I’ve had some time to consider the report that we read last week concerning the willingness of the women and men who control the fates of the frozen embryos of their children to donate those embryos for destruction in research. The report has been published in ScienceXpress, the early posting on line of articles before they appear in print in Science Magazine. Unfortunately, it’s behind a “pay wall.” However, you can read the “Supporting Online Material” and see most of the report as well as the actual questions, without a subscription – or at least without being signed in.
Please note the use of words such as “assume,” “likely” (twice in one assumption), “if,” and the use of “somewhat likely” as equivalent to “very likely.”
Since it appears to be okay to make assumptions about this subject, I have a few of my own.
I assume that anyone who has entered into in vitro fertilization and agreed to have their embryonic offspring frozen has already come to grips with the possibility that some of these embryos will be killed in the process. Those who have moral problems with the destruction of their embryos would not be as likely to have frozen, stored, “supernumary embryos” in the first place.
Furthermore, the data does result from self-reporting about theoretical intentions, which is not as reliable as actual actions.
I would like to see the answers of the 40% of women (egg donor/mothers) and the 49% of partners (men and women) who did not return the questionnaire. (Actually, that’s 35% and 44% who received at least one copy of the questionnaire, who did not return it.)
I would also like to see the answers about the intentions of those respondents who did not have any embryos in frozen storage, as well as the answer to one more question: “Why haven’t you donated your embryos?”