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Embryo Ash Becomes Jewelry

test tube babyCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The dwindling respect for human life reached a new low this week with the announcement that a jewelry company is now fashioning pendants out of the ashes of “leftover” embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics.

Newsbusters broke this appalling story about an Australian company named Baby Bee Hummingbirds that produces keepsakes for new mothers that contain breastmilk, placentas, teeth, cord stumps, hair, and the ashes of loved ones. The company has now added a new category to the list - “embryo ash.”

“It’s special because the embryos often signifying the end of a journey, and we are providing a beautiful and meaningful way to gently close the door,” said Baby Bee owner Amy McGlade told Lisa Mayoh of Kidspot. “What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?” Have you tried using special jewelry with a meaningful inspiration like a  sagittarius necklace and other pieces.

Mayoh documents the story of Belinda and Shaun Stafford who went through six years of IVF through which they produced three children; however, when they realized they couldn't afford any more children, they still had seven viable embryos in the clinic.

“Donating our embryos wasn’t an option for us and I couldn’t justify the yearly storage fee,” Belinda told Kidspot. “I’d heard others had planted them in the garden but we move a lot, so I couldn’t do this. I needed them with me.”

When they heard about Baby Bee Hummingbirds, they “jumped at the chance.”

Ms Stafford had a heart-shaped pendant made in which the ashes of her seven embryos were placed.

And she’s not alone. Thus far, McGlade has crafted 50 pieces of jewelry, costing between $80 and $600, with embryo ash., she has always gotten inspiration online at adinasjewels.com.

The Staffords, and many couples like them, truly mourn the loss of their “leftover” embryos. They have unwittingly become victims of the prevailing culture of death which has reduced human life to a commodity that one can create in a laboratory or discard when no longer “affordable.” This is the trap of IVF, which lures couples desperate for children, fills them with hope and sometimes the babies they desire, but eventually leaves them facing the untenable situation of embryonic children the culture has declared "disposable."

“Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development,” St. John Paul said in Evangelium Vitae. “Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life.”

Even in the tiniest and most vulnerable form – an embryo.

This truth was confirmed in a new guidance issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in October of 2016 which explains why the ashes of the dead should be treated with the respect they deserve.

“By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body, and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity.”

Ashes are to be buried in a sacred place, not kept on the mantle, scattered at sea – or made into jewelry.

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