KTRK Houston

KTRK Houston news presents misleading broadcast on IVF procedure, ignores ethics of destroying human life

Houston’s ABC affiliate KTRK presented a nightly news segment this past week touting embryonic biopsies during the in-vitro fertilization process as a way to reduce the occurrence of miscarriages in women. “[N]ow there’s a high-tech procedure to help avoid repeat miscarriages and save parents-to-be from heartbreak,” the broadcast gushes.

The segment featured a woman named Charlotte, who had experienced the hardship of numerous miscarriages following IVF attempts. Then she learned about the possibility of having her fertilized human embryos biopsied before they were implanted into her uterus. The purpose of the biopsy is to check for chromosomal abnormalities in order to predict the viability of the baby if it is implanted. This costs roughly $5,000 extra, on top of the steep price tag of IVF.

While the premise may have been technically true (miscarrying a pregnancy presupposes that the embryo has already been implanted in the mother), it is dangerously misleading. After the embryos are biopsied, only babies considered chromosomally normal and having a good chance of viability are chosen. This is often only one – or none – of the already fertilized embryos. Thus, the biopsy process reduces “miscarriages” only because it prevents existing human embryos from being implanted in the first place.

So what happens to them? They are discarded. According to Dr. Timothy Hickman, “[w]e can actually find the embryos that are chromosomally normal and only transfer the normal ones back.” If we read between the lines, what this means is that the ones who are not deemed “normal” are not transferred back (into their mother). That’s it – they were killed even before having a chance to make it in their mother’s womb.

Maybe this process prevents later miscarriages, but it doesn’t prevent the deaths of numerous human embryos who are conceived just to be destroyed.

  • Annie

    As someone who has watched a close family member carry multiple pregnancies to term, only to bury her babies a week later due to an inherited genetic disease, I thank God for the miracle of PIGD that has finally resulted in a healthy pregnancy for them. They committed to carrying all viable embryos before they began the process. No one should have to repeat that heartache of mourning their newborn children over and over and over when God has given us the means to prevent it.

    • I’m sorry for what your relative has gone through. While it is heartbreaking that some women are unable to carry healthy pregnancies, the emotion we feel for them and that they go through does not justify murdering children before they are given the chance at life. If the technology simply helped women conceive healthier embryos, that would be a completely different and acceptable procedure. However, what is going on here is that an indefinite number of already-conceived children are being thrown in the trash because they aren’t the type of children the parents want.

      • NO. In the story embryos that have 0% chance of coming to term are discarded, rather than transferred. You can’t help women conceive healthier embryos, because you don’t know which ones are healthy until you observe them or test them. Over 50% of embryos are abnormal, even in young, healthy women.

        • Only God knows which embryos will survive to term. A preliminary biopsy is not 100% reliable. Also, that is beside the point. The fact remains that embryos are being created to be subsequently discarded if they are not the types of children the parents want. This is an inhumane way to look at human life, whether it will be viable in the end or not. Ending someone else’s life is not our decision to make, and especially not for the sake of convenience.

          • You keep saying that embryos are being discarded if they’re not “the types of children the parents want.” That is crap! The “type” of children they want are ones that have a chance of coming to term. The embryos being discarded are ones with entire missing chromosomes that are going to die. Would you really have these women transfer all these doomed embryos to only lose them?

          • I would rather see God decide who is going to make it and who is not, rather than discarding them before giving them a chance. Furthermore, you keep ignoring the fact that human beings are being killed by this procedure. Or do you just not care about that?

          • And keep in mind that, unlike a normal conception, multiple embryos are being conceived with the explicit intention of discarding the ones that the parents do not want. This is not natural or just. It’s not JUST the biopsy process that is disconcerting; it’s the whole IVF process of fertilizing multiple eggs with the preconceived intention of not allowing some or all of them to survive.

          • You keep saying embryos they “do not want.” That is a LIE. The point of IVF is to get a term baby. Multiple embryos are made because the vast majority of all embryos CANNOT give rise to a live baby. Again, do you propose that embryos with extreme chromosomal abnormalities be transferred to the uterus? Because that can be done…it’s just wasteful. You can use the biopsy to pick the actually good embryo and freeze the others to be transferred at a later time.

          • The bottom line is that we (pro-lifers) believe that innocent LIFE is too precious to snuff out regardless of the reason. You are proposing reasons why it is OK to kill human beings. We do not accept these reasons as logical or loving. All life deserves a chance, and life should not be created to be played around with by scientists and disposed of for reasons that parents and doctors have deemed legitimate. We do not believe there is a legitimate reason to stand in judgment of which lives should be allowed to come to fruition and which ones will not. This is where our understandings differ.

          • Did you read my question? Would it be ok if these doomed embryos were transferred at another time?

  • Guest

    This is horrible and sick; excluding “chromosomally abnormal” (aka special needs babies)???? Sick, sick, sick.