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Letters to the Editor: What Katie Britt and Ted Cruz don’t understand about in vitro fertilization

Sens. Katie Britt (left) and Ted Cruz, seen standing next to each other at a news conference.
Sens. Katie Britt (left) and Ted Cruz, seen standing next to each other at a news conference last month, have introduced a bill on in vitro fertilization.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
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To the editor: As columnist Michael Hiltzik notes, the so-called IVF Protection Act authored by Republican Sens. Katie Britt (Ala.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) does nothing to assure that in vitro fertilization patients have control over the fate of their embryos.

Unlike a fetus in utero, a frozen embryo has no prospect for life without a complex protocol of hormonal preparation and embryo thawing for a delicate transfer into a properly prepared uterus. In custody disputes and embryo damage and loss suits, frozen embryos have been treated by courts as property, not live or even potential human beings.

Now as an extension of the abortion debate, attempts are being made to limit access to contraception. What’s next, creating protections for eggs and sperm? Welcome to Gilead.

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Arthur L. Wisot, M.D., Boynton Beach, Fla.

The writer is co-founder of a fertility practice in Southern California.

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To the editor: My wife and I have three teenage sons. I thought about adding “wonderful,” but they’re teenagers, so we will leave it at that.

The older two are twins conceived with the help of IVF. We were very fortunate in this process, as my wife got pregnant on the first try. With twins no less.

Let me take you back to the process:

After harvesting eggs and sperm, the lab did its magic and showed us a magnified slide with about 12 cell clusters. Two were large and round, two were pretty big and mostly round, and eight were decreasingly small and not round at all. The doctors told me the first two were the most viable, the second pair would be our fall-backs, and the rest were “not viable” and would be, I guess, discarded.

After our twins, we “maintained” the fall-backs for several years before we were contacted about donating the frozen embryos either to another couple or for scientific research, or destroying them. This was after the birth of our third son.

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My wife and I debated how we felt about other people possibly carrying on our DNA and whether those cell clusters were even good anymore. It was our choice and we live with it. It is really nobody else’s business.

Niels Goerrissen, Harbor City

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To the editor: If frozen embryos are to be considered as people, does that mean that we Californians could increase our congressional representation by including them in our census count?

Sounds to me like a good way to increase our electoral college impact.

Rich Lewis, Studio City

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