“My mother was an aborted fetus”- will this ever happen?

A terrible proposal- using the egg cells from the ovaries of dead aborted babies to help infertile women have children- children whose biological mother would be an aborted child.

“Dr. Robert Gosden of Edinburgh University has requested permission to use aborted human fetal ovarian tissue to restore the fertility of sterile women. The technique involves taking ovarian cells from aborted fetuses (babies) and extracting the ova (egg cells). The ova would be cultured to maturity, fertilized by in vitro methods, and then implanted into the recipient mother… A paper written by Dr. Gosden in the April 1992 Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics reviews the outline of this research (i.e., how and why it will work for humans!) a full two years before his research proposal became news. This paper bases his proposal on prior work in which Dr. Gosden has extensively performed mouse fetal tissue transplants studies to restore the fertility of sterile mice. These studies included using mice fetal tissue to restore fertility to sterile mice, restore endocrine function to mice without ovaries, and freezing and storing mouse fetal ovarian tissue for later successful implantation. Dr. Gosden’s work promises to harvest eggs from aborted fetuses at the 12 to 16 week stage. They would then fertilize the eggs by in vitro methods and implant them into previously sterile women.… it would restore the fertility of women who have prematurely undergone menopause, thereby giving them extended years of childbearing.”

Lawrence Roberge “Transplantation of Aborted Fetal Ova: a Short Analysis” Wanderer, August 4, 1994

14 weeks. The baby at this stage has very developed ovaries.

14 weeks. The baby at this stage has very developed ovaries.

Another writer commented on this:

“Remember all the adopted children who grew up and strongly desired to seek out their birth parents? That is, adults who tried legal and other methods to obtain the identity of the true biological parents. Will this technology spawn a generation of “genetically adopted” children who will wonder who their real mothers are? What will these children grow up and feel? Will they wonder and strive to find out (by legal and other means) who the tissue donor (the aborted fetus) was? Will they strive to find their grandmother (the mother of the aborted fetus)? As their “grandmother” will be the one who aborted her “mother,” would this aggravate the “grandmother’s” post abortion trauma? Yes, this may sound confusing, but consider how confusing it will be for the “children” and “grandmothers”!

A pro-choicer defended the proposal in another article:

“Certainly there may be many emotions associated with the knowledge of being conceived outside sexual intercourse… [A] study concluded that “the majority [of children produced via IVF] were performing above the norm for the chronological age but were subject to a “significantly higher incidence of… behavioral and emotional problems…..

“There is no medical evidence which suggests that fetal ovaries or eggs are inferior to the eggs present in a healthy adult female.…

Furthermore, given the success of adoption and the similarities of adopted children to FEC, one can reasonably conclude that concerns of psychological harm resulting from a child knowing his genetic mother was an aborted fetus are overestimated.”

Jonathan M Berkowitz “Mummy Was a Fetus: Motherhood and Fetal Ovarian Transplantation” Journal of Medical Ethics 21:298 – 304 (October 1995)

Yet another writer defended the proposal:

Also, from Gina Kolata, New York Times, January 6, 1994

“Dr. John Fletcher [an ethicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville] said most of the ethical questions [concerning fetal ovary transplants] pale beside the good that can be done for infertile couples. For example, he said, even though a child might be troubled to learn that it’s genetic mother was an aborted fetus the child would almost certainly rather have been born from the featus’s eggs than not to have been born at all.

“The idea that you would be filled with self-loathing if 50% of your genes are from the ova of an abortus seems to me highly questionable,” he said.

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About Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a freelance writer and journalist who works for Live Action. She is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life.
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