THE Human Embryo

Creation Of Human Embryos

The human embryo comes into existence when sperm and ovum fuse at conception//fertilisation. From the beginning it is a human being whose right to life merits protection.

Though of microscopic size, it is human and alive and equipped with an inbuilt blueprint that determines what he or she will grow into. The plans cover every organ of the body including hair and eye colour. Deliberately killing an embryo is morally as reprehensible as killing any other human being. All the embryo needs to grow and thrive is time, nourishment and good luck.

Hazards That Embryos Face

There are many hazards militating against the embryo’s survival, some natural hazards, some created by other human beings.

  1. The embryo may initially implant in the Fallopian tube instead of the womb, posing a threat to the mother’s life.

  2. The embryo can be expelled from the womb by natural mishaps or by the action of abortifacients.

Embryonic Research

In recent years there has been great interest in the embryo’s stem cells, the blueprint which determines the growth and development of every organ of the human body. Embryos were being created and killed to extract and experiment on their stem cells. The hope was to grow new organs – a new heart, liver or kidneys for patients who needed the,. The Methuselah Society, a body with wealthy patrons, dreamed even further, What if one could live a 1,000 years by constant replacement or rejuvenation of body parts? Lives (their own lives) were far too short!

All this was to be achieved by the wholesale killing of embryos. Then adult stem cell research found that you could take a part of the human body, say a piece of skin and turn back the clock to the stem cell stage. This removed the threat of killing embryos for their stem cells and was more advantageous as it removed the threat of the patient rejecting them.

Later the EU Court of Justice ruled that any drug or treatment that involved the destruction of human embryos in its creation could not be patented within the European Union.

However, threats to the lives and dignity of human embryos are very much alive in the IVF industry, surrogacy, freezing of embryos and DNA testing where those who fail or are surplus to requirements are thrown down the sink. The human embryo is badly in need of defenders

In the R versus R case all Irish Supreme Court judges said the embryo merited respect but it was up to the Legislature to determine how that respect should be shown. Many of our EU partners are far more stringent in controlling the excesses of the IVF industry… Many do not permit surrogacy and some like Italy forbid mass freezing of embryos and forbid their deliberate destruction.

Stem Cell Research – Questions and Answers