Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

"Rescue" through third party IVF: Explicit question for those who are having a hard time answering it 

The comments in a post about third party IVF are getting out of hand; people claiming I'm using circular thinking without pointing to circularity, people disputing unnamed facts without explanation. Anonymous says,

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.

Indeed, I like provocative but accurate language, and indeed, people who believe they are saving embryo's (people's) lives by attempting third party IVF with frozen embryos are in fact killing most of the "people" they are trying to "save".

Here are the facts I've presented in my argument,

  1. The best medical technology available today can only ensure the survival of, at best, one third of frozen embryos in third party IVF using frozen embryos (source).
  2. Frozen embryos, even with today's technology, can be successfully thawed if they were frozen a decade or more ago (source, source)
  3. Medical technology is rapidly advancing and it's not unreasonable to believe that in a few decades, third-party IVF will result in more successful pregnancies (source citing recent progress).
  4. If one believes frozen embryos should be "rescued", waiting for medical technology to improve will result in a higher "rescue" rate.

My question, explicitly stated is "Can anybody present a rational argument for today attempting third party IVF with frozen embryos if the objective is to bring as many of the embryos to a successful pregnancy?"

Thanks.

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Comments:

I will post more later, I don't have the time to do so right now, but... Just one question for now - How does medical technology improve in this area? How do they know what to do better and what not to do anymore? Answer - By learning from current transfers. They learn more as the do more transfers. Your suggestion is to not do anymore frozen embryo transfers until medical technology improves - how will it improve if there are no FET to learn from?
Oh dear Lord, do you hear what you are saying?? You think its okay to use human beings as guinea pigs in essence. This is very disturbing to me.

I fault whoever donates their eggs and sperm for the practice of making embryos for adoption (read for sale) as much as those who aid in the process by buying them because they wouldn't be donating if there wasn't a market for it.

Trying to mask your selfish desires behind emotional arguments and in the name of science is terrile IMO.
Beth
You have NO idea what you are talking about. Sorry, but you don't. First of all - we (as in those of us posting here who have adopted embryos) did not choose for them to be created in the first place! In fact, we are against them being frozen to begin with, and take a stand against that if you will read previous posts you will see that. All we have done is given these embryos a chance to survive, and grow - which they cannot do in a frozen state. Recap: We didn't have them created, we didn't have them frozen, we simply offered them what no one else has - the necessities they need to finish growing into the peoople God created them to be. Also, just in case you haven't figured it out - we didn't use our sperm or eggs for these babies to be created either. Secondly - as to your statement "those who aid in the process by buying them because they wouldn't be donating if there wasn't a market for it."
It is against the law to pay for embryos! No one here has bought them. And you are wrong again - there were thousands if not more babies frozen before people started adopting them as embryos. These babies are not frozen because people want to adopt them! They are frozen because infertility clinics encourage creating as many embryos as possible during regular IVF cycles. Then they have the "leftovers" frozen for future use. Unfortunately the genetic parents have so many frozen, that they are not willing to have them all transferred into the genetic mothers womb - ie. they don't want that many kids. The people who are posting here did not create this problem - we are trying to help these "leftover" embryos - who without a womb to grow in would either remain frozen or be (as the IVF clinics like to call it "ethically destroyed") Not real sure how you ethically destroy a living human, anyways. No - I do NOT think it is o.k. for human beings to be used by science - if you will read ALL of my posts you will see that clearly. My point to Erik is that the only way for science to get better is by learning from the transfers they do now - (and not all transfers end in the death of the embryo). He suggests we "wait" until science gets better - but science will not get "better" if we wait. It is this simple - these are humans that are in a frozen state in which they cannot grow and become the people God intends for them to be. The only way for them to grow is to have a womb to grow in. Erik suggests we wait because pregnancy rates increase every year. This is true, but they only increase because they learn from the transfers that they do each year. Some embryos live, some do not. It is very sad. They shouldn't have been frozen in the first place. But the only way for them to even have a chance at life is for people to give them what they need to grow - a womb. You should really do some research on what embryo adoption is all about.
I do understand better now that these embryos were leftovers from other parents, but I still see this as opening a door that needs to be shut. Do the donors know that their offspring are being brought into this world by another woman? Could perhaps they claim legal parentalship down the road? I think it is wrong that fertility clinics make more embryos than the parents need or want, aren't you giving them an out so that they can continue that practice? I applaud you for trying to save these embryos, but how are you going to stop the trend if you are partaking in it? In other words, when will the madness end?

I also take exception to your choice of words that "God intended them" to become people. He intends on babies being conceived naturally, not through artificial means. Erik already posted the Vatican's position, that is my position as well.
It is reassuring the know that embryos can not be sold. Is this a law in all 50 states?
Beth,
I am glad that you understand better now. Yes, the genetic parents have to sign away their legal guardianship, and although this is a fairly new practice, they sign away their parental rights, and in most states, whoever gives birth to the children are their legal guardians - so chances are not likely that they could ever come back to take them.
We try our best to stop the madness by giving the embryos already created a chance at life, and encouraging the IVF clinics to stop promoting freezing the embryos for future use. We do this by speaking to couples looking to IVF, and encouraging them not to have any more eggs fertilized than what they are willing to have born to them. There are so few people wanting to adopt embryos - we are NOT the reason they are freezing them - it is simply that the clinics do not care whether they are used in the future or not, because they offer "ethical destruction" of the embryos if they are not wanted. They encourage freezing because it is cheaper for a couple to do a frozen transfer than to continue to do fresh IVF cycles every time.
As to my comment "God intended them to become people" I agree that God intends for children to be created between a man and his wife. However, that is not always the case today. Not only with embryos, but with natural pregnancies as well. My children I adopted out of foster care were created out of prostitution for drug money, and another completely immoral situation. Are you telling me that God did not intend on them becoming people?! I certainly hope not! God hates the sin, but loves the people. The sin is the sin, not the children - please do not confuse the two.
Shauna -

You ask, Just one question for now - How does medical technology improve in this area? How do they know what to do better and what not to do anymore? Answer - By learning from current transfers. They learn more as the do more transfers. Your suggestion is to not do anymore frozen embryo transfers until medical technology improves - how will it improve if there are no FET to learn from?

I'm glad you ask because your guess that we learn to improve medical procedures on humans by doing medical procedures on humans is not right!

Hopefully this will be an eye opener for you: Here are a few research models employed before a drug or procedure is ever used on a human:

- chemical models
- mechanical models
- mathematical models
- computerized models
- in vitro models - using human or animal tissues in test tubes, for instance

New non-human models are constantly being developed. Here is a short article on medical research in general.
I apologize, Shauna, and bless you for adopting your foster children. God did indeed intend on them being brought into this world to be loved, and thank God that you came forth to do that.
Can't type much - but quickly:
Beth - Thank you so much.
Erik - I do not disagree with you that they use those research models. But I also know that they can only learn so much from those models and then they have to apply it to the actual circumstance. When I was in nursing school we practiced on dummies first, and although I learned from it - I learned a lot more once we went into the hospital and I got to work with actual patients.

So again - the only way for medical technology to improve in FET is for them to complete more transfers. I am not suggesting that they "practice" on embryos. I want them to be as safe with these embryos as they can be to produce the highest success rates possible. But if they don't do any transfers with the ones already frozen - none of the frozen embryos will have a chance at life, and medical technology will come to a stand still in this area.
Shauna -

Your statement that "the only way for medical technology to improve in FET is for them to complete more transfers" is just wrong.

For example, the process of implantation is being understood better and better all the time - using animal models, studying natural human pregnancies, all sorts of things that have nothing to do with frozen human embryos.

Drugs and procedures are always developed using non-human models before they are legally used in a therapeutic setting.
Erik -
You say "Drugs and procedures are always developed using non-human models before they are legally used in a therapeutic setting."

True, but what do you think clinical trial are? It is where they take what they learn and see if they were right by trying their conclusions on people. I will say again "without embryo adoption (or 3rd party IVF as you like to call it) there is no way that these already frozen embryos will have a chance at life, and there is no way that medical technology will improve in this area without completing more FET's. Not to mention Doni's point that they can not undue the way they have already frozen them. Even to get DNA from them they have to be thawed, and to wait longer decreases their chances at successful thawing.

You keep talking about chances and statistics - nothing is 100% and you have no real proof that it will be 100% in the future. There are losses with traditional IVF, with any ART, and with any natural pregnancy.
I agree with Doni that this is becoming a waste of time. Even when we prove our points, you refuse to accept them. Your entire logic is being based on what MIGHT happen. I am going to go hold my 2 babies now that I KNOW exist NOW thanks to a FET and my simple human womb. Thanks for the discussions - they really made me appreciate all of my kids more (if that was possible).
Shauna, in my post I link to recent and rapid improvement in the success rates for third party IVF. For some crazy reason you don't explain, you're pessimistic these rates will further improve.

That's the key to my argument, and if you don't feel like explaining why you don't think the success rate will improve further, but try to keep up a dialog about my argument, I agree, we are going nowhere but circles in this discussion!
I didn't say success rates would not improve - I said that if we stop doing transfers now and wait on the future as you suggest THEN the success rates will not improve. If you will notice on the charts you link to - not only do the rates go higher each year - the number of transfers done goes up each year as well.
OK, I'll rephrase my same argument:

Presuming a frozen embryo is a person, and you were a frozen embryo, knowing that rescue success rates are rapidly improving, would you rather be rescued in 2005 when your chances of survival are about 1 out of 4, or at some point in the future when your chances will be greater?
I'll answer too... Now - because years from now I, as a frozen embryo, will be more compromised and have less chance - not more... and in order to increase the chances for other frozens in the future you will have to sacrifice to many along the way. Give me the security of a loving mother's womb today and leave it to God to decide whether or not to continue to breathe life in me.
Thank you anonymous! I have more I want to comment on - but I work weekend nights so I can stay home with my kids during the week - and I don't have the time or alertness to comment much right now. But I do want to say I agree 100% with the anonymous comment. Also - when will the rates be good enough for you? There will always be room for improvement. If we stop having them transferred to our wombs there will be no alternative for genetic parents who do not want to have their babies destroyed. So many other things to say, but for now - I know I can stand proundly before God on judgement day for giving ALL of my kids a good home.
Anonymous says, "years from now I, as a frozen embryo, will be more compromised and have less chance - not more."

What makes you think medical technology won't be able to fix whatever's "compromised"?
There are so many reasons! Technology hasn't fixed so many things, why should this be different? Examples? Well, since we're on the medical side of things I'll start with things they've been working on for YEARS like cancer of all kinds, aids, the common cold, flu bug virus, etc...heck, technology hasn't even made a perfect car or found a world-wide-useful and most efficient and environmentally safe means of energy supply... HUMANS are working on these things - that's also something I can't seem to forget in all of this... HUMANS will never get it ALL right.

The smartest of the smart can work hard to fix something but it's an incredible rarity to get it all completely right, 100%.

These embryos are tiny - they don't have much to work with - the more they practice the more they will lose in the process. Again, it's not worth the risk of all the embryos that will be destroyed along the way in the name of "getting it right."

Give me a womb and let God choose.
"cancer of all kinds"

Chemo, radiation, and immuno therapy, surgery.

"...aids"

protease inhibitors, anti-retrofvirals.

"... the common cold"

washing hands.

"... flu bug virus"

Flu vaccine.

You'd rather leave all those treatments for God?
the things you list are either preventive measures or treatments... NONE of which has given us a 100% solution for any illness/disease mentioned. we're talking about 100% life-saving measures for embryos which i believe will be as likely as 100% cure/prevention for all of the other mentioned illnesses (and then some). so yes, i prefer to leave my life and breath in God's hands thank you very much.
and by the way - I give God credit for all of the great treatments we have today - He gives wisdom and knowledge and the ability to think, to work, to solve, to grow...
OK, no vaccines or surgeries for anonymous, who would "prefer to leave my life and breath in God's hands."
Oh but wait, anonymous gives "God credit for all of the great treatments we have today."

That way, she'll be as healthy of a hypocrite as science will allow her. Good deal.
you read what i wrote... but twisted the words. i'm finding this quite typical here.
Erik -
"cancer of all kinds"

Chemo, radiation, and immuno therapy, surgery.

"...aids"

protease inhibitors, anti-retrofvirals.

"... the common cold"

washing hands.

"... flu bug virus"

Flu vaccine.

These things are great - they improve the health status of the general public greatly - but not 100%.

FET gives these embryos what they need physically to live and grow - but it is not 100% successful either.

You suggest we keep these embryos frozen until there is a 100% success rate... And in response to the statement that keeping them frozen longer harms them, you said "what makes you think medical technology won't be able to fix what is compromized"

Following that logic and the facts listed above... would you not then also suggest that we wait for medical technology to reach 100% in ALL areas? After all, these areas are improving also. Chemo makes most patients sick - should they just wait for technology to improve until they find a treatment that won't make them sick? Of course not - because they might die while waiting. The same is true for frozen embryos - longer exposure to cryopreservation harms their chances at survival.

To postpone transferring them now to wait on a better chance in the future, only to have their chances hurt because of their longer cryopreservation time just doesn't make any sense.

And there is no proof or even reasonable expectation that FET, cancer tx, immunizations, or any other medical procedure will be 100% in the future.

You say it is wrong for us who believe that these embryos are life worth saving to have them transferred now because we know that they will not all survive. I say it is wrong for those of us who believe these embryos are life to NOT save the ones that we can, in order to wait for a better chance in the future - only to decrease the chances of the ones that can survive today.
THANK YOU SHAUNA! you put thoughts in writing so well.

it's time for me to do as others have done and let go of this debate in this forum. i like a fair, respectable, debate but am done with the environment that welcomes name-calling and word-twisting. those of us who want to offer these little ones a chance for life have made our case for our beliefs. not everyone will support us... but i have no doubt there will be little ones growing up to be thankful for a life they couldn't have otherwise had.

may God bless you Shauna!

and Erik, may God bless you too - with love, grace, compassion, and truth.
Anonymous -
Thank you and you are so right. These little ones will be and are thankful for their life. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wanted me to have the children that I have, and I thank Him for them every day.
Thank you for your comments on here and supporting these little ones!
Shauna -

Nowhere have I suggested that "we [people who wish to 'rescue' frozen embryos" keep these embryos frozen until there is a 100% success rate." Arguing against a point that was not asserted but is easier to respond to is setting up a straw man.

From my original post, this is the question that has not yet been answered, "Can anybody present a rational argument for today attempting third party IVF with frozen embryos if the objective is to bring as many of the embryos to a successful pregnancy?"

A second strawman has been cut of whole cloth, "would you not then also suggest that we wait for medical technology to reach 100% in ALL areas? After all, these areas are improving also."

On top of the "100%" strawman is a false analogy fallacy; one can't compare performing a medical procedure on an embryo ("patient") which will cause the embryo's death 2/3rds of the time to treatments (surgery, vaccination, chemo, etc) which cause a tiny percentage of patients to die but give them a greater chance at overcoming an illness.
"one can't compare performing a medical procedure on an embryo ("patient") which will cause the embryo's death 2/3rds of the time to treatments (surgery, vaccination, chemo, etc) which cause a tiny percentage of patients to die but give them a greater chance at overcoming an illness"

I think you've just made your OWN case for why freezing embryos is not a good choice to begin with.
i underwent in vitro fertilization because i wanted another child more than anything. i had 13 eggs harvested and 12 were viable. my first implant was 4 embryos and 8 were frozen. i achieved a pregnancy, but miscarried after a few weeks. i gave myself time to recover, physically and emotionally, and after about 15 months, 3 embryos were thawed and implanted. my beautiful, wonderful, perfect intelligent daughter is now 5 years old and starting kindergarten this month. i still have 5 embryos frozen, but i am 43 and not having more children. i have not decided the fate of my embryos, but i do not regret in any way my decision to freeze them. however, i will donate them to science if I choose to do so, and none of the arguments from the religious groups will have any bearing on my decision.

and in speaking of the "christians", why is it that there has been more war, more death, more oppression, more judgement, more hatred, and virtually no tolerance from a group who perports to follow the teaching of Christ, when He was all about tolerance, love your neighbor, don't judge, turn the other cheek, be like a child, and love one another?

 

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