When Is an Embryo a Fetus?

According to North Dakota law, an embryo is always a fetus. Science be damned, I guess.

As it turns out, it’s illegal for my husband and I, as residents of North Dakota, to donate our embryos for stem cell research. Specifically, it’s a Class C felony. This shouldn’t surprise me, as our lawmakers passed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation a few years ago. (It was ultimately struck down by a federal appeals court as unconstitutional.)

So, now we’re left with two options for our remaining embryos: Discard, or donate to another couple. I wonder, however, if it’s illegal to donate them for research, can it be legal to have them destroyed? I guess I’ll find out.

Edited for clarification: We haven’t decided to destroy them, but given what I learned today, I’m curious if that’s even an option anymore.

11 thoughts on “When Is an Embryo a Fetus?

  1. I know it could be difficult to go about doing but do you have any friends or relatives who are infertile and might be interested in embryo adoption? Maybe donating to someone you know would be easier. Or harder… I really don’t know.

  2. It’s insane to me to think that you have no say in where your DNA ends up. I’m gobsmacked that some uneducated lawmaker gets to decide what you do with your remaining embryos.

    What about donating them to in-state science research, is that an option? Sounds like the parameters could be keeping everything in state. I wonder if you contacted a ND organization who would like your embryos maybe they could step in on your behalf?

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