An Australian company has pledged to continue creating jewelry from human embryos despite facing international backlash.
Amy McGlade, founder of Baby Bee Hummingbirds, said that they make hand rings, necklaces, and earrings using baby hair, breast milk, “loved ones ashes,” and discarded embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
After couples succeed in having a child with the help of IVF, they often have a number of unused embryos. If the couple doesn’t want to implant any more of their children, they pay a yearly fee to leave them frozen, donate them to another couple to implant, thaw them and have them thrown away, or now, thaw them and have them made into jewelry.
“I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world,” said McGlade in an article on KidSpot.
After the article on KidSpot featured their products in a story of one of their customers who now wears the ashes of seven embryos around her neck on a pendant, people flooded the company’s inbox with disapproval.
Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu said that she found the work “sickening and disturbing,” and she’s not alone.
“We have received thousands of vile, cruel, and unimaginable emails and messages,” the company posted on Facebook on May 6. “Death threats and hate have flooded our accounts.”
The owners vowed to ignore the outcry and “follow our hearts and those that seek our service” to keep making embryo jewelry.
In the Kidspot article, the featured couple chose not to donate their embryos created during six years of IVF treatment, pay the yearly storage fee, or have any more children themselves. The embryo jewelry “brought me so much comfort and joy,” Belinda Stafford said.
“My embryos were my babies—frozen in time. When we completed our family, it wasn’t in my heart to destroy them,” Stafford said. “Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake.” Grossu sees it differently.
“In creating the jewelry, she’s actually destroying them,” she said. “I think what this couple is grappling with is that they have made human beings and, in a sense, they are trying to assuage their own consciences about them.”
She said she fears the publicity the company is getting may encourage others to start making embryo jewelry and promulgate the “philosophy of commodification,” or making and destroying humans at will.
“We have to go back to an understanding of the dignity and value of each human life, even when that human being is just a few days old, and respect the dignity, the beauty, of that human being,” Grossu said.
Christians should walk alongside those couples who struggled with infertility and have undergone IVF treatment, showing them options that don’t destroy embryos, she said: “We have to act differently toward those new human beings, those little embryos.”
— by Samantha Gobba