Frozen embryo 'adoption' scheme to lose US government funding
Progress Educational Trust08 April 2012
A US scheme that promotes the 'adoption' of embryos produced during IVF but not implanted is likely to have its government funding withdrawn in the next financial year.
The Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign is the only scheme of its kind funded by the US government. The scheme publicises programmes where people can pay for the continued cryopreservation of embryos leftover from IVF cycles. These embryos can then be implanted into other women seeking fertility treatment.
However, in a funding report delivered to Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that it 'is not requesting funds for this programme' because 'the Embryo Adoption programme will be discontinued in 2013'.
While supporters of the move believe dropping the scheme will free up funding for other areas of reproductive health, the announcement has sparked upset in pro-life circles.
Children conceived this way have been called 'snowflake babies', with the first born in 1998. Between 2004 and 2009, about 1,900 infants were born after embryo adoption.
The HHS report said that the programme would no longer be funded due to 'limited interest'. Only a 'very small pool of applicants, many of who are repeat recipients' are seeking the grants, it read.
Last year, the Embryo Adoption programme received $1.9 million in federal funding and has received a total of $23 million to promote the option to couples wishing to have children. A range of different embryo adoption services across the US benefit from the awareness programme.
Barbara Collura, executive director of Resolve: The National Infertility Association, said she thinks the money Congress already has spent on embryo adoption awareness has 'done the trick' and believes that more funding is needed for general education about infertility.
But Americans United for Life (AUL), a pro-life organisation, said that such a decision is more evidence of 'the pro-abortion slant' of the Obama administration. 'Why would the administration cut nearly $2 million for adoption awareness, but keep $1 million a day for Planned Parenthood?' asked Mailee Smith from AUL.
The Embryo Awareness campaign was created during the George W. Bush administration as part of a pro-life initiative.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.