Embryos abandoned by parents present ethical, legal quandary

The Calgary Herald reports that fewer than 5% (20,000) of the roughly 400,000 frozen embryos at fertility clinics in the United States have been abandoned by their parents.  It suggests that over 135,000 frozen embryos are stored at clinics in Canada; a  5% rate would imply over 6,700 abandoned embryos.  That figure might be too low, since one clinic is reported to have 1,000 “unclaimed” embryos.  The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has decided that clinics can destroy embryos that have been abandoned for at least five years, the parents cannot be located, and there are no written instructions to indicate what should be done with them.  The guidance is legally and ethically contested. [Calgary Herald]

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