Higher proportion of American adults prefer to place frozen human embryos with infertile couples

In a recent national public opinion survey, a significantly higher proportion of American adults would choose to place frozen human embryos with infertile couples for the purpose of bearing a child. Interestingly, the survey also revealed that twice as many Americans read or heard about human embryos in connection with stem cell research than in connection with embryo donation or adoption.

Conducted in May and June 2009, the survey, “Public Opinion Regarding the Disposition of Frozen Human Embryos,” found that a significantly higher proportion of American adults (68.8 percent) prefer frozen human embryo placement with other families, but less than one out of five (19.5 percent) prefer donation of the embryos for research.

Although 88 percent surveyed had heard about human embryos in the past 6 months, less than half (37.1 percent) heard about them in connection with donation or adoption. More than twice as many Americans (82.2 percent) heard about human embryos in connection with stem cell research.

A January 2005 survey of respondents in six Southern California counties found that a majority (58.6 percent) expressed a personal preference for placing embryos with other families, while 31.4 percent favored donating embryos for research. The current 2009 survey results represent a 10 percent growth in preference for human embryo donation or adoption, over embryo donation for research purposes.

Other key findings of this survey include:

  • More than 75 percent of those surveyed perceived frozen human embryos in long-term storage as a very important or somewhat important issue.
  • Preference for donating embryos to another infertile couple was the majority response for every group and sub-group (i.e. education, self-described political and social outlook, religious affiliation, frequency of attendance at religious services and number of young children in the family), except the sub-group of “very liberal” among self-described political and social outlook respondents. Even the sub-group “very liberal” preferred donation to an infertile couple (49.1 percent) over donation for research (43.4 percent).
  • Half (50.4 percent) of survey respondents prefer that abandoned embryos be donated to an infertile couple to use to become pregnant, with less than a third (31.1 percent) preferring that they be donated for research.
  • When asked the question, “How do you characterize your personal belief or philosophy regarding the point at which embryos are thought of as human lives,” the largest proportion (42.6 percent) chose conception, followed closely by viability of pregnancy (30.4 percent). Fewer respondents chose the point when an embryo was transferred to the woman’s womb (13.8 percent) and after the birth of the child (13.2 percent).

Nightlight Christian Adoptions


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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