Julie with a B

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
And what is an embryo?
(This is a continuing discussion of this article.)
Charlie says:
“But implanting then giving birth to what will be, genetically, his own child against his will strikes me as wrong, regardless of his legal obligations to that child.”

My thought is, Why would it be wrong? This would clearly be a wanted, well-loved child. Do you own your own genetic material? Is property? Are the embryos property?

If two people have consensual sex, yet not with the stated reason of producing a child, and the woman becomes pregnant, does the prospective father have rights? To whom does the unexpected embryo belong?
Does the answer change if the man, within weeks of the encounter, has a tragic accident and is no longer able to father a child?

DC comments:
“We may be discussing what “conception” means here, that is, the distinction between an embryo (potential life) and an embryo growing inside of a mother’s womb (in my view, life).”

Yet the definition, in medical terms, of conception is fertilization of the egg. The fertilized egg is a zygote until it is implanted when it becomes an embryo. I think what needs to be defined is what point does an embryo become property of both parents? Charlie feels that that point is before conception, that the father owns his genetic material. For DC, it seems to be once the embryo has implanted.

As a girl person I cannot lay claim to an opinion on the father’s side. From my point of view, I own my genetic material. It is mine to use or not use as I see fit. And, of course, I include in that “not using” the ability to end the pregnancy any time before the end of the 2nd month, and probably before the end of the 3rd month. Beyond that *my choice* would not include ending the pregnancy. There are many reasons why others would make a different choice.

Jack said:
“I feel badly for the woman but it is not exactly fair to the children who might come of this either.”

Why, Jack? Clearly this woman wants a child very badly. Most mothers who love their children acknowledge the need for a father or father figure in their child’s life. Would the child feel rejected by its “natural” father? Maybe. But there are many well adjusted happy adopted children in the world. Many would wonder who that genetic provider might be, many wouldn’t care. In my mind, if for some reason a court over-rode the contract, the injured party would be the father. He does not want his genetic material walking around as a child.


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