RESOLVE Urges Support for Stem Cell Research and Patients' Right to Decide Fate of Their Frozen Embryos

BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- RESOLVE: The National Infertility
Association reinforces the need to support stem cell research and the right of
infertility patients to decide the fate of their frozen embryos, following an
important report aired Sunday on the CBS News program, "60 Minutes." The news
report highlighted the federal government's desire to suppress potentially
life-saving stem cell research and to prohibit thousands of women and men from
deciding what to do with frozen embryos not used during infertility treatment.
"The ultimate use of frozen embryos should be fully and completely the
decision of the couple who produced the embryos," said Joseph C. Isaacs, CAE,
President and Chief Executive Officer, RESOLVE. "It should not be blindly
mandated by the federal government, or members of the President's Council on
Bioethics, who are clearly out of touch with today's realities, and the
realities of medically necessary infertility treatments."
RESOLVE also calls for additional education and support for the thousands
of U.S. couples who have to make difficult and very personal decisions related
to the use of their frozen embryos.
Recently, RESOLVE and other secular groups assisting infertile couples
with unbiased information about their embryo disposition options, including
the American Fertility Association, were startled by the actions of a federal
government program addressing the subject. Nearly one million dollars in
federal Health and Human Services grant funds "to develop and implement public
awareness campaigns regarding embryo adoption" were for the first time in the
program's three-year history awarded exclusively to four Christian faith-based
groups. These groups openly share the Administration's right-to-life views
that frozen embryos should be made available solely for the purposes of
"Embryo donation is not a simple family building option," said Isaacs.
"Rather, it is a complex, deeply personal matter of reproductive choice -- a
decision that demands that potential donors and recipients be fully
knowledgeable of all their options. Those affected should expect to receive
unbiased information and not be concerned that they may be exposed to
incomplete, value-laden guidance proselytized by groups under the aegis of a
federal government program. There is not a community decision but rather a
very private decision that can best be accomplished with the availability of
reliable and accurate information devoid of bias, religious, political or
Infertile couples that successfully undergo medical treatment, such as in
vitro fertilization, often produce excess embryos that are frozen and never
used in their attempts to have other babies. It is estimated that, currently,
there are nearly 400,000 cryopreserved (frozen) embryos in storage in the
United States as a result of infertility treatment. While the majority of
infertile patients expect to use their embryos for further family building
pursuits, many cryopreserved embryos will be discarded if not donated, either
to other infertile individuals to help them have a baby or to research to save
lives. RESOLVE supports the availability of both these options and encourages
federal policy to fully recognize them as appropriate.

"Embryonic stem cells hold tremendous promise and could provide the
missing link to cure some of the world's most deadly and debilitating
diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's
Disease, diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal cord
injury," said Isaacs. "More than 100 million Americans could benefit from
this research. Couples who wish to donate their frozen embryos to research
should be allowed that option just as they are now being encouraged to
contribute their embryos to other infertile couples for the purposes of family
building. Both are humane and charitable acts."

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, headquartered in Bethesda,
MD, is a consumer-based, nonprofit group that, since 1974, has provided
education, advocacy and support to those struggling with infertility. Each
year, National RESOLVE and its network of more than 40 chapters across the
U.S. handle over 1.5 million contacts from people seeking information about
infertility. For more information, visit the RESOLVE website at

CONTACT: Gina Cella
Cella Communications
T: 781-334-4692