Company Turns IVF Embryos Into Jewelry
AUSTRALIA — A company in Australia that has been making jewelry and various mementos for parents using actual raw materials from development—think breast milk, hair, the placenta and cord stump—has taken things a step further, and critics are appalled.
Baby Bee Hummingbirds, started by midwife Amy McGlade in 2014, was just profiled by parenting blog Kidspot, which notes that the company has now added embryos to the mix.
“My embryos were my babies—frozen in time,” one mother of a 4-year-old and 21-month-old twins says of her difficult IVF journey. “When we completed our family, it wasn’t in my heart to destroy [the extra embryos]. Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake.” She says she carries her seven embryos in a heart-shaped pendant so that they will forever be close to her heart.
McGlade’s company has reportedly made 50 pieces of jewelry so far using “embryo straws,” which it “preserves and cremates” into what it calls “embryo ash” that’s then set in resin.
Belinda and Shaun Stafford, who had a pendant made, say donation “wasn’t an option,” disposal was “unimaginable,” and continuing to pay to store them was a “financial strain.” But many conservative bloggers are taking issue with what the company bills as “sacred art.”
Wesley J. Smith wrote for National Review Online that the story illustrates “the crassness of our age,” and that “her jewelry babies are dead—good grief.”
A 2015 New York Times article put the number of frozen embryos in storage in America at roughly 1 million and noted annual storage fees tend to run $300 to $1,200.