‘Leftovers’: The Dehumanizing Language Of The IVF Industry

Nancy Flanders

Fertility is a billion-dollar industry that profits from the desperation of people who want to be parents. Just one round of IVF costs tens of thousands of dollars with only a 20-30% chance of success. On that path to success are countless babies who either didn’t survive, were discarded for not being perfect, or were aborted for being one baby too many after they were created to fulfill their parents’ wishes.

While some couples and fertility clinics are cautious about the IVF process and refuse to destroy any of the embryos they create, the fertility industry is largely commodifying children. The common and dehumanizing language surrounding the industry is proof of this.

“Fresh” vs. “frozen”

Embryos aren’t seafood or the meat at a local restaurant, yet they are spoken of as if they are. The fertility industry compares which human beings have the better chance of being carried to term and of being healthy: fresh embryos or frozen. Frozen embryos are human beings whose entire lives have been an experiment. Freezing humans prevents them from living their lives as they wait for their parents to decide whether they are truly wanted or not. Or in many cases, they are in stasis indefinitely because their parents have decided they are done with the process and have abandoned them. People are not meant to be labeled “fresh” vs. “frozen.” Children conceived using IVF are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.

“Highest quality embryos”

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