In the totally tasteless Monty Python film, "The Meaning of Life," there's a song called "Every Sperm Is Sacred." I'm sure it offended every Catholic whoever sat through the film, and just about anyone else who takes seriously the biblical admonition "Be fruitful and multiply."
Anyway, dozens of children (all apparently brothers and sisters) march down the street singing "Every sperm is sacred/Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted/God gets quite irate..."
When that film came out in the early 80s, in vitro fertilization was still a new radical fertility technology. Now it's how couples with no fertility but access to lots of money get their babies. Their embryos are created in test tubes and because the procedure is so expensive and the chances of sucess are not great (usually 1 in 4), fertility clinics make plenty of spares.
At this point there are well over 100,000 frozen embryos out there, most of which will be discarded. In general couples choose to have the extras frozen. After five years (when the parents are busy with carpools and kindergarten) the embroyos are destroyed.
Yes, they are potential life. But in reality, they never will become people. There are agencies that have "embryo adoption," but that's fairly rare. Understandably, the majority of infertile couples prefer to give birth to their own children, not someone else's.
It's my opinion that if couples wish to donate their unused embryos for stem cell research they should be given that option, the same as relatives are encouraged to donate a dying loved one's organs to help save lives. Stem cell research has shown promise for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and diabetes.
The House of Representatives just passed a law that will allow for federal funding of stem cell research, but President George W. Bush, ever loyal to his conservative base, has vowed to veto it.
Because all those embryos floating around in the freezer are sacred. And if one is wasted, God gets quite irate. Right, George?