May 24, 2024

Frozen embryo adoption dissolves into acrimony

California and Missouri families at loggerheads.

Jennifer McLaughlin, right, with her two new babies

In another chapter in
the Wild, Wild West of artificial reproduction, two Christian American families
who believe in the sanctity of life are battling over two frozen embryos. Kerry
Lambert and Jennifer McLaughlin linked up on an embryo donation website. Mrs
Lambert and her husband Edward, who live in California, had four frozen embryos
left over and wanted to find a family for them. They had been created with his
sperm and donor eggs.

Jennifer and her husband Patrick, who live in Missouri, already had 5
adopted children, but wanted more. They signed an agreement that all four
embryos had to be used within a year. According to the McLaughlin’s attorney, “By express terms of the agreement, they are children that are
unborn but are entitled to the same rights and entities, legal and moral, as
any other child.”

Two of the embryos were implanted into Mrs McLaughlin and resulted in
the birth of twin girls. But when she decided to have the second pair of
embryos implanted, Mrs Lambert objected. She said that she had found another
“home” for them. Both parties hired lawyers and the fun began. The latest news
is that they are going to seek the help of a mediator instead of going to
court. As Paige Cunningham, executive director of the
Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Chicago, told the San Francisco
Chronicle, embryo adoption is a relatively new development and only a few
hundred happen each year in the US. “This is part of a massive social
experimentation, and we really don’t know what the outcome will be,” she
said. ~ San
Francisco Chronicle, Apr 10

Michael Cook
embryo adoption