Quality-controlled embryos

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on January 22nd, 2007

Last week's news about the "world's first embryo bank" brought much-needed attention to the accelerating marketization of baby-making. Many reactions - including our own - stressed either the retail and promotional innovations of the new embryo business model, or the notoriously minimal regulation of the assisted reproduction industry.

It's worth considering as well the production end of the business. Anne Sommers of the American Association of People with Disabilities points to this suggestive excerpt from an announcement on the website of the Texan embryo entrepreneur, who calls her one-stop shop the Abraham Center of Life:

In the process of screening donors, we select only those that have clean medical backgrounds...we do require that all male donors are college educated (most of them have doctorate degrees), and that most of our female donors have had some college...The embryos that are available have all been medically 'graded.'
Wikipedia’s definition of quality control reads in part: “ to ensure products or services are designed and produced to meet or exceed customer requirements.” This is obviously something we want for medical drugs and devices. But should it be applied to embryos that are intended to become children?

Posted in Assisted Reproduction, Civil Society, Disability, Genetic Selection, Marcy Darnovsky's Blog Posts


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