Why isn't mass death interesting enough for the evening news?

A London fertility clinic has had its operating licence suspended owing to what was modestly described as “significant concerns”. The Homerton Fertility Centre has been ordered by the UK’s government fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to cease new procedures during investigations.

The clinic has admitted that there were three separate incidents. “Errors in some freezing processes” had occurred, and “a small number of embryos” had perished or were “undetectable”. In other words, they could not be found after thawing.

According to the BBC, as many as 150 embryos belonging to up to 45 patients. could have been destroyed or lost.

What response is adequate to such a tragedy? One could weep, or rant. Or perhaps descend into riffing on Oscar Wilde’s cynical bon mot: “To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

It’s hard to know what to say, but gross carelessness like this are not uncommon in the IVF industry. The debacle at Homerton must be an opportunity to take stock.

The fertility industry claims that it promotes life. But if embryonic life happens to be “imperfect”, it is disposed of. This hugely profitable industry claims that it can solve the misery of childlessness, but it actually contributes to it by offering the false reassurance that women will be able to have children in middle age. In reality, it is an infertility industry.

Without the slightest sense of irony, the British media has been in mourning over the tragedy of the 150-year-old Sycamore Gap tree. It was a perfectly formed sycamore growing in a gap in Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. It was the most famous tree in Britain and featured in the Hollywood film, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Last September, vandals toppled it with a chainsaw.

Recently, the BBC visited a “secret National Trust centre” where cuttings from the iconic tree are being grown. “New life has sprung from the rescued seeds and twigs of the Sycamore Gap tree,” wrote the BBC reporter. There are now hopes that a new tree could eventually grow in the Gap.



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No responsible person would ever condone the wilful felling of a healthy, beautiful tree, but I believe that there was more public dismay over the iconic tree than over the destroyed embryos.

Even worse, with Labour MPs now working to decriminalise abortion, we may soon have abortion up to birth and even a little bit beyond, for any reason -- including for reasons of sex and race -- with no legal consequences at all for those involved.

Even if this fails, there will be little chance of protecting embryos in fertility clinics when we already ignore over ten million unborn babies deliberately (and legally) destroyed in abortion since 1967.

And far from a public inquiry being held into this appalling situation, moves are underway to criminalise any show of disapproval, even in the case of silent prayer, while violent pro-abortion protests are virtually ignored.

The Guardian has reported that a document from Prevent, a government program to stop radicalisation, has included “believing in socialism, communism, anti-fascism and anti-abortion in a list of potential signs of ideologies leading to terrorism”.

After reporting on the fertility clinic and the Sycamore Gap tree, the popular UK breakfast show Good Morning Britainwent on to discuss The Zone of Interest, the recent Oscar-winning film showing how Rudolf Höss, commandant at Auschwitz concentration camp, lived quietly with his family in a charming house adjoining the camp, while millions were being murdered on the other side of their neat and tidy garden fence.

At the post-War Nuremberg Trials, abortion was regarded as a crime against humanity, and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights the UN enshrined the right to life from conception.

Ironically, discussion of The Zone of Interest on Good Morning Britain centred on how it was possible to ignore mass murder even under our very noses. This is a very good question; but the mass killing of embryos and unborn children is unlikely ever to make the news.

When will someone make a film on abortion titled Zone of No Interest Whatsoever? 

Are IVF clinics honest? Tell us what you think in the comment box below.

Ann Farmer writes from the United Kingdom. 

Image credits: the Sycamore tree / Wikipedia


Showing 8 reactions

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  • Ann Farmer
    commented 2024-03-19 09:43:46 +1100
    Mr Meyer, I agree with Mrs Cracker about respecting the lives of born as well as unborn children, and sadly it is true that if we ignore the right to life of the unborn, the answer to the problems of the born can easily be seen as just getting rid of them before birth. No wonder abortion is by far the greatest cause of death worldwide. Sacrificing the weakest doesn’t seem very socialist to me. We were all embryos once upon a time, but somebody protected our lives.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-03-18 16:55:45 +1100
    So called “pro-lifers” never seen able to respond to a simple question. What measures, laws, etc, would you like to see implemented to improve the life chances of born children, especially those growing up in poverty?

    Whatever you think of a fertilised egg, it is not conscious. It does not experience fear or pain when flushed down the toilet as happens quite often when the egg fails to implant.

    On the other hand, some time after the second trimester the baby can experience all of the above. It is conscious. It can know suffering.

    So give the choice between saving a thousand fertilised eggs in test tube and one born baby from a fire, I know what I’d choose.

    And given the choice between helping a single born child in any way vs gnashing my teeth over a billion fertilised eggs I also know which I’d choose.

    So think of the children of these families:

    Brits Suffering ‘Grim’ Victorian Diseases Due To Poverty, Says Public Health Expert

    What would you like to see done for them while you’re bewailing the fate of fertilised eggs?
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-03-16 12:17:09 +1100
    Does “encourage respect” include supporting measures that make it possible for born extra-uterine babies to access a decent standard of medical care and education? Or measures that alleviate some of the stresses of growing up poor.?

    Maybe Wilde did share that perspective in his “last moments” but I’m not impressed by last minute conversions.
  • mrscracker
    Well, Mr. Steven I try to encourage respect for human life in every stage of development & every condition, disability, or circumstance. I believe the author of this article does also. I can’t assume what any deceased person might have thought, but Oscar Wilde did convert to Catholicism in his last moments, so I hope he shared that perspective, too.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-03-15 17:10:29 +1100

    Not “single in a test tube” but “single cell in a test tube.”
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-03-15 17:08:53 +1100
    My guess, mrscracker, is that Oscar Wilder would care as much about the fate of a single in a test tube as I do. Which is not at all.

    In fact were he still around he might write a satirical play about people like you and Ms Farmer who seem to care more about “extra-uterine babies” who have never been born than about extra-uterine babies who have been born. I mean, we’re all extra-uterine babies.
  • mrscracker
    I wonder what Oscar Wilde would be saying about all this today?
  • Ann Farmer
    published this page in The Latest 2024-03-13 12:13:52 +1100