Snowflake Children

Not only is adoption a viable and preferable option to abortion, even the excess embryos from In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can be adopted. The children who result from these adoptions are called “snowflake children” because “embryos are unique and fragile, just like a snowflake.”

Nightlight Adoptions

The first embryo adoption program began in 1997 by Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a California and South Carolina-based non-profit organization; and since that time Nightlight has allowed 247 embryos to achieve their ultimate purpose — life. This program meets a great demand, as there are over half a million[1] frozen embryos (pre-born children) in cryo-banks in the United States waiting for a chance to develop into babies; just as there are many women who actually want to be pregnant but are unable.

The Nightlight website says that “[a]lthough an embryo adoption allows more control in some ways, it provides less in other ways. You cannot choose the gender of the child as you might in an international or older child adoption, and you cannot change your mind and choose not to accept the baby for whatever reason after he or she is born. In addition, because up to three embryos are implanted at once, you might have twins or triplets. Embryo adoption can also be more difficult emotionally than traditional adoption, since there is no guarantee that in the end you will have a child[2].”

Nightlight denies, contrary to many concerns (especially among Catholics), that it encourages the creation and freezing of embryos; but merely tries to “provide a loving option to the families of the [frozen embryos][3]” and that their work actually limits the number of embryos created by informing potential IVF couples of the number of embryos already out there in need of disposition.

“Currently there are no states with laws governing embryo adoption. Nightlight uses the same steps and similar forms to those used in domestic adoption. It is our hope that instead of creating a new set of laws, the current laws for adoption will simply be expanded to include embryos.” [4]

Nightlight provides a way for parents of frozen embryos to select the couple (all couples are pre-screened with a background check) to adopt the embryos, as well as monitor the success of the ensuing pregnancy.

Some snowflake children even got the privilege of meeting pro-life President George W. Bush (pictured)[5].

Nightlight, however, is not the only option. Nearly all infertility clinics offer couples the option of donating their leftover embryos to other couples[6], albeit often without the same kind of adoption-like openness of the Nightlight program[7].  About 3,000 children have been born of similar programs[8].

Importance

Embryo adoption is substantially cheaper than IVF[9] but its real strength is that it prevents living embryos from being killed and thrown away; and that it demonstrates to pregnant young women that pregnancy is not a curse but a blessing; not an inconvenience to one’s lifestyle but a flowering of womanhood; that it is the most natural thing in the world.

Students for Life does not endorse IVF; however we do support any program which prevents the destruction of embryos. In addition, it is important to note that Snowflake Children are not an option for most pregnant women; rather, they are the alternative to destroying leftover embryos from IVF.

For more information on the Nightlight Embryo Adoption plan, you can visit their website by clicking here: http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/default.aspx .


[1] http://www.embryoadoption.org/index.cfm

[2] http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/adopting-parents.aspx

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/28/national/main712541.shtml

[6] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3076556/ns/health-health_care/

[7] http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-06-17/news/the-next-frontier-of-the-stem-cell-debate/2/#

[8] http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-06-17/news/the-next-frontier-of-the-stem-cell-debate/2/#

[9] “Embryo adoption can also be substantially cheaper than its alternatives. Stoddart’s Snowflakes and Bethany Christian Services, the two biggest brokers of embryo adoption, charge between $7,000 and $13,000. Some other agencies ask considerably less. Domestic adoptions average around $20,000, while international adoptions are often twice that much.” http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-06-17/news/the-next-frontier-of-the-stem-cell-debate/4/#

bushsnowflake.jpg

President George Bush with a Snowflake baby.

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© Students for Life of America 2010