By WESLEY J. SMITH
If you want to know what’s going to go wrong in the culture, read the professional journals. A case in point: An article in the April 10 New England Journal of Medicine called for the creation of a commodities market for “made-to-order” human embryos.
The authors, I. Glenn Cohen and Eli Y. Adashi—university professors, of course—treat embryos as the equivalent of a prize cattle herd. They note that sperm and eggs are already bought and sold for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and, further, that New York legalized buying eggs for use in biotechnological research a few years ago. Hence, “it is not clear” (an oft-used phrase in bioethical advocacy that frees the author from actually having to prove a point) why we should not also allow companies to make “made-to-order embryos” for profit, since that activity would be “more similar to the sale of gametes than the sale of children.”
As a matter of basic biology, that isn’t true: A human embryo is an organism, a nascent human being, while an egg or sperm is just a cell. But what’s a little sophistry in the cause of deconstructing ethics? After all, to use a movie idiom, there’s gold in them thar hills!