At fertility clinics, abandoned human embryos could number in the millions


Human embryos. Credit: Andrii Vodolazhskyi/CNA

.- The number of “abandoned” human embryos in the United States could number in the millions, and many fertility specialists are reticent to discuss the dilemma of what to do with frozen embryos, according to a recent NBC News report.

According to Christine Allen, a fertility doctor who runs a consultant business called Elite IVF, most fertility clinics fertilize far more eggs than they plan to use when performing in vitro fertilization, leading to the practice of indefinitely freezing surplus embryos— far more even than the process of IVF, which has a high failure rate, attempts to implant into a woman’s uterus.

“You see [some women] having 40, 50 or 60 eggs retrieved in a cycle and the embryologist gets the orders from her doctor to inseminate all of them — and the question isn’t asked if the patient even wants that many inseminated. Nobody’s going to have 30 kids,” Allen told NBC News.

Several fertility doctors told NBC News that many clinics consider embryos abandoned after patients stop paying storage fees and fail to respond to the clinic’s attempts to contact them.

Approximately one-third of all the frozen embryos at a fertility clinic in Fort Myers have been discarded or abandoned, NBC News reported. Storage fees for frozen embryos typically run from $500 to $1,000 a year depending on the clinic.

Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology require fertility clinics to report how many embryos have been abandoned at their clinics, NBC News says.

Though the embryos themselves take up very little space, the nitrogen tanks used to store them do. With modern techniques, frozen embryos could last as long as 100 years, doctors say.

Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told NBC News that couples who have previously IVF undergone should consider setting up trust funds for their embryos in order to ensure that the storage fees will be paid indefinitely.

Pacholczyk has said in the past that for embryos already created and frozen, no other obvious moral options seem to exist other than keeping them that way.

“Creating a trust fund for the frozen embryo shows a couple is taking responsibility for what they created,” Pacholczyk told NBC News.

“To me, the complexity of the situation about what to do with these excess embryos is a powerful reminder that when you cross moral lines, there’s a price to be paid.”

Although organizations have been set up to collect abandoned embryos for research purposes, Pacholczyk told CNA earlier this month that any research done with stem cells— even for commendable purposes, such as efforts to cure diseases— cannot involve the destruction of embryos, or the creation of embryos specifically for research.

[R]esearchers must use induced pluripotent stem cells, or other types of stem cells such as adult stem cells, rather than embryonic stem cells that have been destructively procured from human embryos,” he explained.

Moreover, embryos whose parents do not sign the necessary paperwork to allow the embryos to be used for research remain “stuck.”

The Catholic Church stresses that all human persons – including those in the embryonic state – have an invaluable human dignity.

In 1998, the U.S. bishops’ conference published a document explaining that “the Church has clearly and unequivocally judged [IVF] to be immoral.”

In the 2008 instruction Dignitatis personae, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that the typical uses for already frozen embryos— the treatment of diseases, treatment for infertility, and even “prenatal adoption”— all present ethical challenges and leave the embryos “susceptible to further offense and manipulation.”

“The practice of multiple embryo transfer implies a purely utilitarian treatment of embryos,” the congregation wrote.

“One is struck by the fact that, in any other area of medicine, ordinary professional ethics and the healthcare authorities themselves would never allow a medical procedure which involved such a high number of failures and fatalities…The desire for a child cannot justify the “production” of offspring, just as the desire not to have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived.”

The Congregation also quoted a 1996 address by Pope St. John Paul II in which he made an “appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons.”

Pope Francis has said that there is no outcome that can justify the use or destruction of embryos for scientific purposes – including research aimed at curing diseases.

“Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction. But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos,” he said during his general audience May 18.

Source: At fertility clinics, abandoned human embryos could number in the millions

Archbishop: Christians called to be moral conscience of society

    Source: Archbishop: Christians called to be moral conscience of society – Catholic San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

    Mary is the visible throne of Divine Wisdom

    The Assumption does not just tell us that Mary has gone up to heaven, but also that she does not remain there in blissful inactivity. She listens to her Son “in agony until the end of time” (according to Blaise Pascal’s expression), and doing so remains the model that not only she proposes to us, but also that she desires and asks for the grace to be imparted to us. Our hope is her destiny, which is not limited to finding happiness with God, but to bring our neighbor to receive Him.

    Truly, devotion to the Virgin Mary is not a “cute” practice or a marginal tradition. It is not one possibility among others, but the way that God gives us to fully understand who we are and what our vocation is as human beings who need a Father and Mother in Heaven.

    And if a part of sentimentality, even of childish naïveté enters into this disposition, so much the better! Let us rejoice: it is proof that we are not ideologues, because it is to children and the simple minded that the Kingdom is promised (Matt 18:1-5) as well as to those who feel that in Mary, Divine Wisdom finds a visible throne. In Mary, indeed, even scientists and other short-sighted people who see themselves as eagles, can see and recognize Divine Wisdom without becoming idiots, on the contrary!

    Jean Duchesne – Aleteia

    Administrative Director of the Académie Catholique de France and one of the founders of the French edition of Communio, an international Catholic review


    Source: Mary is the visible throne of Divine Wisdom

    Pope Francis gives thousands of blessed rosaries to Christians in Syria

    Pope Francis blesses an image of Mary in St. Peter’s Square May 3, 2017. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano

    .- Pope Francis announced Thursday that he is giving 6,000 blessed rosaries to Catholic communities in Syria as a sign of his closeness on the Marian Feast of the Assumption.

    “Prayer made with faith is powerful! We continue to pray the rosary for peace in the Middle East and in the whole world,” Pope Francis said Aug. 15 in his Angelus message for the Assumption of Mary.

    The pope blessed the rosaries made by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, and said that the Syrian families that lost someone because of the war are close to his heart.

    “The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a call for everyone, especially for those who are afflicted by doubts and sadness,” Pope Francis said. “Today we look at Mary and we see the goal. We see that a creature was assumed to the glory of Jesus, the Risen Christ.”

    The Feast of the Assumption, commemorating the end of Mary’s earthly life and assumption into heaven, is a major feast day and a public holiday in many countries. In most countries, including the United States, it is a Holy Day of Obligation, and Catholics are required to attend Mass.

    “Mary is assumed in heaven; small and humble, she receives the highest glory first. She, who is a human creature, one of us, reaches eternity in soul and body. And she awaits us there, like a mother waiting for her children to return home,” Francis said.

    “Every time we take the rosary into our hands and pray with it, we take a step towards the great goal of life,” he said.

    Pope Francis said that Mary exalts in the greatness in the Lord and invites everyone to raise their eyes to the great things that the Lord accomplished in her.

    “Mary shows us that if we want our life to be happy, God must be placed first, because he alone is great,” he said.

    Mary, as every mother, wants the best for her children, the pope explained. He said that Mary tells each person: “You are precious in the eyes of God; you are not made for the small fulfillment of the world, but for the great joys of heaven.”

    “Let us be attracted by true beauty, let us not be sucked into the smallness of life, but choose the greatness of heaven,” Pope Francis said.

    Source: Pope Francis gives thousands of rosaries to Christians in Syria


    Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on enhanced religious liberty protections for federal contractors:

    The Trump administration has released a proposal that would strengthen the religious rights of federal contractors. Current law exempts religious non-profit organizations from federal laws on discrimination.

    The proposed rule would expand the religious exemption to any company where the owners claim that their sincerely held religious beliefs would be compromised if they had to comply with certain federal regulations. The rule would also extend to companies the same right currently afforded non-profit religious entities in making hiring and firing decisions.

    There is a sound religious liberty principle involved in the proposal. The reason why religious non-profits are allowed these exemptions is to ensure that employees practice fidelity to the tenets of the organization’s religion. If they did not, their raison d’être would implode. What is the purpose of having a religious non-profit if its mission can be subverted by employees who are hostile to it?

    In the private sector, the Trump administration is saying that the religious convictions of the owner should not be forfeited because his organization is a for-profit entity. The Department of Labor quite properly cited the U.S. Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling which allowed a for-profit company not to provide for contraceptives in its healthcare plan; the religious convictions of the owner were sustained.

    Beginning today, the public has a month to comment on the proposal. We will do so.

    This is just one more instance where the Trump administration has moved forward extending religious liberty to all Americans.


    A deluge of graces came after the consecration to Our Lady of the Assumption

    After French King Louis XIII managed to quell a Protestant rebellion in La Rochelle in 1628, and built the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Paris in thanksgiving, the next year he and the Queen were able to conceive a child, after 20 years of sterility. The king then decided to make an official vow to solemnly entrust France to the Virgin Mary:

    “So many evident graces have been received that we do not want to differ our gratitude or to wait for a peace which will come from the same hand who issued them and which we desire ardently, to share its fruits with the peoples we are committed to serve… We declare that, taking the very holy and glorious Virgin Mary as special protectress of our kingdom, we particularly consecrate to her our own Self, the State, our Crown and our subjects.”

    This vow was published as a royal edict recorded by the Parliament and has force of law. The “always victorious” King had officially dedicated France to Mary, on February 10, 1638. He also established the feast of Assumption, on August 15th, as a new national holiday.

    As Father René Laurentin wrote in his 1988 study for the 350th anniversary of the Vow of Louis XIII, contemporaries were amazed at the joy of the people and the great expression of thanksgiving everywhere, following this vow: “Never has a people, on any occasion, shown more joy. It is a great and sure proof of the love that these subjects have for their king, when they welcome with such transports the prospect of being one day governed by his posterity,” wrote Grotius, ambassador of Protestant Sweden, in 1638.

    Excerpts from Marie et la France, un lien extraordinaire à redécouvrir, Editions MDN Productions, Paris, June 2019

    Pour se procurer le livre Marie et la France

    Source: A deluge of graces came after the consecration to Our Lady of the Assumption

    Meet the Almost-100-Year-Old Priest Who Knew St. Maximilian Kolbe

    Franciscan Father Lucjan Krolikowski also knew St. John Paul II.

    Franciscan Father Lucjan Krolikowski’s recollections are sharp and vivid — as the grip of his handshake is strong.

    And for a priest who’s about to reach the century mark, equally strong is the joy he radiates in all he does.

    When told he doesn’t look like he’s going to be 100, he answers, “I don’t feel like it!” With a lighthearted acceptance in his voice, he adds that his eyes are not good and his ears are not good either. “But I still move around with the walker,” says the nearly-centenarian priest, who lives in Connecticut with other senior friars.

    Looking at a 1939 photograph of him with other seminarians posing with St. Maximilian Kolbe, it’s easy to pick him out — he is the one with the big smile. In fact, he still exhibits that ready grin.

    Read more here:

    Source: Meet the Almost-100-Year-Old Priest Who Knew St. Maximilian Kolbe