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In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

‘Embryo adoption’ service seeks to give infertile couples a chance to have a family

By Janet I. Tu

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article | (MCT) The day the frozen embryo arrived via FedEx was the day Maria Lancaster began experiencing firsthand what she had always believed: that human life begins at conception.

Lancaster was 46 and, after having three miscarriages, she and her husband, Jeff, longed for a child. One day, they heard about "embryo adoptions" - where couples who've gone through in vitro fertilization donate any leftover embryos to infertile couples. Several months of soul-searching later, they received a frozen embryo from a North Carolina clinic - cells that were thawed and implanted in Lancaster's womb.

Now Lancaster looks at her 5-year-old daughter Elisha - lively and precocious - and thinks: miracle. "It was a demonstration to us that every embryo is a complete, unique and total human being in its tiniest form," Lancaster said.

Earlier this month, Lancaster launched an "embryo adoption" service through Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell. The service aims to match couples who want to donate embryos with those who want to receive them.

It's one of only a few such services nationwide and, as far as Lancaster knows, the only one run by a church, though many such services are Christian-based.

While the practice of donating embryos to infertile couples is, in itself, not particularly controversial, the question of what's to be done with some 400,000 frozen embryos in storage nationwide touches on some of the most controversial issues of the day, from abortion to stem-cell research.

The stored embryos are the result of fertility treatments. When a couple undergoes in vitro fertilization, the doctor retrieves a woman's eggs and mixes them with sperm in a lab. If embryos result, a certain number are transferred to the woman's uterus and any extra ones are frozen for future use.

But often, especially once a couple has children, the additional embryos are no longer needed. The couple can then donate them to other infertile couples, give them away for research purposes, discard them or pay to keep them in storage.

Those who support research using stem cells derived from embryos see in it hope for cures for diseases that afflict millions, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Others believe such research is wrong. "All these embryos are just people in an early stage of life," maintains Pastor Joe Fuiten, who heads Cedar Park Church. "We can't just treat them like trash."

Many others disagree that embryos are people, and that point of contention is central to the larger issues surrounding embryo donation.

Such issues came to the forefront when President George W. Bush restricted federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and may come up again once President-elect Barack Obama, who supports relaxing those restrictions, takes office.

For many fertility clinics, it comes down to letting patients decide for themselves when human life begins. And "from there, they choose the option of what to do with their embryos," said Stephanie Frickleton with Pacific Northwest Fertility in Seattle, which runs its own embryo-donation program.

At the Lancasters' home in the Snoqualmie Valley, Elisha is clearly cherished.

She twirls in her black-velvet-and-pink-tulle dress. Then she grabs her father's hand, pretending to paint his fingernails blue - though "sometimes it changes color based on whether you're a boy or a girl," she says.

Maria Lancaster, president of a ship-supply company, acknowledges that when she first heard about embryo transfers, "the thought of putting someone else's kid in your body" seemed strange.

For her, seeing Elisha come into being from two cells that had been frozen for four years before being implanted in her womb gave form to the words from the Bible, where God says: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."

Though brochures for Embryo Adoption Services of Cedar Park clearly come out against embryonic stem-cell research, Lancaster sees her work as noncontroversial, saying it gives infertile couples the gift of a child and embryos currently stored in freezers a chance at life.

Sean Tipton, spokesman for the 8,500-member American Society of Reproductive Medicine, says his group supports embryo donation as one of several options open to in vitro patients.

What he objects to is the term "embryo adoption," saying it is used by groups that "want to elevate the moral status of the embryo to be the equivalent of an existing child."

Scientifically speaking, that's simply flawed thinking, he says, explaining that in natural conceptions, only 25 percent of fertilized eggs develop into babies.

Embryo transfers themselves are often unsuccessful, since many embryos don't survive the freezing-and-thawing process. And even after an embryo has been implanted, the pregnancy rate is not high.

Equating a fertilized egg with a living child would mean "you can't allow freezing of these embryos for later use (because) we don't freeze babies," and you can't allow abortions or some forms of contraception such as IUDs, Tipton said.

"I think in most people's minds there's a difference between a fertilized egg and a baby," said Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Calling embryo donations "adoptions" is a "political stunt, appealing on emotions," she said.

In any case, given the 400,000 frozen embryos in storage, the number of embryo transfers has been small. Tipton thinks that's because potential donors are uncomfortable with the idea of one of their genetic children being raised by someone else and those who go to fertility clinics do so wanting to have their own child. Indeed, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which runs one of the largest "embryo-adoption" services in the country, says its program has resulted in 194 births over the last decade. Another large program, the five-year-old National Embryo Donation Center, has logged nearly 100.

For Heather Mayer, 36, of Silverdale, the numbers don't matter much.

When Mayer, an adoptions coordinator at a local Christian organization, decided to "adopt" an embryo, it was a way of expressing her pro-life values, she said. She also wanted to experience pregnancy.

These days, she not only has a 10-month old daughter, Amelia, but a relationship with Amelia's genetic parents. Both couples were willing to get to know each other, and exchanged pictures and regular e-mails. The two couples plan to meet in March.

Lisa Maritz of Everett, a 39-year-old homemaker with three children, is committed to donating her four frozen embryos to Maria Lancaster's new service.

She acknowledges having long discussions with her husband about the idea of giving away what could become the genetic siblings of her three boys - two born after in vitro fertilization, one conceived naturally.

"We have a peace about it," she says of the decision. "We want to give another family the gift of having their own family."



American Society of Reproductive Medicine:

Nightlight Christian Adoptions:

National Embryo Donation Center:

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