NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 17 (UPI) — A healthy baby born in Norfok, Va., in May from an embryo cryopreserved for 19 years is raising questions about leftover life forms, bioethicists say.
The embryo, donated by an anonymous patient at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine after she gave birth to a son via in vitro fertilization, was implanted into a 42-year-old recipient 19 years later who gave birth to that May baby boy, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday.
Both boys, brothers born of two different families through IVF, decades apart may be the oldest case of this kind, the previous record being 13 years.
But their births are raising questions among bioethicists concerning “leftover” life forms frozen in liquid nitrogen.
The Pilot reports bioethicist Arthur Caplan at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who has written about IVF issues, wonders if embryos might be handed down generation to generation; if there could be accidental inbreeding among adopted-out embryos; what are the rights of the boys if they want to meet one day.
And what about the moral, ethical, indeed, gut-wrenching questions of simply discarding unused embryos.
One parent facing the issue is Joe Ruzzi, whose wife had four embryos frozen.
“It’s a difficult, difficult situation,” said Joe Ruzzi, who is 38. “We go over it and over it and over it. It’s a big ordeal. We’ve talked about donating them, but that’s difficult because they’re genetically ours, and we wouldn’t have a part in raising them if we did that.”
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.