A recent article in The Washington Post (June 12, 2021) reports that after 3 years of litigation, a jury in California awarded $15 million in damages to five of the patients who lost embryos and eggs in an accident in Pacific Fertility Centre in San Francisco where a failure of a tank storing frozen embryos and eggs destroyed 3.500 of them in 2018. Several other accidents like this have been reported in the last years, but this is the first one that a court awarded the patients that lost embryos.
First embryos destroyed case awarded
According to experts in the field, this is a historical verdict that appears to mark the first time a jury has awarded damages involving the accidental destruction of embryos and eggs. It is a verdict reference to others whose projects of becoming parents were dashed by similar errors but, in any case, approach the real fairness; the death of thousands of embryos.
Embryos destroyed case verdict appears to treat the loss of human beings as commodities
The aforementioned article highlights the damage to the patients that have freely opted to freeze their embryos but not the loss of thousands of embryos, a human being like us. From a bioethical and humanitarian perspective, the omission reveals the current objectivization of the embryo as an object of particular and commercial interest.
The increase in the number of frozen embryos continues collapsing fertility clinics’ capacity in the United States (read Cryopreserved embryos are continuously increasing. Millions of frozen embryos only in the United States banks and HERE). The biological and anthropological status of the embryo and his intrinsic dignity is not recognized by law and the American legislation doesn’t protect these millions of human beings. Many embryos abandoned by their owners are condemned to remain frozen or be used by fertility clinics for their benefit. Without any regulations and necessary supervision, the frozen embryos are totally helpless. A silent unfairness on a large scale must be addressed by organizations defenders of human rights. A repair such as the one referred to in the news does not address the main problem: the death of thousands of human beings.