During a July 18th segment on the science behind stem cell research with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, American Morning substitute host Carol Costello displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of basic reproductive science. Costello was questioning Cohen on what federal funding for stem cell research would mean for those who had frozen embryos. Cohen explained that scientists with federal grants would seek out these embryos, and it would be up to individuals to decide whether or not to make a donation. Costello showed her confusion on the topic with this question:
Cohen: "These are four-day old embryos. We’re talking about very tiny, tiny embryos."
Costello: "And they’re not fertilized either, right?"
Cohen, forced to correct Costello, gave her a quick explanation of how an embryo is formed:
Cohen: "Well no, an embryo is fertilized."
Costello: "Just to make it clear–"
Cohen: "Its sperm and egg have met each other–"
Costello: "So, it is?"
Cohen: "–and they, they’ve grown for about four days. So, they’ve formed a very, very small embryo."
Costello: "Ok, so I feel silly now."
Cohen: "Don't feel silly."
Perhaps someone at CNN should give Costello "the talk" about the birds and the bees before her next report on reproduction. [Hat tip to National Review Online’s The Corner]