Our diploid (full complement of chromosomes) body sets aside the haploid (half complement of chromosomes essential to sexual reproduction) early in foetal life. That is why an aborted foetus has the potential to provide more eggs for IVF than an adult woman. A child born as the result of fertilising an egg from a foetus has reduced the haploid link in the chain of life from what may be several tens of years to two or three months.
I agree with Dr Habgood that, when discussing IVF, 'the long- term implications for a proper evaluation of our own humanity are profound'; but I do not find the use of eggs from an aborted foetus changes the moral equation concerning this particular technology: indeed, the idea reminds me of the phase of biological life that connects us with all other living creatures on our tiny planet.
The writer holds the Bixby chair in Family Planning and Population at the University of California, Berkeley.Reuse content