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The Insanity of the ‘Life Begins at Fertilization’ Movement

aaron wilson

The goal of the pro-life movement is to make ALL abortion illegal. They will not stop their war against women until fertilized eggs receive the same constitutional protections afforded post-birth humans. Using the incremental approach, pro-lifers have successfully made it impossible for women in many states to get an abortion. Some zealots even go so far as to say that birth control should be outlawed. I have no doubt that once the U.S. Supreme Court is at full strength that zygote warriors will attempt to re-litigate Roe v. Wade.

I have written several articles on abortion you might find helpful:

Abortion Facts, Lies, and Contradictions

25 Questions for Those who say Abortion is Murder

Why it is Impossible to Talk to Pro-Life Zealots About Abortion

Frozen Embryos: If Life Begins at Conception

Tristan Vick also wrote an article for this site on abortion titled, Is Abortion Murder? (A Rationalist’s Take).

Several years ago, The Gospel Coalition — a Fundamentalist, Calvinistic, parachurch group — published an article by Aaron Wilson titled, What Christians Should Know About Embryo Adoption. That’s right, EMBRYO ADOPTION.  Tens of thousands of children need adoptive families, yet people such as Aaron Wilson are focused on rescuing frozen embryos — who are, in their minds, human beings with constitutional rights — from being criminally murdered. Here’s some of what Wilson had to say:

A hallmark of the evangelical church in America is the backing of a pro-life worldview. As such, abortion clinics and the politics that govern them are primary areas of focus in this important cause. However, there’s another front that often gets overlooked in the fight for life: the state of the thousands of children who remain cryogenically frozen as human embryos following in-vitro fertilization cycles.

A growing Christian response to this issue is the life-affirming answer of embryo adoption.

If you haven’t heard of embryo adoption, you’re not alone. Even though thousands of children in the United States could immediately benefit from this act of love, many people—Christians included—remain unaware of this adoptive need.

Because embryo adoption can be confusing, here are six answers to common questions.

1. What is embryo adoption?

Embryo adoption is a way to care for children who, for lack of a better phrase, are “left over” and kept in a cryogenic state following an in-vitro fertilization cycle. Through embryo adoption, an adopting mother gives these children a chance at birth by allowing their embryonic form to be thawed and transferred to her uterus. If one or more implant, the mother then carries and births the child (or children) though she is not genetically related to them. Embryo adoption is often referred to as pre-birth adoption.

2. Isn’t embryo adoption the same thing as in-vitro fertilizatio (IVF)?

No. In many ways, it’s the opposite. In-vitro fertilization creates life as a form of reproductive technology. Embryo adoption is a response to the fact that life has already been created and that it needs a womb to continue developing the way God intended babies to grow.

3. How many embryonic babies exist in cryopreservation?

In the United States alone, a projected 700,000 children exist as frozen embryos. Of these, an estimated 10,000 to 11,000 are available to be adopted. That number grows every week. These statistics reflect two pressing needs: A movement of families who are willing to adopt and an awareness of the life-affirming options available to parents who already have remaining embryos.

4. Is embryo adoption really adoption?

Because the U.S. government doesn’t agree with the Bible’s claim that life begins at fertilization, embryo adoption isn’t considered legal adoption in America. The government only sees human embryos as cells, and so treats embryo adoption as a mere transfer of property. As such, many fertility clinics prefer “embryo donation.”

Biblically informed Christians, however, shouldn’t shy away from using life-honoring terms. Just as Jesus was adopted by Joseph in a preborn state (not received as a donation from God), Christians should honor life by using theologically accurate language.


6. How can I care for frozen children?


Inform. Most people have never heard of embryo adoption. Those who have often confuse it with IVF. Much adoption evangelism needs to take place inside the church on behalf of these frozen lives. Share embryo adoption articles on social media. Talk with friends. Do research. Talk to your elders and your small group about ways your church can be involved in the mission field that is embryo adoption.


Adopt. The most powerful way to care for these tiniest of children is to personally open a womb and a home to them. A great place to start is to check out the website of the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, Tennessee.

When God Became an Embryo

Jesus didn’t leave his throne for a manager, at least not directly. He first left his throne nine months earlier for a womb.

How much grander is the story of the incarnation when we realize the Son of God went from ruling the universe to becoming the smallest, most dependent, most microscopic form of human life. The God who authored a world that can’t be measured, humbled himself into a form that can’t be seen.

And this same God who became a human embryo to save sinners would have his church stand up for the many human embryos regularly discarded or frozen indefinitely. Consider how you can expand your pro-life passion toward the littlest lives by championing the cause of embryo adoption.

As someone who believes women should have the unrestricted right to an abortion pre-viability, Wilson’s article is a reminder of the impossibility of working with pro-lifers to reduce the number of abortions. Unable to differentiate between a blob of cells and a human life, pro-lifers obstinately refuse to compromise their beliefs. This is why I no longer waste my time arguing or debating with members of God’s Zygote Squad®. Their Fundamentalist religious views have blinded them to the horrific damage caused by their incessant assault on reproductive rights. They will not rest until Ozzie and Harriett, Leave it to Beaver, and the Duggars are the gold standard for American families.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    August Rode

    In reality, they aren’t arguing that life begins at conception (which is both trivially true and trivially false depending on what it meant by “life”) but that personhood ought to begin at conception. Personhood is a legal matter, not a biological one. As far as I’m concerned, until the legislators and courts make a firm ruling as to when a human being is a person and when it isn’t (and there are arbitrary aspects) that doesn’t violate the rights of another person, we’re going to be stuck with the current mess of a situation. Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that short-sighted legislators like to stay far away from.

    • Avatar

      Exactly. Personhood. This is a philosophical, legal, and cultural term which, whilst informed by science, is not defined by science. Anti-choicers hate this point, and will do their level best to dispute it, running round in circles with their tongues inserted up their backsides, croaking ‘but the science says’. I’ve never yet seen a biology textbook that defines personhood.

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    Where in the bible does it say that life begins at fertilisation? I’m not sure the writers would even have been aware of the term and, no, I’m not granting Wilson licence to infer. He said fertilisation.

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      Exactly, Geoff. In the old days, the first confirmation that women had that they were pregnant was feeling the fetus move at mid-pregnancy. They might have suspected they were in the family way due to the cessation of their periods and possibly morning sickness. It used to be that grocery stores and apothecaries sold potions and pills to bring women “around”. Back in the Forties, Lysol was sold and advertised as a douche. The purpose of the douche was not just for cleanliness, but the same reason
      as those potions and pills. At least that’s what I’m told. A good scary reason that these forced birth bills are so horrendous occurred this weekend in a border town in Texas where a Latina woman was arrested after she suffered a miscarriage on suspicion that she has tried to self-induce an abortion. Fortunately, the charges were dropped today, but these bills don’t give a shit about women.

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    Why stop at embryos. Why aren’t we protecting sperm without which life would be impossible? Think of the billions of sperm that are wasted every day by careless married heterosexual Christian couples who carelessly have procreative Christian sex and kill these innocent life giving swimmers. What about little Johnny and his genocidal wet dreams. Why is he not prosecuted for mass murder? And let’s not let egg killing women off the hook. Every month these ovulating fiends are responsible for the death of millions. Please join me in my fight for the lives of these innocents.

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    “Personhood” is a philosophical question not yet answered by science. Common sense leads me to believe that “personhood” exists when the creature coukd exist in the world without being inside a host. Obviously, we consider born humans to be persons requiring care for many years, and most abortion laws refer to viability, which makes sense.

    My ovaries are not homes of “persons” though. Not so often now, but my ova get flushed out by my own body. I don’t think that hundreds of “persons” have been flushed out for the past 40 years, nor am I a walling host for thousands of “persons”.

    I have a couple of friends who went thru IVF. One friend had a cycle of implantation that failed, and the next round worked and produced twins. My friend didn’t want to keep paying cryogenic fees for embryos she had no interest in using, so they were destroyed. She didn’t worry about “destroying persons” – there was just no point in preserving them as she was done.

    Another friend is an evangelical Christian. She had 2 cycles of IVF implantation that resulted in the births of 2 sets of twins. She “donated” the rest of her embryos. I haven’t asked her if they were used or not. But I would be weirded out knowing or speculating over whether I had biological offspring out there walking around….

    Evangelicals, if they care so much, should work to provide homes to already born kids. There are so many in foster care that need homes. But….I guess since IVF takes so much money and commitment there’s an implicit idea about who is producing these embryos (let’s say it out loud, white educated people with money….)…..

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    ths concern for “embryos” and gee, not real kids, doesn’t surprise me. I am minded of a line from Raising Arizona, where the relatives of the hero just want to keep spawning so the wife has something to “cuddle”.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Here’s something I don’t understand: If God “left his throne” to enter Miriam’s womb, who was ruling Creation? Did he have some osmotic and diffusive powers that allowed him to receive information and transmit his will? Or did some proxy, like the Duke of Orleans for Louis XV, rule Creation until God became a mature young man?

    Now, being the simpleton that I am, I’ll take a stab at the “life” vs “personhood” question August Rode brought up. “Personhood” is indeed a legal definition. If I understand it correctly, it can be said to be–if you’ll pardon the parlance of grad school seminars–a social construct, like race or gender. Is that 12-pound baby with no apparent needs other than milk or sleep a “person?” What about the one who needs to be hooked up to machines in order to maintain bodily functions–until six months? six years?

    That, I believe, is why the Fundangelicals are so fixated on protecting the “life” that they define as beginning at fertilization. It’s an easy distinction to make, much easier than defining “personhood.” Also, I think they can tell themselves that when a sperm reaches an egg and results in pregnancy, it’s “God’s will,” whereas personhood involves all sorts of messy human factors.

    Dave–You probably know about this:

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    Christian Idiot:
    You realize that if “God” knew you before conception, “God” had to schedule the night your parents fucked to conceive you. And make sure your mom put out and did not go for a blow job or hand job. This is the nuttiness you subscribe to. You need to ponder this completely.

    Every sperm and egg are NOT sacred. There are plenty of humans on the planet, so it’s quite fine for humans to limit their fertility. And until idiots like you realize that more abortions are stopped by by reliable birth control and comprehensive sex education, abortion will need to be available. If you going to still push to control women’s bodies, then you and your fellow misogynists need to fully fund women’s health care and education for children. Pushing an imaginary friend and his make believe enemy to solve problems is useless.

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    pats troll on head That’s nice, dear. Now go build a time machine and prevent yourself from being conceived so we don’t have to listen to any more of your twaddle.

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    If God considered every life sacred, why do 50% of all fertilized human embryos go down a toilet without implanting in a uterus. Also please explain the worldwide genocide of Noah’s flood in a pro life context, several human babies were killed by god in that flood. Please ask the ancient canaanites ordered slaughtered by God about whether God was Pro life. You and your forced birth bullshit can go fuck off.

  10. Avatar

    Revival Dumpster Fire,

    Prove hell’s existence first and I might take your threat seriously🙄. Secondly I actually want to reduce abortions but think that outlawing the procedure will do more harm than good. Comprehensive sex education and free contraception are the best methods of preventing pregnancies but forced birthers such as yourself tend to support the absolute trash pile that is abstinence only sex education, and after roe gets overturned will work on overturning Griswold vs Connecticut next and outlaw contraception. Now the even more extreme view of sex education involves sticking your head in the sand and creating monsters like Josh Duggar. So stuff your views up where the sun don’t shine and find some pro life echo chamber to haunt instead.

    Sincerely, your personal gay sex demon hiding in your closet🍆😈

  11. Avatar

    It is a threat, Revival Fires, albeit a toothless one. I have found you guilty of uttering threats, and your appeal is denied with prejudice. You are deliberately trying to scare people into worshipping the infinitely evil, fictional piece-of-shit “god” that some other person scared you into worshipping.

    It pleases me to believe with 100% certainty that no one is going to hell and that you, in particular, will not be going to heaven. Eternal life is a myth. A physical impossibility. Death ends everything for all of us, and there isn’t a prayer in the universe that can change that.

    That said, you’re still a vicious-minded POS upon whom I would not micturate if you were in a state of combustion. Good day, sirrah.

  12. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser


    Ephesians 4:29-32

    Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

    And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

    And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    Ephesians 5:22, 23

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    Matthew 5:44

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

  13. Avatar

    So your Christian response is to attack or belittle people. Hmmm…. you show such wonderful love and concern. This is the message that you think will win souls and influence people?

    I just wonder if you, as such a warrior for children, have adopted a child? Or become a foster parent? Or maybe you financially support mothers you have convinced to give birth? Or maybe you volunteer with agencies supporting children? Or perhaps you financially support organizations that foster or offer adoptions services? Maybe you are helping those black mothers you mentioned?

    Or are you just a blustering windbag who likes the performance of appearing to care, but do little more than harangue women seeking abortions, and attack people who support these women?

  14. Avatar

    Revival Fires Christian Hate Monger, bless your little heart. I feel sorry for you that you have so much hatred toward other people that you justify and excuse with your interpretation of a religion. You also don’t understand how politicians have joined with fundamentalist pastors to lie to you over the past 50 years in order to get you so outraged to guarantee your vote so that they can gain and retain power. Again, bless your little heart.

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Bruce Gerencser