BABI: Another Anti-Life Genetic Baby Package

The Michael Fund/IFGR
The Prolife Alternative to the MOD
Web page:
Randy Engel, Editor
Reproduced with Permission


BABI is the incredibly facetious acronym for blastomere analysis before implantation, the latest and most lethal prenatal diagnosis package for eugenic ends. The blastomere is the structure of cells resulting from the very earliest division of a fertilized egg or zygote.

As with other forms of non-therapeutic first and second trimester prenatal diagnosis, the objective of BABI is to insure that offspring with genetic defects are killed before birth.

However, BABI avoids the 'fuss and muss' of late- term eugenic abortion by accomplishing the killing of offspring at the earliest stages of human development outside the mother's womb in the spic and span hell of the artificial reproductive technology (ART) laboratory.

While the promise of a scientific and efficient means of weeding out human 'defectives' before birth has long been the dream of the Eugenic Establishment, it has only been within the last three decades that biotechnology has managed to turn nightmare into reality.

How BABI Works

While it is possible to lavage the uterus to obtain human embryos from the female reproductive tract following normal coitus and fertilization, the preferred method of initiating the BABI process is to use in vitro fertilization (IVF). Following artificially induced super-ovulation of the woman, mature eggs are collected and fertilized in test tubes in order to produce multiple human embryos.

As a rule, BABI specialists will create a minimum of ten human embryos in order to be assured of getting one 'take home baby.'

In the IVF laboratory, the 23 chromosomes of the father's (or donor's) sperm are combined with the mother's (or donor's egg) to produce a single-cell zygote containing 46 chromosomes -- the marker for the human species.

This process is repeated to produce the desired number of tiny human beings, somewhere between 10-12 per IVF cycle.

Each of these individual human zygotes immediately begins to divide -- first into two cells, then three, then four, then eight.

At the 8-cell stage, the IVF/BABI technician uses a mico-needle to remove a single cell from each of the human embryos for analysis. This procedure delays cell division for a few hours. Then, unless the embryo has been damaged, normal development continues.

Development of a Genetic Spell Check

Prior to 1974 it was virtually impossible to detect specific gene anomalies from only a single cell or two.

However, with the discovery of DNA typing using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), it is now possible to make copies of that single cell to probe for a genetic defect. Moreover, those results can be obtainable within a few hours.

Another technology called fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) can be used to detect chromosomal abnormalities.

Newer methods for single-cell analysis that are in the experimental stage include Comparative Genomic Hybridization which amplifies the entire genome.

Once the cells from each human embryo have been analyzed, the affected embryos (or in case of an X-related disorder, all male embryos) are destroyed. The remaining embryos are then graded for implantation potential and the endometrium of the mother's womb hormonally prepared for implantation. One to three of the selected embryos are then transferred from the test tube to the womb on day 4 or 5.

At this point in the BABI process, the parents are given various "options" as to the fate of their remaining offspring. The tiny embryos can be stored cryogenically for possible future transplantation, they can be donated for scientific "research" or they can be killed outright.

The Limitations of BABI

BABI is still in the early stages of development and there are many technical problems associated with it.

Misdiagnosis of the extracted cell is set at 10% and includes false negatives, false positives, no results and the inability of the test to identify a mosaic, that is an embryo having a different chromosomal make-up.

Damage to the embryo while attempting to excise the single cell for analysis is put at 0.6%.

As in all IVF procedures, the chance for successful implantation of at least one normal embryo is very low -- between 10-20%. And, as with natural conception, once the pregnancy is established, there is always the possibility of loss due to miscarriage.

Also, since only 35% of all birth defects are inherited, and since BABI does not test for all chromosomal disorders, the procedure cannot automatically guarantee parents a "perfect" child.

That is why the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology recommend that all BABI patients undergo a non-invasive form of prenatal diagnosis during the first trimester -- usually a combination of ultrasound and alpha fetal protein testing -- to see if the transferred embryo or embryos are still "normal." If the test indicates a possible "problem," chorion villi sampling or amniocentesis is offered during the second-trimester along with the usual "pregnancy termination" of any "defectives."

In the unlikely event that two or more children have weathered the IVF storm, the mother, particularly if she is an older woman. is also given the option of "pregnancy reduction," that is, the killing off of all but one child. A large dose of potassium chloride is injected into the heart of babies marked for death and the dead bodies are later removed piecemeal.

There are currently 40 BABI testing centers in the world in 17 different countries.

Because of the complexity of the procedure, these sites must have a full complement of BABI services including obstetrical and gynecological care, genetic counseling, and IVF and molecular biology facilities. As of April 2001, more than 500 babies have been born using BABI technology. The BABI procedure's long-term effects, if any, are unknown at this time.

BABI's Target Population

BABI's current 'Target' population includes the following groups: "at-risk" couples for specific genetic disorders, women with a history of spontaneous miscarriages, infertile couples, women of advanced maternal age and families with a history of genetic disorders that exclusively or predominantly effect males.

Many women who undergo BABI have already had multiple late-term abortions for eugenic reasons.

BABI can currently test for more than 400 conditions, including single gene disorders and chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy and translocations) including Down syndrome, Turner syndrome and Fragile X; Tay-Sachs; hemoglobin disorders including Sickle Cell, and Thalassemia anemias; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Lesch-Nyhan disease; Huntington's disease and cystic fibrosis. Proponents of BABI have argued that over 200 disorders can be 'prevented' by gender selection alone.

IVF and BABI are Big Business

In the United States and abroad, the IVF/BABI industry is driven by corporate greed and inspired by the eugenic mentality. It is big business. Approximately 40,000 IVF cycles are initiated each year in this country alone. Each cycle costs between $3,500 to $10,000. BABI adds another $2,5000 per cycle.

However, since BABI is still in the clinical stage of development, these hefty fees may be waived if the client is willing to participate in experimental trials connected with either the effectiveness or safety of the procedure.

IVF labs also earn money from the sale of human embryos, including BABI-produced embryos that have been either abandoned or "donated" to science by clients.

Drug companies pay well for human embryos that can be used to develop more efficient abortifacient drugs or to test various medications or environmental chemicals on the young human embryo.

Human embryos are also being used in the development of an "artificial womb." IVF "leftovers" or "spares" have been induced to attach themselves to scaffolds of biodegradable materials shaped in the form of a uterine wall. In England, these tiny human beings are permitted to live up until the 14th day before being destroyed.

Developers of the artificial womb believe that, in the future, it may be possible to grow all babies in laboratory hatcheries. Women will no longer be 'inconvenienced' by pregnancy for nine months and they won't have to worry about raising a 'defective' product.

According to Dr. Barry Behr, Director of IVF and ART at Stanford University Medical Center, genetic advances like IVF and BABI mean that in the future, " and reproduction will be two separate acts, that is, all conceptions will occur in the lab test tube as in Brave New World... . "We have not scratched the surface of the potential of these techniques. Diseases will be prevented, "says Behr. "In theory, any disease that is hereditary, we can test for."1

The Marketing of BABI

The "selling" of BABI to potential clients and to the general public as a scientific "advancement" requires the careful application of euphemisms and patently dishonest advertising.

Artful language is used throughout BABI literature to disguise the fact that BABI involves the methodical killing of many human beings. The human embryo is frequently referred to as a "pre-embryo" or "conceptus" or simply "material."

"Spares" are human embryos in excess of three. "Rejects" or "discards" are genetically damaged embryos.

In the words of Dr. Robert G. Edwards, considered the father of IVF, "BABI is not abortion. It is the pre-clinical abortion of blighted ova."2

Edwards contends that BABI offers special advantages over eugenic abortion usually associated with traditional means of prenatal diagnosis such as mid-trimester amniocentesis because it precludes the need for parents to directly participate in the destruction of their offspring. It eliminates the problem of maternal bonding of mother and child. BABI multiple contract killing is carried out impersonally in the IVF laboratory -- out of sight -- out of mind.

Other BABI advocates claim that by using BABI, couples can avoid the religious and moral concerns associated with 'pregnancy termination.' They report that many women who are opposed to abortion find BABI acceptable. Still others try to defend BABI on the theory that by eliminating defective embryos before birth it is simply mimicking nature.

Their thesis is that the embryonic mortality rate for the human species is very high. Only 25% of natural conceptions are result in full term infants. Natural miscarriages, usually associated with chromosomal abnormalities, accounts for 15% of the loss of human life, while 60% of human embryos never successfully implant. Therefore, by weeding out 'defectives' outside of the womb, BABI is simply giving nature a hand.

Other proponents of BABI argue that since so many women find abortifacient birth control devices and drugs acceptable, they have little difficulty accepting BABI.

From a technological point of view, BABI is said to improve pregnancy outcome in women with a history of miscarriages since chromosomal 'defectives' are weeded out in the laboratory and only unaffected human embryos are implanted.

Always sensitive to the charge that the field of genetics continues to be identified in the public mind with eugenics, BABI advocates are quick to attempt to disassociate the two. BABI is not "eugenic" in nature proponents argue because the procedure is not imposed by society. Rather BABI falls under the category of "reproductive choice."

Indeed, the U.S. Public Health Service's "Healthy People 2000" program identifies BABI as a form of "family planning," since it permits "genetically disadvantaged people" to have children free of serious birth defects without the "family nightmare" of late abortion.

Of course, the reality of is that, to a greater or lesser extent all humans are "genetically disadvantaged", in that they all carry potentially deleterious recessive genes that, if combined with a partner's recessive allele can produce a child with a serious birth defect.

Edwards is not shy about pointing out certain societal advantages from BABI. He openly professes that BABI eliminates the need for both the treatment and care of handicapped children and adults.

Also, it is a lie to say that BABI eliminates the 'need' for late-term abortions altogether. As noted earlier, all BABI clients are encouraged to undergo early prenatal diagnosis, and if indicated, follow-up with amniocentesis and selective abortion of any affected children who have escaped the BABI net or have been damaged by the IVF/BABI procedure.

The Ideological Basis for IVF and BABI

What is the main theoretical motivation behind IVF and BABI?

Readers may be surprised by the answer given by Susan Heyner of the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. In the first sentence of her essay, "Applications of Animal Embryo Culture Research to Human IVF and Embryo Transfer Programs" Heyner claims that "The motivation for many reproductive biologists to study early developmental processes is the specter of overpopulation."3 (emphasis added)

In Heyner's opinion, normal human beings are too prolific. They simply have too many children. Reproductive biologists have come to the rescue by developing new birth control techniques.

However, on the flip side of the population equation are infertile couples. It is ironic that infertility in women is often linked to the use of birth control methods advanced by the reproductive biologists.

Once again biotechnology comes to the rescue with the latest in biotechnology including artificial insemination, IVF, prenatal diagnosis and BABI.

The goal: To help people to achieve a minimum, but to avoid a maximum, of births.

BABI's Toll on Human Life

On July 27, 2001, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported a case of parents who used BABI to obtain a baby that could provide stem cells to cure a sibling born with Fanconi's anemia.

Following IVF, a total of 30 human embryos were produced -- 6 affected and 24 normal. From the latter group, only five were found to be HLA-compatible, that is, they could provide the stem cells necessary for transplantation to the sibling.

In the first IVF cycle two embryos were implanted but failed to grow. Cycles two and three were also failures. The fourth try proved successful and an unaffected child was born, from whose umbilical cord stem cells were retrieved to treat the sibling suffering from Franconi's anemia.

What was the cost in terms of human life? Obviously, the 6 affected embryos never had a shot at life. Nor did the normal 19 offspring who were not a match for the transplantation. Of the five embryos who were implanted, their chance for survival was only between 10-20%.

Thus twenty-nine lives were snuffed out in order to produce one child who could act as a donor for an affected sibling.

Nor are these dead offspring the only victims of this latest biotech assault on human life. BABI preaches the typical eugenic sermon -- handicapped persons have no right to exist. BABI puts a bounty on the head of every handicapped person -- born and unborn.

As for the development of cures for inherited disorders including life-threatening Franconi's anemia, forget it! BABI eliminates the need for treatment!

BABI and the NIH Biocracy

In 1964, in his classic work The Technological Society, the French writer, Jacques Ellul, warned against the emergence of a future "dictatorship of test tubes" under the control of vast bureaucracy of population controllers and biological engineers. The dominant feature of this new "Biocracy," will be "a willed devotion to technology -- uninhibited by any other consideration than engineering results."4

"In the domain of genetics, natural reproduction will be forbidden. A stable population will be necessary, and it will consist of the highest human types," says Ellul. He prophesizes that this new regime will be "the harshest of dictatorships." "In comparison," he says," Hitler's was a trifling affair. That it is to be a dictatorship of test tubes rather than of hobnailed boots will not make it any less a dictatorship.5

In the United States, the epicenter for the Biocracy is the National Institutes of Health that operates under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Created in 1887, the NIH has been at the cutting edge of biological engineering and population control for more than half a century. Year after year, Congress, with only casual oversight, has religiously handed over billions of tax-dollars to the Biocracy at the NIH. The NIHbudget for FY 2002 was $23.4 billion.

The NIH has promoted and pioneered the development of all forms of population control and eugenic manipulation including human in vitro fertilization and BABI. It has played a major role in the institutionalization of eugenics in the medical profession It has been a world leader in the biotech triad of artificial insemination, IVF and human embryo experimentation.

Virtually the entire direction of biomedical research in this country is currently controlled by the NIH Biocracy. Within this giant interlock we find all the major foundations with population control interests and an ever-expanding network of commercial biotech firms and university research laboratories.

Today, when all eyes are focused upon the dictatorship of foreign despots, it might be well for all Americans, including the U.S. Congress, to take a closer look at the infinitely more dangerous dictatorship within -- the dictatorship of Biocracy.

We know that the Biocracy is already responsible for the death of thousands of innocent human beings each year as evidenced by IVF/BABI. We need federal legislation that will criminalize IVF/BABI and all other forms of human embryo experimentation across the board.

The tiny human embryo is a member of our kin. From the moment of his conception his moral status as a human being is intrinsic to himself. This moral status is not one to be assigned but a status to be acknowledged and to be protected by law.

If Americans permit the human carnage associated with IVF/BABI to go on without a fight, and if we give the Biocracy the right to determine who is human and who is not, then the 21st century will indeed be the Age of the Dictatorship of Test Tubes, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.


1 Lisa M. Krieger, "Ferreting out flawed embryos," Mercury News, March 12, 2002. [Back]

2 See Robert G. Edwards, Editor, Preconception and Preimplantation Diagnosis of Human Genetic Disease, Cambridge University Press, 1993; and Yury Verlinsky and Anver Kuliev with foreword by Robert G. Edwards, An Atlas of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, Parthenon Publishing Group, NY, 2000. [Back]

3 Susan Heyner, "Applications of Animal Embryo Culture Research to Human IVF and Embryo Transfer Programs" in Koji Yoshinaga and Takahide Mori, Development of Preimplantation Embryos and Their Environment -- Proceedings of Kyoto, Japan Symposium, July 14-16, 1988, Alan R. Liss, Inc., NY, 1989. [Back]

4 William B. Ball, Population Control -- Civil and Constitutional Concerns, reprinted by the U.S. Coalition for Life, Export, PA, 1974, p. 44. [Back]

5 Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, Vintage Books, Random House, 1964, p. 432. [Back]

See also:

Yury Verlinsky and Anver Kuliev, Preimplantation Genetics -- Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Preimplantation Genetics, September 14-19, 1990, Chicago, Plenum Press, NY, 1991.

Barry D. Bavister, The Mammalian Preimplantation Embryo -- Regulation of Growth and Differentiation in Vitro, Plenum, NY, 1987.