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ADELAIDE, Australia (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Australian company is selling jewelry containing the cremated remains of unborn babies.
Baby Bee Hummingbirds, a company located north of Adelaide, designs rings, necklaces and other pieces of jewelry containing breast milk, placentas, hair, umbilical cords and embryos.
On May 2, Kidspot, an online resource for parents, published the account of Australian couple Belinda and Shaun Stafford. They were unable to have children naturally and turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for the conception of their two children.
IVF is the process of combining an egg and sperm cell in a laboratory dish, with the resulting embryo implanted in a uterus. During the process, several eggs are fertilized, and after genetic testing, the parents choose which one they want. The embryos can be frozen in "straws" for future use.
In the Staffords' case, they were no longer able to pay storage fees to maintain the other frozen embryos. The article notes they found the idea of "destroying" the embryos "unimaginable" and sought to do something different with the tiny bodies of their children. She recounts:
I wanted to keep having more babies but the emotional toll, plus financially, it was too much. Donating our embryos wasn't an option for us and I couldn't justify the yearly storage fee. I'd heard others had planted them in the garden but we move a lot, so I couldn't do this. I needed them with me.
She adds, "My embryos were my babies — frozen in time. When we completed our family, it wasn't in my heart to destroy them. Now, they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake."
The company cremates the embryos and puts them in a jeweler's resin, which is then mounted on rings, necklaces, bracelets or earrings.
Amy McGlade, founder of the company, commented, "I don't believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art and opening the possibilities to families around the world."
The company's Facebook page asserts that parents who have their children's remains made into jewelry "are informed, educated and loving people who have made an educated decision."
The Catholic Church forbids IVF, clarifying in a 1987 document, Donum Vitae, that IVF is immoral. It alienates the conception of a child from the marital act between a husband and wife — an act of love — and is instead left up to doctors and laboratory technicians, with the parents only providing the "raw materials." Often, "donor" materials are used, like an egg from another woman or sperm from a man other than the husband. Also, sperm is often harvested from a man by sexually immoral means.
In 2016, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) ruled that human ashes must be buried "in a sacred place," clearly defining they cannot be retained in the home, scattered in any way or reserved in mementos — specifically mentioning jewelry.
"It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten or their remains from being shown a lack of respect," it explains. It also prevents "unfitting or superstitious practices."