I was listening to an interview with Liza Mundy on the National Public Radio show Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  The discussion was based on Mundy’s book which takes up the current issues surrounding multiple births.  She was well versed in the different procedures women use to conceive and the problems and extenuating circumstances that arise from assisted fertility.  It was an interesting discussion, but, as often happens when I listen to these types of interviews, my blood begins to boil . . .

Mundy reasoned that if the embryonic research ban were lifted, parents would have less difficulty deciding what to do with their “extra” embryos.  She rightly indicated that parents are not fully prepared for the emotional conflicts that result from having to make personal decisions about embryos they have created.  From the very beginning, she said, parents have to make decisions about whether to keep, destroy or donate their embryos.  Parents, once they have given birth, are often awakened to the reality that embryos will grow into human babies, and this makes their decision about what to do with their saved embryos very difficult.

What raised my ire was her rationale that the parents’ decision could be made easier if they could donate their embryos to science, as if donating an embryo to science changes the fact that a human life is being destroyed!  Is it true that parents feel better if they can make their embryonic children martyrs for a scientific cause?  When did martyrdom become something chosen for you? I believe all this truly does is massage the guilt of the parents.  They have created a complex dilemma which lacks any real, moral solution.

A good read for anyone contemplating fertility treatments is Pope John Paul II’s The Gospel of Life: Evangelium Vitae. He warned us of the problems which are now being realized.  Every time something comes up in the news about this, I ask myself, “Didn’t anybody listen to him?”  If only they had.

Copyright 2009 Janet Cassidy


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  1. Hello,
    Just a clarification, if you will indulge…

    “Mundy reasoned that if the embryonic research ban were lifted”

    Setting aside for a moment whether the conversation could be called “reasoned”, Mundy was incorrect in stating that there even was an “embryonic research ban”.

    What was banned by former president Bush was the funding of embryonic stem cell research by taxpayer dollars. He did not ban the research.

    What changed last week is that our current president has now authorized taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. And, in case you missed the fine print, he has banned taxpayer funding of non-embyronic stem cell research.

    Thanks for all your terrific articles!

  2. Hello everyone – I hope this is a good place to say this given I am at my wits end. My name is Sarah and my husband and I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to conceive for almost four years now and have been through much together through our lives. I have experienced two miscarriages and several different doctors in an attempt to conceive our first child.

    My husband is 31 and I am 29 years old and following my first signs of pregnancy which I identified really early at around 3 weeks, our baby unfortunately did not make it past the first month. In our second pregnancy, the hospital for some unknown reason did not take a blood test to verify the pregnancy. I was visited at home by the local nurse and on each occasion in light of our previous miscarriage I asked again for a blood test to confirm all was well.

    Despite them not doing a blood test I insisted upon an ultrasound as I just had to know everything was ok – the ultrasound confirmed something I think we both already felt that the baby again didn’t make it. As you can imagine we were both devastated (again). The doctors told us I had a problem with my uterus, and the uterus walls were abnormally thick, which it was assumed was causing the problem – we were told to persevere…

    So we continued to try and recently I fell pregnant for the third time. I experienced bleeding for almost 1 month straight and the doctors could not really give me any answers why I was bleeding and simply conducted routine blood work to ensure I wasn’t loosing too much blood and a brief check to look for any abnormalities. A little while later, you guessed it the baby passed. This time I was given more information from the doctors whom suggested there is the potential that my body does not produce sufficient amounts of the progesterone hormone to stay pregnant in addition to the thick wall of my uterus.

    As you can imagine both my husband and I are exhausted and so want to have a baby but are determined – there are some procedures I can undergo apparently and also some drugs which can help with the hormone levels but I am really at my wits end. I regularly scour the internet looking for answers to my questions and recently came across this site ( which seems to show some good success stories, I will try anything at the moment, has anyone here heard about this or tried the course? I am running out of options (although we continue to try) and would appreciate any help anyone can provide to us.

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