Is there any reliable information about the numbers of human embryos that are frozen or used for experiments in Canada or elsewhere? K.A. Ottawa

In Canada? No. There are, however, some statistics from Britain. Early this year, in answer to a question tabled in the House of Commons by David Alton, M.P., and a Parliamentary Written Answer revealed that 64,053 embryos had been placed in “storage” between 1991 and 1994. The question was important because under the provisions of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act (1990) embryos may only be stored for five years. The Act (HFEA) came into force August 1, 1991, and after July 31, 1996, the five-year period has expired for some embryos.

Two pro-life organizations, The Association of Lawyers for the Defense of the Unborn (ALDU), and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) are the sources of my information, which comes originally from official reports. ALDU points out that the Act, having set a maximum period for storage of embryos, made no provision for what happens next. Will they remain in storage, be destroyed, or, euphemistically, “be allowed to die?”

Both the lawyers and SPUC raise questions about the statistics. According to the official HFEA annual reports for 1991 to 1994, 498,493 human embryos were created. Of these embryos, 64,053 were placed in storage, and another 27,493 were donated for research. Mr. John Smeaton, General Secretary of SPUC noted: “Presumably this means that an additional 406,947 embryos were intended for IVF programs. According to the annual reports of the HFEA only about 46,700 treatment cycles were carried out during that period.” A little calculation shows that it is highly unlikely that all 406,947 embryos were transferred to women, and pro-lifers ask “What happened to the rest?”

What is known is, that according to official HFEA’s own published figures, there “were at most only about 12,000 live births” following IVF treatment in the years 1991-1994. It is important to note that of the original 498,493 embryos (new human beings in the earliest stages) only 12,000 made it to a live birth. Of the remaining 486,493 tiny humans, 64,043 are in storage; 27,493 were donated to be sliced or otherwise used in research; some did not survive to birth; and the rest? We do not know!

Mr. Haig, Chairman of ALDU, comments: “One can only wonder what is going on, and whether anyone is in control.” Supposedly, there are regulations in Britain; what happens where there are no rules, as in Canada?

After blatant attacks on the pre-born child, marriage, and the family at U.N. Conferences, what can we expect next? J.S. Nepean, Ont.

The following is a quotation from a speech by Christine de Marcellus Vollmer who, as a Non-Government Organization delegate, has attended every major UN conference since 1984.

“The most terrifying of all UN plans, in my opinion, is slated for 1998. In that year, the UN will draw up a New Declaration of Human Rights. We already know their powerful ways of getting their documents through, and we already know what the new plans will include: the right to sexual orientation and the right to abortion are just two. Half way through the Beijing Conference, the Holy See publicly contested five important aspects of the negotiations on which ‘a minority coalition was vigorously undermining the pillars of the human rights tradition,’ and (of) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in attacking the “inherent dignity” of all human beings: marriage and family as fundamental rights; the right to freedom of thought and religion; motherhood; and the rights and responsibilities of parents. And even national sovereignty.

“As Michael Schooyans, Professor at Louvain University puts it: ‘Convergent lines indicate the imminence of an unprecedented religious prosecution.’”

(What the One-Worlders Are Up To. A panel discussion, Nashville, Tennessee, Sept. 29-30, 1995).