NEDC Baby Counter: 651
This is the place to keep up with the latest news from the National Embryo Donation Center. We also include links to significant media coverage of the NEDC.
August 9, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, president and medical director of the National Embryo Donation Center, announced the NEDC’s opposition to the National Institutes of Health’s plans to lift a moratorium on federal funding of research involving so-called chimeric embryos. The research involves adding human stem cells to animal embryos in the hopes of uncovering medical breakthroughs to treat a variety of diseases and health problems. Because of ethical concerns, the NIH has had a moratorium on federal funding for such experiments in place since September.
Dr. Keenan of the NEDC issued the following statement opposing the proposed NIH change in policy:
“We share in the desire to find cures for human suffering. In fact, our lives are devoted to that. But this research must be done in a responsible and ethical manner. 16 years ago we were promised that embryonic stem cell research would provide cures within a decade, and to date, there are no cures and this research has been all but abandoned.”
“Induced pluripotent stem cells are the most promising research area and we should not funnel money away from this technology to provide funding for untested and morally problematic research. The proposed research would not include monkeys or apes because they are “too close” genetically to humans. That is true, but how long do you think it will take until these guidelines are also eliminated?”
“If such research is to be done, it should be done in the private sector, and only under strict government regulation. At present, there are no laws in the U.S. regulating this type of research. It’s problematic because it blurs the lines between humans and animals. When would an animal have enough human characteristics and features to make it not just an animal anymore? There is no answer to this question, and any attempt to answer it would never have a consensus. This technology also runs the risk of violating the principle of informed consent on human subjects. These moral problems are not justified by the remote possibility of long term gains. This technology could even enable animals to contract human infections and diseases, and vice versa. Bottom line: the potential for harm in this area is staggering.”
The public has until September 6 to comment on the proposed change in policy and may do so at this link: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=57. For more on the NEDC’s reasons for opposing the policy change, please refer to the Christian Medical & Dental Associations ethics statement on the matter.
To listen to a radio interview on NewsTalk 98.7 WOKI in which the NEDC commented more extensively on this subject, click here.
July 26, 2016
Local 8 News Anchor Alan Williams featured the National Embryo Donation Center and told the story of one of our families, the Laughertys, for his “Keeping the Faith” series on WVLT-TV’s 5 pm newscast on July 26, 2016. Click here to check out the story!
July 18, 2016
Jasmine Taylor-Coleman of the BBC got a firsthand look at embryo adoption during a recent visit to the National Embryo Donation Center. The reporter followed Jennifer and Aaron Wilson through a frozen embryo transfer and was able to learn about how the process works at the NEDC. Click here to read the comprehensive story.
May 21, 2016
10 News Anchor Beth Haynes visited and profiled the National Embryo Donation Center and one of the NEDC’s embryo adoption couples, Jerry and Amber Lacey, as part of a week-long series of special reports on infertility for WBIR-TV’s evening newscasts. Click here to check out the story!
April 28, 2016
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) was already celebrating record pregnancy and birth rates for its embryo adoption program. Now, after reviewing just-released national statistics, the Knoxville-based NEDC is able to compare its numbers to those of all U.S. clinics performing donated frozen embryo transfers (FETs).
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), 36.4 percent of all donor FETs performed in 2014 resulted in births. 53.8 percent of all donor FETs performed by the NEDC in 2014 resulted in births, outpacing the combined national rate by more than 17 percent. Since its inception, the birth rate of the NEDC’s program has been about 50 percent.
“This is National Infertility Awareness Week, and it’s a good time to reflect on what a privilege it is to help build families through embryo donation and embryo adoption,” said Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, NEDC president and medical director. “Though we at the NEDC are grateful for the success of our program in particular, we’re also encouraged to see such a birth rate for all clinics nationally.”
Dr. Keenan also pointed out that, according to SART, 1200 donor FETs were performed nationwide in 2014. “This shows that embryo adoption is becoming increasingly common. That number is about double what it was less than a decade ago,” said Dr. Keenan. “We’re thankful the word is getting out about this life-affirming family-building option, which actually allows a mother to carry her adopted child.” About 10 percent of all donor FETs taking place in 2014 were performed by the NEDC.
April 21, 2016
Aaron Halbert shared his family’s experience in The Washington Post after his wife, Rachel, gave birth to triplets via embryo adoption. The editorial, which touched on the faith that motivated Aaron and Rachel to adopt children of a differing ethnicity (both via traditional and embryo adoption), went viral and was The Post’s most-read story of the day online, even generating more interest and discussion than the news of Prince’s death. It remained one of The Post’s most-read stories for several more days.
Click here to check out the editorial.
March 31, 2016
NBC Nightly News followed Rayn and Richard Galloway through a frozen embryo transfer at the National Embryo Donation Center and told the story on the evening newscast in late March of 2016. Click here to check out the report.
NBC also put together a web extra focusing more specifically on the work of the NEDC. Click here to view that.
January 18, 2016
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The National Embryo Donation Center, along with our donation and adoption families, is celebrating unprecedented success after compiling the latest statistics from our embryo adoption program.
61.5 percent of the Knoxville-based NEDC’s frozen embryo transfers (FETs) in 2014 resulted in pregnancies, and 53.8 percent resulted in births. Those numbers are considerably higher than previously reported national averages for all clinics performing FETs. In 2013, the most recent year for which national numbers are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50.1 percent of donor FETs resulted in pregnancies and 40.2 percent resulted in births.
Final pregnancy and birth statistics always lag considerably behind the year the FETs were performed simply because the outcomes cannot all be measured and reported until the nine-month gestation process has been completed for each patient who achieves pregnancy.
“These numbers –the highest in our program’s history- are really something to celebrate because they’re not just statistics. They represent the tiniest of lives being rescued and welcomed into loving homes,” said NEDC President and Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan. “We obviously do our best to optimize care whenever we perform embryo transfers. But as a Christian organization, I think the constant and fervent prayers of those leading and supporting the NEDC are also a huge reason for our unparalleled success.”
January 7, 2016
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- The National Embryo Donation Center is expanding its reach through the realization of a longstanding goal: the addition of an affiliate clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Debra Schell of Milwaukee OB-GYN is now available to facilitate frozen embryo transfers (FETs) under the auspices of the Knoxville-based NEDC.
“This is wonderful news,” said NEDC President and Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan. “This addition means more convenience because couples will have less distance to travel for their care.” Rather than making the trek to Knoxville, many NEDC patients in the Midwest, Great Plains, Pacific Northwest and Mountain West states will now be able to save travel time by having their FETs performed in Milwaukee. The NEDC should also be able to help a greater number of couples than the 120 to 140 it has been serving annually.
Citing Dr. Schell’s nearly 25 years of experience in reproductive endocrinology and the top-flight lab team with which she works, Dr. Keenan added that this move will make the NEDC –already the national leader among embryo adoption programs- even stronger. Dr. Schell said, “I look forward to working with the NEDC as a satellite location in the Midwest helping to provide frozen embryo transfers of donated embryos to couples who wish to start or increase their family by adopting some of these embryos.”
Dr. Keenan would like to add more affiliates and invites any interested clinics or medical professionals to contact the NEDC. The organization has operated an affiliate clinic once before, in Indianapolis from 2005 to 2009.