Category Archives: fetal development

Snowflake Babies

by Reita S.

Imagine a couple, unable to conceive a child. They consider adoption, but they want to badly to give birth to something that is a ‘part of themselves’. After consultation with their doctor, they undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process which harvests eggs from the woman’s ovaries and fertilizes them in the lab with collected sperm. While the mother undergoes treatments which boost the receptivity of her uterus, these fertilized eggs are cultured in a lab and, while still about 100 cells each and undifferentiated, implanted into the woman’s womb. How great is her joy when she discovers she is finally going to be a mother!

Sadly, IVF doesn’t produce only one or two of these embryos. It may produce one hundred. It may have a woman implant 20 of these embryos, since all will not survive the process. It may lead her to undergo a selective abortion to reduce the number of babies she carries. But it also produces leftover embryos, cryogenically frozen until the parents decide to use them. They may never make this decision.

These frozen embryos, “snowflake babies”, have an extensive ‘shelf-life’. They may spend years in stasis, waiting to be implanted into someone’s womb. They may be discarded by their parents and used in embryonic stem-cell research. They may be thrown out. There are an estimated 500,000 frozen embryos in the United States right now.

“Snowflake baby” is a term you likely haven’t heard. I know I’ve only read about it – never discussed the matter with anyone, even at a pro-life function; however, some dedicated pro-lifers have clearly seen this as a problem. They decided to adopt the snowflake babies.

Embryo adoption allows the implantation of the child into the womb of the adopting mother. It is a safe process, far less expensive than an overseas adoption, and provides that coveted ‘experience of pregnancy’. What’s more is the opportunity to allow a child a chance to LIVE, rather than to sit in a refrigerator until it ‘expires’, a process which shows that even children, even LIFE, has become a commodity to our culture.

Ottawa Students for Life has a very catchy mandate, if I may say that. We are committed to “defend the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death”. Unfortunately, the issue of conception is a touchy one in our culture, with arguments advocating for anywhere from fertilization or implantation to the first trimester or birth. This can be a divisive line, even within the pro-life community; however, I challenge you, dear readers, to consider the plight of every “snowflake baby” and then try to tell yourself that it is not alive.

If you have ever considered adoption, please remember every “snowflake baby”, a tiny unborn child who needs your body and your love in order to take a single breath.

For more information, please visit:

Nightlight Christian Adoption Snowflakes Program

Embryo Adoption

Embryos Alive Adoption Agency

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Changing the Rhetoric

by Reita S.

When I was about 7 years old, I learnt all about cells from TV. I suspect it was either Bill Nye the Science Guy or Magic School Bus. Using Lego or blocks or grains of rice, they demonstrated that all living things are made of little pieces. Every person is composed of three trillion cells, if I recall correctly, and cells die and replace themselves at different rates.

All this to say that from a very young age, educational programming taught me that, at my basic level, I am a mass of cells. The same TV shows also explained that I had something called DNA, which was rather like a zipper or a ladder. (They knew from the start I would never be a scientist.) Apparently my DNA wasn’t like anyone else’s, unless of course I was an identical twin, which I’m not.

So, to recap, I am a bunch of cells, several trillion, all with unique roles and life spans, and I am also genetically unique from everyone else in the world (except potential evil twins).

Why then is the pro-choice cry so often “the foetus is just a clump of cells”? Simple: dehumanization. My roommate and I recently had a discussion about meat. Though she loves fish, she is unable to go purchase a whole fish from the store. Why? She can’t eat “something with a face”; however, fillet that fish and serve it to her and she’ll eat it happily!

In the same way, saying abortion kills an unborn child (which it does) is “eating the animal with the face”. You feel guilty because you feel empathy for the child. You know that it had to suffer and that it had to die. You are angry at the injustice when you remember every child you ever held.

Getting rid of the “unwanted clump of cells” is having your fish and chips. You are totally divorced from action that produced your desired outcome – you don’t feel guilty because there was never anything real to convict you.

This is an issue of rhetorical double-talk. Pro-choice activists and abortion clinics have convinced the public that the foetus is practically a non-living thing. It is a package of parts which can be assembled at birth, if the mother so chooses, to create a ‘real child’.

Rhetoric’s purpose is to persuade. Rhetoric’s goal should be to persuade people of the truth. Don’t be fooled by pro-choice rhetoric, which seeks to validate its own position by redefining simple biology. From the moment you are conceived to the moment you die, you are “a clump of cells”. Does that mean you deserve life any less?

For more information, please see this interesting post by John Sutherland at http://www.johnonlife.blogspot.com.

Objective Personhood

by Theresa Stephenson

It amazes me how subjective our view of the “unborn” is and how quickly it changes according to our circumstances.Think of a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy that eagerly tells all her friends that she is expecting a baby. Generally, her friends respond with excited congratulations! Now, think of a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy that fears the reality of a baby, keeps her pregnancy a secret, and considers abortion as a “way out.” Notwithstanding any details regarding the lives of the mothers, the major difference between these two situations is being “wanted”. The first baby is perceived by the mother to be a blessing while the second baby is perceived to be a burden. But does personhood depend upon the perception of another (in this case a mother)?

A woman in Kentucky is being charged for “endangering the life of her unborn baby by using cocaine while pregnant”. The Grand Jury of Franklin County concluded that the mother’s drug use wantonly endangered her unborn child. The Jury’s decision was objective: it did not assign value to the fetus according to the mother’s perception of her child’s personhood. Read the full story at LifeSiteNews.com.

It is wonderful that this baby’s rights are being defended. But what makes this child different from every other innocent life that is ended by abortion?

Biology for Life

by David Beking

As a new year begins, OSFL and others will continue to passionately give a voice to the unborn. But why? What is the justification for this passion and what keeps this group going? Personally, I have spent the past four years in a health sciences program at the University in which we have focused on the biology of fetal development and the fragility of those lives.

Let’s consider a few questions: How do we define at what stage life begins and whether this fetus is a living being or just a blob of tissue? Do we define a human life by our unique DNA different from every other person? How about when the heart starts beating or when the brain is developed and can sense pain?

From Day 1 the fetus begins cell division and has all the unique DNA that will define them as a unique human being. At 18-21 days (just 3 weeks in to the pregnancy) the heart starts beating and circulating blood throughout the body. At 18 days their brain also starts developing and at day 20 they already have a mid, fore and hindbrain. By 4-5 weeks neural receptors begin to develop which gives them the ability to not only feel pain but to also sense touch, heat, light and noise. All of these characteristics that define us as humans develop in the first 4 weeks, so how can a fetus not be considered human? How can they not be given the same rights to life as we enjoy?