dishonesty point. You said you saw no sign of grief with the procedures I underwent. I am not following you there. Do you mean that you hear my joy over Tanner publicly but not my sorrow over those lost? If that is the case, I think there are two reasons for that. First, the attention is usually centered on the joy of Tanner and he is indeed one of the greatest blessings of my life. Do you assume that those who miscarry mention their losses in every conversation about their living children? If they do not share their grief publicly, do you assume they do not (did not) grieve? I’ll address this further later.

Secondly, with nearly every discussion I have had with the media, with journalists, and in my own writing I discuss my grief over my miscarriages including the embryo that lost his/her life because of the cryopreservation process. I am finding that it is nearly impossible to be represented accurately. You are a perfect point of reference (I'll describe why in a moment). Earlier in the week I did an interview with a journalist from our local paper and the subject of my miscarriages and my grief came up. Was that written about? Nope. Was my grief mentioned? Nope. I found it very frustrating that in today's article the journalist mentioned that had our embryos thawed while in the cryopreservation tank, they would have been rendered "useless". That was an obvious avoidance tactic on his part. I said DIED. Did he repeat that? No he did not. He used the term “rendered useless” in an attempt to dehumanize the embryos. If your point here is (and maybe I am misunderstanding you) that much is said about those that lived but little is said about those that died...than I agree. I share that concern and am frustrated that the media edits the heck out of what I actually say. When a mom suffers a miscarriage it is such a private pain. No one else feels that pain as significantly. I often encounter snowflake mom's who carried embryos that did not survive to implantation. They are not validated for having a "miscarriage" because implantation did not occur. This is a faulty definition of the revised medical term of “pregnancy” and has no bearing on the loss itself. The result? Mother’s mourning the deaths of real lives they carried and feeling totally alone in their grief. Grief is such a heavy burden but grief carried alone is even heavier.

As for your question in regards to the President….you don’t actually think I got to sit down at a table and discuss this do you? LOL. As I can’t quote a conversation that did not take place between him and I directly, I can only say this. He has adamantly defended that embryos deserve human protection. If he were not sympathetic to the loss of human lives in their earliest stages of development, he would not be taking this issue on so publicly and threatening the first veto of his career. And no, I do not believe this is a ploy to gain the support of the Christian right (but I am trying to avoid a sidetrack and that political point will surely sidetrack).

As for the Vatican remarks....good research on your part:). I don't support denying a person their genetic heritage either which is why I hoped for open adoptions. I appreciate the comments made and hear the heart of them (even though they may not completely mirror my personal opinion) HOWEVER the issue remains. The only option left is to ignore those lives cryopreserved (I doubt the Catholic church would support your long term plan of test tube babies grown to a live birth;). If they choose not to support embryo adoption, what would their solution be for those lives cryopreserved? They must feel a sense of accountability towards this issue so I don't see how they could defend opposition to the only current solution that would give those lives a chance. I don't think this is an issue one can afford to be legalistic about because there are lives in the balance.

One last subject to broach this fine evening and then I'll be off:). There has been a circular argument going round and round and it has yet to be specifically addressed and since I am at the root of it, I am going to take the time to detail it. Those that are supporting me have continually called you into account for your misrepresentations yet you are not acknowledging accountability. You have repeatedly asked for a defense about what you misstated. Apparently, I was not specific enough in my initial rebuttal so I will give this one more go round. We'll go point by point:)

Your first point was that I believe that an embryo is a person that deserves the rights of personhood (protection). On THAT point you are correct. (1 in 1)

Your second point - "Donielle knows her uterus is likely to kill any embryo that finds its way in. According to my many lab tests and the professional opinion of my Dr.s, it would not be accurate to state that my UTERUS was likely to KILL any embryo. You could have still made your point without this misrepresentation by stating “Donielle knows that statistically only 25% to 30% of embryos implanted will survive to term”. That would have been accurate. I did know that. You did not say that. (1 in 2)

Your third point - "An already born unwanted child is not good enough for her to adopt". Wow. This one truly amazes me because by your own admittance in your comments you acknowledged that you knew I HAD in fact adopted a born child. I can only assume that your point is that BOTH of my children "should have been" (by your estimation) domestically adopted. Your point that a born child is not "good" enough is completely rendered invalid by the fact that I did domestically adopt. This comment you made is incredibly offensive to me Erik. A child adopted domestically IS EVERY BIT AS SIGNIFICANT as a child of the womb - in ANY circumstance. One of the things that was so awesome about Ty's adoption was to absolutely know in my heart what I had always known in my head. It makes NO difference. I can honestly state that after having the incredible blessing of Tanner and Ty I have no desire for genetic children. There is no way on this side of heaven I could love any child MORE than the two miracles I have. I could not love one more than the other either. Let’s summarize this. You state you knew I domestically adopted. You state that an already born child was not good enough for me to adopt. Is this an issue of temporary loss of memory on your part or are you stating that I believed my Ty was not good enough and is secondary to Tanner? You must know, that these kinds of comparisons would be fighting words to the heart of a mommy. (1 in 3)

Your fourth point actually contained a part (a) and (b). First you are back to the uterus of death comment. Already addressed that. Second, you can't understand why I don't feel "guilty". You believe I should feel guilty because of the known statistical argument. I can only count part (a) in the score because part (b) was simply your opinion. Maybe it is unfair to count the same point against you twice but you went through the trouble to restate your point twice so I am going to dock you for it on point 4 as well;) (1 in 4)

Your fifth point is contained in your “Update”. You quoted me from a statement I made on my website and you took it out of context and then misrepresented it. You represented my decision to not "go down the road" of embryo adoption again (for now) to mean that I (a) had guilt over the deaths and (b) that I questioned the morality of my choices. The point you really wanted to make is that YOU think based on my definition of personhood I SHOULD have felt that way based on my pro-life convictions. Again, Eric...I get where you were going but you stated this inaccurately. You attempted to get my words to concede your point. They did not. YOU said I suffered from guilt over my decisions and that I was questioning the ethics. The quote you posted did not in any way state that. You could have stated your opinion on this without saying “Her "pregnancy experience" fulfilled, she now thinks sending snowflake babies to likely death is all of a sudden wrong? The second question is why is Bush posing for an "embryo adoption" press photo with a woman who has qualms about "embryo adoption" in some cases, including her own?. This was yet another mistake on your part. Saying that I did not want to go down that road again was a quote related to the emotional pain of miscarriage. I said nothing about regret. I certainly did not say it was wrong of me to “send babies to their deaths” You said that. You made inaccurate assumptions in an attempt to further a weak argument and than actually tried to credit me with actually saying those things. (1 in 5)


You are batting 1 in 5 here Erik. The reason you refuse to acknowledge this is because you believe that (a) I should hold myself responsible for these deaths by making the decision to adopt with the understanding that not all would survive and that (b) my grief over the loss of 10 SHOULD cause me to consider my actions immoral (based on my beliefs of personhood and life at conception).

This is why you serve as a good example of how people will twist the truth in order to support faulty reasoning. The interesting thing to me was that this lack of integrity on your part hurt your argument. Your actual argument has very little to do with the points you made concerning me and it would have served you better to address your points without these inaccuracies.

You keep arguing that the heart of your argument is that the embryos still died in my womb as a result of my choice to adopt them which (in your opinion) renders your argument viable. The problem is, you are not being accountable for the inaccuracies stated in your attempt to defend your reasoning (which ironically you didn't even need to attempt to defend the true heart of your point - that is what baffles me).

Additionally, it seems that you are associating guilt and grief together. I bare no guilt Eric. God makes life and death choices. Every decision we made was made out of respect for life. We wanted EVERY one of our embryos to have a chance to survive to birth and that was not going to happen if they remained cryopreserved. I won't go into your "solution" in great detail again because I have already addressed that but I will make one more point on this that I neglected in my posting. Are you aware that invitro professionals state over and over that the thaw process is secondary to the freeze process? The "damage" done to the embryos in cryopreservation is most often sited as occurring at the point of the cryopreservation. 10 years from now this damage won't be undone - too late. The technological advances that may theoretically occur in the future will not be able to undo the damage done at the point of the freeze. You assumed an improved upon process of thawing may benefit the embryos in the future. Since the issue isn’t primarily the thaw process, you have a biological dilemma here. Do you think in the future science will resurrect the dead?  Further, 10 years waiting upon “potential” advances may decrease the odds NOT increase them due to the fact that scientists state that embryos cannot be indefinitely cryopreserved without consequence. Maybe you were unaware of these points. (I believe there is room for controversy on this point. The media talks about indefinite cryopreservation yet I heard two scientists testify before legislation that cryopreservation will compromise embryos after the 3 year mark. Whose right? Point is…YOU don’t know). So I ask you, based on just these two points above and not even mentioning my other points as outlined in my posting on my site, could you actually continue to state that it would have been more responsible and ethical of me to have left them frozen another potentially 10 plus years? Tanner was frozen in 1997. If we adopted him and waited say 10 years from now that would have put him and his siblings frozen for 18 years!!!! Based on the above points, I think we can safely call that irresponsible! That would give them far LESS of a chance than the small percentage they already had.

You are backed into a corner Erik because your only shot to even attempt to describe me as a hypocrite to my pro-life beliefs would be to provide EVIDENCE that there IS another solution and one that I KNEW about. This isn’t working for you and I am wondering if you are purposefully refusing to “see” it.

Additionally, do you realize that the logical end of your argument is to state that all women who claim to be pro-life would be hypocrites to pro-create? Statistically, natural conception doesn't have great odds either. 25% of all KNOWN pregnancies miscarry. One of my Dr.’s told me that as much as 90% (don’t know where he got that figure) miscarry when you calculate unknown pregnancies into the equation. He equated this to the fact that many embryos will not be genetically capable of survival. Is this when you suggest to me that women should be factored out of the equation and with the exception of egg harvesting, should not participate in the pro-creation process because “in the future we can grow babies outside a female with possibly 100% survival rate”? Come on now...can't you see the limb your on?

So I admit it. I was baited and I couldn’t resist the temptation. Hopefully I can fight future temptation (though I make no promises) to continue engaging in this conversation. I appreciated your last line (“…but I enjoy discussing ideas, so it's no loss for me!). As I can’t resist debating for similar reasons to you, it is way too easy to draw me out. First I must be a mom though and when I get caught up in these conversations I can be distracted. Believe me, I need all the focused attention I can muster just to keep track of my very active 16 month old. I need every mental resource available to stay a step ahead of the mischief he will create if I am not paying attention. As it is, it is now 2:30 AM and I am going to wish I would have invested in more sleep when I awake before the time of my choosing tomorrow.

Doni

P.S. The squares are smilie faces that for some reason did not convey.
I didn't reread after publishing last night...apparently those darn squares appeared for more reasons than smilies. All quotes and apostrophes got converted too. I copied from Word and it got all funky. Sorry!
Doni -

I think you've missed my point - you say, "Failed IVF (defined as fertilization occurred but that the embryo(s) did not survive to term) equates to the death of living and unique human individuals." We didn't hear anything remotely like that at the presidential photo-op you took part in. Bush's speech leaves the impression that the 21 embryos were "adopted" and 21 children were born.

This photo-op was about legislation in Congress that had nothing to do with "embryo adoption" - and only a selective portion of the families' experiences was given. His point that "Rather than discard these embryos created during in vitro fertilization, or turn them over for research that destroys them, these families have chosen a life-affirming alternative. Twenty-one children here today found a chance for life with loving parents." His point is fraudulent. Accurately represented, it ought to end over 100 embryos ("children") got a chance at life and 21 made it.

In your words, "I am finding that it is nearly impossible to be represented accurately." The Washington Post article I was commenting on accurately conveyed that you considered all 11 embryos to be people, the speech the President gave did not.

Thanks for enumerating points where you think I got my facts wrong.

For a couple points you mention wording which is rhetoric, which tells me it was effective! Your womb did not literally kill embryos any more than drunk driving kills thousands of Americans each year. Punctured spleens, blunt force trauma, etc kills thousands of Americans each year in vehicular accidents involving a drunk driver; Third party IVF embryos fail to result in successful pregnancies for various reasons.

On my point that you chose IVF over a regular adoption ... well, you did! Again, you complain about my wording, "An already born unwanted child is not good enough for her to adopt".

You include, "I fail to understand how she can avoid feeling guilty about these 10 babies she thinks died so she could experience pregnancy." as a misrepresentation. I guess you'll just have to trust that this was a thought I was having until I found your website and updated the entry pointing to where you indicate that indeed the experience was too painful for you to want to repeat.

On your fifth point, you speak of questions I posed regarding the ethical problem arising from using a medical procedure in attempt to rectify a wrong brought about by the same procedure. I'm not misrepresenting anything by asking questions. I still can't divine a clear answer to the main question, so will repeat it:

"If her "heart" won't let Donnielle continue down a road she chose, why did her brain let her get on it in the first place?"

You ask, "Do you think in the future science will resurrect the dead?"

Yes, I do. Countless people who's hearts stopped beating are alive today thanks to a defibrillator. Likewise, in the future, we'll be able to resurrect people that today we would say are dead for good. I also believe we'll be able, if we wish, to engineer a successful pregnancy using only a DNA strand from each and every embryo which is today frozen.

You ask "Additionally, do you realize that the logical end of your argument is to state that all women who claim to be pro-life would be hypocrites to pro-create."

The end of my argument is that we'll be able to fulfill the potential of the DNA in every embryo that is today frozen and the logical way to "save" these embryos would be to preserve them for when we have that technology.
Erik -

Do you hear me sighing? We are just going to go round and round aren't we? :). I am not going to comment any further because I would guess that the majority of people who may read this will understand both view points pretty clearly and will just have to judge for themselves.

In closing though, I do want to tell you that I have appreciated the kind and respectful way you have interacted with me throughout these comments.

Anyhow, I'll sign off now. I harbor no animosity towards you - even for calling me "raving mad";). Generous of me? LOL.

Doni
One quick note...coinciding with Doni's point that the embryo most likely is already damaged through the freezing process, I fail to see what waiting 10 years will do in favor of these young lives. Call me cynical, but I think the extraction of DNA will more likely lead to a diagnosis of issues they would deem incompatible with life and would likely just result in the destruction of the child. More appropriate, it seems, would be to do exactly what Doni and others have done...in love adopt these children, implant them and at least give them a chance...leaving the results in God's hands, who is, after all, the author and perfector of life.

I have a freind who has, in 2 years, lost 3 children (2 after birth and 1 during the second trimester) and is now pursuing this option (if God blesses it). She is doing it not because she is unwilling to adopt born children, but because she is deeply passionate about the lives of unborn children and sees their lives hanging in the balance. It is quite simply arrogant and unfair to judge these women who have struggled and lost so much for their desires to rescue these children, equal in stature and preciousness to the God who created them.

 

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