SEMAPHORE PARK, Australia — An Australian keepsake company has become the center of controversy after a recent report brought to light the company’s practice of turning extra IVF embryos into jewelry.
“I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world,” Amy McGlade of Baby Bee Hummingbirds told Kidspot in an article published on May 3.
The report shared the story of Belinda and Shaun Stafford, who were unsure as to what to do with their remaining embryos following an in-vitro procedure. After learning that they could be turned into keepsake jewelry, they decided to use Baby Bee Hummingbirds’ services.
“My embryos were my babies, frozen in time,” Belinda Stafford told the outlet. “When we completed our family, it wasn’t in my heart to destroy them. Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake.”
The heart-shaped pendant she wears around her neck now holds the “embryo ash” of her seven remaining children, which the company preserved and cremated.
“We are experts in preserving DNA so that it can be set in a jeweller’s grade resin,” McGlade explained. “It’s special because the embryos often signify the end of a journey, and we are providing a beautiful and meaningful way to gently close the door.”
The company provides various other keepsakes, including with breast milk, umbilical cords, placentas and snippets of hair. However, word of the IVF embryo jewelry raised alarm for some, and the company was flooded with feedback about the matter.
Baby Bee Hummingbirds responded to the controversy by advising that it had deleted all negative comments and banned those who expressed opposition.
“We have chosen not to respond to any of the many articles written or posts shared publicly. We have also chosen to block, ban & delete the thousands of comments, emails & messages,” the company wrote on social media. “We craft & respect all journeys. We will not give up the last few years of our life’s work to satisfy others beliefs.”
“Those that have chosen to spread hate are not our people. They are not the people we would create for. They are uneducated in our craft or the many reasons behind our ‘why,'” it said. “We have chosen not to respond to a single word. We will continue to ban & delete. … We will not stop.”
The company also shared a photograph featuring the citation of Ephesians 4:32, which speaks of kindness.
However, some opined that while the tender sentimentality behind the memorialization concept is understandable, it still doesn’t make the situation right.
“It’s so undignified that these embryos have been destroyed to become jewelry,” Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture told reporters. “I thought, ‘… It really has hit rock-bottom.’”
“The founder asks, ‘What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?’ Well, you could let him live, I suppose,” also wrote blogger Simcha Fischer. “You could allow him the basic dignity of spending time in the womb of his mother, to live or not, to grow or not, but at least to have a chance.”
Lahl said that the ultimate solution is to “stop creating surplus embryos” so that society isn’t faced with ethical dilemmas of what to do with the created human life.