Why the Church Would be so Ridiculous as to Oppose IVF

We have a godawful habit of seeing children as things so small, cute and fluffy that we hollow them of that dignity hard as titanium steel — the dignity of being a human person.

The child is not owned by his mother, father, community, or state. He is a unique human subject, a universe unto himself, an unfathomable subjectivity — a being who finds himself free, existing for his own sake.

In the glare of this freedom, it occurs to me that I cannot own a child any more than I can own an adult. I can only care for him, and care is an action of love.

The child is cared for by the duty, responsibility and desire of love, because love is the only category in which one human being can say to another “you are mine” without meaning “I own you.” Love is the only category under which the child can blossom, because under its star he is taken care of, with a care that does not infringe upon the fact that he is a human person who ultimately belongs to himself. The afore-mentioned entities — mother, father, community, and state — each of these should care for the child to the extent proper to their duty, but this care never implies ownership.

This is what the Church says in Donum Vitae, the document I will be quoting throughout the length of this post:

The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. (Donum Vitae)

The child is a gift of love, and I believe that this fact is available not only to the eyes of faith, but also to the eyes of basic human experience.

Outside of love, there is only economy. Here objects are bought and sold in an ever-turning tumult of supply and demand. Here lies the land of the owed and the owning. In the category of economy, there is disappointment – which niggles us when we don’t get what was owed — just as there is fulfillment – which comforts us when we do. Getting, purchasing, buying, selling, attaining, owing and owning — this is the song Wal-Mart sings.

Now in the category of love there is only gift. In the act of “making love” a husband gives himself to his wife, a wife gives herself to her husband, and the child conceived is a gift to them both. “In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving.” (Donum Vitae) Neither parent can claim ownership of the child, for they share in the life of the child as they shared in his creation. Where there is love there is no disappointment, for the child was not supposed to be this way or that. Nothing is owed in the act of love. In fact, such an “owing” would be a contradiction in terms, for love transcends the lexicon of economy and asserts the language of un-owed, undeserved gift.

If the child has a disability — let’s say Down Syndrome — there might be disappointment in the situation, for such conception comes with immense trial. But there is no disappointment in the child himself, for the child is pure gift, and the man disappointed in a gift is a man who believes he was owed a gift, that he had “a good thing coming to him.” In short, he treats it entirely unlike a gift. He treats the child within the category of economy.

It seems apparent that our current sexual culture is one of economy, not of love. If this is not plain enough by the fact that the first sexual experience of the majority of American men is an experience of bought sex — I refer, of course, to the business of pornography — then consider this: 90% of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are killed in the womb. I don’t mean to argue that such killings are not performed out of some feeling of compassion — out of the misguided idea that death is better than a life of Down Syndrome — nor do I mean to undermine the difficulty that comes with being a parent to a disabled child. But one thing remains clear: Gone are the no-matter-whats and the eternal giving of self that characterize the heart of love. In its place is disappointment, cost-benefit analysis, failure to get what was wanted — in short, the whole dictionary of economy. We treat the child under the category of economy, for instead of managing the situation, we kill the child.

The Church opposes the confusion of love and economy. In some cases, our culture nods her head in approval. After all, this is the reason it’s a sin — and a heinous one — to promote loveless sex, sex which views a man as a sperm-bank and woman as a functioning uterus. This is one of the many reasons the Church condemns rape. This is one of the many reason that the Church is so heroic in opposing gendercide — the intentional abortion of baby girls. These evils are all evils of economy, that Wal-Mart category that counts the costs, that meets demand, that owes and is owed, and that has as much to do with love as porn has to do with a culture free from sex-trafficking — that is, nothing at all.

But when the Church opposes IVF for the exact same reasons, the culture rage quits. I understand the anger, I really do, for there is nothing so emotionally painful as infertility, nor anything so understandable as the use of artificial reproductive technology to alleviate that pain. But let’s take a step back and look at the thing.

In the practice of IVF, and the act of procreation amounts to a process of 12,000 dollars, egg-harvesting, masturbation, and the subsequent laboratory work of trained specialists (with some obvious differences depending on the procedure). The creation of children is performed by the cost-counting fingers of economy, not by an act of mutual self-gift.

The evils and difficulties that result from IVF are not the reason IVF is wrong, they are the natural result of separating life from the act of love, indicators of something rotten at the core of this scientific procedure that holds high the banner of compassion. The manipulation and abuse of women who donate ovums, the “disposal” of unique human lives, the inability of the reproductive technology industry to keep the multiple-conception rate at normal levels and the subsequent abortions that compensate for this inability — these are problems of economy. The commodities trafficked are life and death. When the Church says that “through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree” we understand the gravity of removing the creation of a child from the act of love . Economy can be a cold, killing wind.

Now it’s important to realize what the Church is not saying, and thereby avoid making bad arguments. The Church is not saying that parents who conceive from IVF do not love their children. Indeed, she points out a balm found in the use of IVF between married couples, that despite the wrongness of the act, “the family and marriage continue to constitute the setting for the birth and upbringing of the children.” The Church is simply saying the method of creation is sin against love and that subsequent repentance and love must overcome this origin. Love is powerful stuff, so I have no doubt couples can do and do just this.

Similarly, the Church is not saying that couples suffering with infertility should not seek to overcome their infertility. The Church admits “the desire to have a child and the love between spouses who long to obviate a sterility which cannot be overcome in any other way constitute understandable motivations” but adds — in that manner so foreign to our modern sensibilities — “subjectively good intentions do not render…artificial fertilization conformable to the objective and inalienable properties of marriage or respectful of the rights of the child and of the spouses.” The Church is not giving up on infertile couples. As it turns out, there’s a far better way then IVF.

When medicine takes as its guiding premise the protection of all human persons involved, it’s not just ethical medicine, it’s excellent medicine. The success of natural methods of treating infertility has been shown to rival IVF, and they do so without the abortions, elevated risk of birth defects, price, and all the rest. Two recent studies have shown that the live birth rate of women treated with Natural Reproductive Technology is entirely comparable to the live birth rate of women treated with IVF, though larger cohort studies are required. (1) (2) For women diagnosed with “subfertility” or “unexplained fertility” there’s actually no conclusive evidence that IVF is more helpful than any other treatment. (3) In fact, a 2012 study published in Infertility suggests that couples diagnosed with subfertility have as good chances of conceiving in three years of just having sex than in having an IVF procedure. (4) The Church, by sticking to the principle of love, has created a demand for medicine without the taint of economy, death and manipulation, and thanks the heroic, rebellious doctors and scientists who meet that demand, the entire culture has been elevated: The natural, healthy, ethical treatment of infertility is now a reality.

But let’s get back to the point: The Church’s postion, much to our frustration, does not waver: The child “cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion.” (Donum Vitae) Whatever the particular artificial reproductive technology, if it separates the creation of children from the act of love then it is an injustice against the child:

“The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development. The parents find in their child a confirmation and completion of their reciprocal self-giving: the child is the living image of their love, the permanent sign of their conjugal union, the living and indissoluble concrete expression of their paternity and maternity.”

To subsume the child into the world of economy is an offense, because in “getting” a child, we deprive him of his basic rights: “Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity.”

If the child is a human person — with rights that demand our respect — then the intentional deprivation of the child’s relationship with his biological parents can’t be right. A 2010 study of children born from artificial reproductive technologies entitled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” found the following:

On average, young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families. They fare worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency and substance abuse. Nearly two-thirds agree, “My sperm donor is half of who I am.” Nearly half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception. More than half say that when they see someone who resembles them they wonder if they are related. Almost as many say they have feared being attracted to or having sexual relations with someone to whom they are unknowingly related. Approximately two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins. And about half of donor offspring have concerns about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even when parents tell their children the truth.

(This principle applies to surrogate motherhood, which “offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families.” (Donum Vitae))

I encourage to everyone to read some of the stories children of donors give, as they reveal the heartbreaking reality behind our innocent bantering about “new family structures”. But ultimately it is not the deprivation of parental relationship that makes such artificial reproductive technologies a crime against love. It is the separation of the creation of children from the act of love and mutual self-gift we call procreation. That such a separation often deprives children of their biological father or mother is simply a logical consequence of our valuation of economy over love, for by it the child is not considered in himself and for himself, as an unfathomable gift of love who we can only care for with immense tenderness. Instead, under the auspices of economy, the child is for us, and the effects of our “getting” a child on the child himself are not considered.

In my post regarding the unique Catholic difficulty in addressing gay marriage, many complained that it was entirely inconsistent to oppose a redefinition of civil marriage into a genderless institution on the basis that children have a right to their mother and father. After all, we deny children their fathers and mothers all the time. Look at IVF, surrogacy, sperm donation, the works! But it occurs to me now, as it occurred to me then, that the Catholic position in regards to the child and the family is fundamentally not the culture’s. The fact that the child is a gift permeates Church teaching from the ground up, to the point where the Catholic, when confronted with the argument, “We already split fatherhood and motherhood from marriage and family, why not do it some more?” can only wave his arms and say, “But we oppose that too!” This “debate” wears on me for this very reason: We’re on entirely different planes.

At most, I hope this post clarifies for non-Catholics the root of our teaching, and helps the Catholic understand that his support of the persistence the human family must be essentially positive, not motivated out of any desire to deny anyone’s rights, but to uphold dignity and rights of the child. At least, for those who detest the Church for opposing a redefinition of civil marriage, this will provide ammo. For as it turns out — between the Catholic teaching on IVF, surrogacy, and all the rest — the Catholic should be detested for so, so much more. For those readers wounded by our culture’s relentless shoving of economy into those sacred lands reserved for love, I am sorry. You are in my prayers. Remember the words of St. John of the Cross:  “Where there is no love, put love – and you will find love.”

(1) Stanford et al, Outcomes From Treatment of Infertility With Natural Procreative Technology in an Irish General PracticeJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine, September-October 2008, Vol. 21, Pages 375-384

(2) Tham et al, Natural procreative technology for infertility and recurrent miscarriage: Outcomes in a Canadian family practiceCanadian Family Physician, May 2012, Volume 58, Pages 276-274

(3) Pandian Z, Gibreel A, Bhattacharya S. In vitro fertilisation for unexplained subfertility. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003357. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003357.pub3

(4) Stanford et al, Cumulative pregnancy probabilities among couples with subfertility: effects of varying treatmentsInfertility, Volume 93, Issue 7, May 2010, Pages 2175–2181

  • Finicky Cat

    Thanks, Marc. This is the best explanation I’ve heard of the Church’s understanding of the problems with IVF. It’s a subject that I have had to think deeply about in the past few years since an infertile couple within our extended family has chosen this route of building a family.

  • Montague

    What is the Church’s teaching on Adoption, as it seems to bear on this topic somewhat. Certainly adoption is a thing of Theological significance Biblically speaking.

    • Nicole Resweber

      I, too, would like to hear Marc’s response to this. That was the first thing I thought of when I got to: “If the child is a human person — with rights that demand our respect — then the intentional deprivation of the child’s relationship with his biological parents can’t be right.”

    • wineinthewater

      It is a thing of significance. The child has a right to a relationship with her biological parents. But a child also has a right to nourishment, education, love, stability, parenting, etc. Ours is a fallen world and sometimes children are brought into situations that lack some of the things to which children have a right. When that happens, we must do the best we can.

      So when a child is put up for adoption, it must be because it is what is best for the child. Giving up a child out of selfishness violates the child’s dignity as well.

      And there is a big difference between a situation that comes about by chance, accident or poor decision and a situation that comes about by our own, conscious and deliberate act. Just because some children are denied the goods their human dignity demands does not justify advocating to deprive other children of other goods their human dignity demands.

  • Guest

    As a

  • Robert Carroll

    Thanks Marc, it was a well written post as always.

    The talk of introducing economy into love makes me think of the fervent desire for freely available contraceptives in the US. I can only imagine that the proponents feel bothered on some level by the disconnect made when the thoughts of “Oh, we need to go buy something so we can make love” or “Why do I have to pay for the pill in order to have sex” interrupt the natural human experience. Instead of realizing they don’t NEED it and can be happy embracing their humanity, people push to make it invisible to the consumer. In the same way a business wouldn’t put their storefront on a sweatshop: just sweep it all under the rug and no one has to worry about it any more.

    There’s always hope, though! We just have our work of spreading joy cut out for us.

  • Christina

    Thanks for writing this, Marc. I have a Catholic family member who supports IVF (and even attempted it herself many years ago, unsuccessfully). It’s a tough topic sometimes, but you’ve made an excellent, consistent case.

  • Nicole Resweber

    Shorter: The family is the foundational unit of society. We must support everyone’s right to their family. Gay people, infertile couples – wait, you want to start a family? Sorry, no.

    • Nicole Resweber

      Am I oversimplifyng? Probably, but this is what these so many words sound like.

      • Dan

        Dear Nicole,

        could you answer the following questions? i fear they may sound bias, but the idea is to understand your view, please forgive the arrogance.

        “is it not true that every child must have a mother and a father?”

        “Do you, Nicole, have the natural right to know who you mother is and who your father is?”

        “seeing as how a child is the actually biological result of their union, should not the mother and father be bond together in a union also?”

        (i.e. so that the mother and father as one in marriage, is seen through the one-ness of the children they produce)

        Dan

        • Nicole Resweber

          No arrogance, I prefer not to be talking past people. :)

          1) Yes – humans are created by the combination of a male sex cell (father’s sperm) and female sex cell (mother’s egg).
          2) I’m leery of the phrase “natural right” given how many people on this thread have questioned whether I understand the meaning of the words, but I’d have to say not necessarily. In a closed adoption, for example, I would not know my biological parents. My biological parents are the (awesome) people who raised me, though, so I won’t presume to know what it would feel like to be in a different situation.
          3) In a perfect world, yes. In the real world, it is unfortunately sometimes better for everyone involved that one or both of the biological parents not be present. (Im thinking of cases of abuse, dangerous lifestyle, drug addiction, etc.)

    • James H, London

      Gay people can’t start a family anyway – the large intestine is not a site of gestation, nor are eggs produced in it.

      For infertile couples, read the bloody post!

      • Nicole Resweber

        Since you have elected to reduce this to “ew buttsex,” I am disinclined to continue conversing with you.

        I read the bloody post. I chose to comment because I felt the bloody post was insufficient.

    • Christina

      The confusion is in the choice of the word “right.” Consider that the Catholic belief is that a child is a “gift,” not a “right.” See above article. (Clearly, by the phrase “start a family” your use of the word “family” turns on the idea of family as including children.)

      • Nicole Resweber

        Actually, I don’t presuppose children when I say “family,” but in this case, yes, that is what I meant by “start a family.” I am Catholic. I am super familiar with – and wholly in agreement on! – the belief that children are a gift. What I am not in agreement with is the idea that only fertile-without-assistance one-mom-one-dad parents are capable of providing a nurturing family.

        • wineinthewater

          That idea is never in this post. Your comment exemplifies the problem. You have moved immediately away from the child to the adults. Rather than putting the “human dignity of the child,” as Marc puts it, at the forefront, you put the adults and the implications for the relationships created by the adults at the forefront.

          And that is the problem.

          • Nicole Resweber

            But that idea is a key part of both this post and his recent post on SSM. Marriage and childrearing are so tightly bound to this concept of “natural” biological parenthood that there is no room to consider whether others may be equally capable of fulfilling the needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of the child(ren) involved.

            I suppose I just don’t agree that the human dignity of the child is so trampled by being raised in a loving, nuturing, committed family that happens not to consist of people who got pregnant “the old-fashioned way.”

          • wineinthewater

            There is room. We’re getting at a fundamental element of the Catholic ethos here. We live in a fallen world. We are afflicted with and afflicted by sin .. both our own and that of others. But Catholicism hears Jesus say, “I wish you to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect” and takes Him at His word, that we should always strive for the perfect, the ideal.

            In the face of this tension, we can respond in a couple of ways. We can simply give up on the ideal entirely. We can redefine the ideal so that it is something we can comfortably achieve.
            Or we can respond as the Catholic faith responds: strive for the ideal and accept the Grace of God to make the most of the imperfect. The biggest problem with moving the goal posts of the ideal, is that when we fall short (because we will fall short of our “modified” ideal as well), we will just move the goal posts again.

            The rights demanded by the innate human dignity of the child would not be so direly trampled if she were raised in a family that did not meet the ideal, but yet was loving and provided the child’s physical needs. But the child deserves it all, even when we can’t provide it. We make the most when our fallen world prevents us from giving her all that she deserves as an icon of God, but we do not look at the fallen world and tell her that it is all she deserves. We don’t move the goal posts just because we fail to meet them.

          • Sven2547

            What is closer to “the ideal”? A childless marriage (despite wanting children), or a loving marriage with IVF-conceived children?

          • wineinthewater

            An appeal to relativism is not going to go very far in a Catholic moral discussion. A marriage that is childless due to circumstance involves no deliberate act that makes the situation deviate from the ideal. IVF is a deliberate act that makes it deviate from the ideal. A situation that is created by a deliberate act is always going to be farther from the ideal than one created by circumstance. Our actions matter.

          • Sven2547

            Is it an appeal to relativism? You were talking about striving to meet the ideal, so I asked a direct and simple question about exactly that: striving to meet the ideal. My question was not rhetorical.

            In my humble opinion, infertility is little different than, say, being born without a left foot. You can “accept the grace of God and make the most of the imperfect”, or you can use medical science to overcome a biological handicap.

          • wineinthewater

            I saw it as an appeal to relativism, truth being determined relative to the situation. Whether or not IVF is closer to the ideal than something else has no bearing on whether it is just.

            I see nothing wrong, categorically, with using science to make the best of the situation. NaPro, fertility drugs, etc. are doing just that. But IVF is not overcoming a handicap, not healing a disorder, it is fundamentally re-orienting procreation into something else.

          • Sven2547

            It most certainly IS overcoming a disorder. It’s a workaround for infertility. And aside from the conception step, every other part of the procreative process is the same.

          • wineinthewater

            Yes, it is overcoming a disorder, but it is not *healing* it. No longer is the child created by the loving, self-giving act of the parents. The child is created instead by a series of procedures done by other people. The child is nor created *by* the parents, but *from* the parents. The child is not created by an act of incarnated love, she is created by a monetized act of commerce.

            But this is one of those things where I think looking at the fruits is important. What are the other fruits of IVF (especially as practiced in the US)? Egg harvesting at a health risk and health cost for the donor, selective abortion to “weed out” “extra” children, “spare” human lives created and then frozen indefinitely or destroyed, screening to eliminate “flawed” children, higher incidents of medical and emotional problems from IVF children, a tremendous monetary cost, a success rate worse or at least not substantially better than other approaches (that are often never tried because IVF is such a good profit center for fertility specialists). Not to mention the other risks like clinics using the wrong egg, sperm, or embryo. Or the further commoditization of children created by the common practice of using egg and sperm catalogs to create the embryo to start with.

            When Catholicism talks of the temporal consequences of sin, this is an example of what she means.

          • Benjamin Woolums

            Of course, in this post, you assume that God is not the giver of life. As it so happens, He is. Do you think it is man’s place, who is not at all perfect, to give the perfect gift of life? You have asked this as God. I would like to remind you that you are not, and it is for God to decide what is closer to the “ideal”, not man. And you may not understand why some couples are sterile. I’m sorry to tell you, but as apart of the human species, we don’t have perfect knowledge. But I can guarantee you that God knows why some couples are sterile.

            And just because the parents WANT a child is no excuse to give up the child’s rights. It sounds like abortion all over again. Putting the parents’ WANTS above the child’s NEEDS. (As Marc has pointed to research several times over, children who grow up in these situations are typically less healthy mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. The research also shows that many who went through these situations would not wish them upon anyone else.) So, I could argue against your logic all day long. But the truth is it doesn’t matter. Whether you choose to believe it or not, God is the giver of life.

          • Benjamin Woolums

            Sudden thought after I posted: Deliberately putting a child in a situation that has been shown to be less healthy for the child is not an act of love. So whatever “loving” family your thinking of, I suggest they should look into adoption, and bring children out of a state of misery rather than put them into it.

          • Sven2547

            Now hang on a second. IVF makes no assumptions about God’s role in the creation of life. Sperm and egg meet in womb, or sperm and egg meet in a petri dish. Are you saying God exists in one of these places, but not the other? Come on now.

            And what are you talking about regarding the child’s rights? How does IVF harm the child in any way? You are speaking utter nonsense here. Show me the supposed research you claim exists.

          • Benjamin Woolums

            For the research, read Marc’s post again, as well as the many other posts in which he mentions the same research. I forget if it was specifically mentioned here, but it won’t do you any harm to read the other posts in search for them. You can also check many websites, if you so desired to do your research. Even if I were to provide you my research, you would believe the research you do yourself much easier.

            Yes, the Petri Dish takes away God. God is love. Creating this child is no longer an act of love. Thus, God is taken away from the creation of the child because humans have slammed the door in His face, and He lets us have free choice.

            Just because I can murder does not mean that it is right. Natural death contains God. Why does murder not? Isn’t it another form of death? So I could justify murdering by saying I am sending these people to God. Do you see the twisted thinking? This is a clear example because justifying murder (other than abortion) is still so wrong to us, mainly because it threatens our own life. If we take the same logic I used to justify murder, yes, we can justify giving life to things on our own. But, if we claim it is sound logic, be careful what else one may be able to justify with it.

            IVF is also forcing life. It is not asking for the gift of a child, it is demanding it. Sex is an open invitation for the child, and while some couples may try to have children, their main purpose of sex is to share in God’s love with each other. The main purpose of IVF is to force life. Can you see the difference?

          • Sven2547

            I see anecdotes about the children of anonymous sperm donors in Marc’s post, but no negative consequences to kids born from IVF of loving couples.

            People go to IVF when attempts to conceive naturally have already FAILED. “Slamming the door in God’s face”? The door already got slammed in the couple’s faces here. You are wrong when you say there is no love in an IVF conception. It is a deliberate commitment made by loving couples who want to share that love in a way that produces a child.

            Over and over again, I hear Catholics say the primary (indeed, the ONLY) purpose of sex is to have babies. Sex without the intent to make babies is some terrible evil thing. That’s why you people are so big on banning contraception. Now you’re making reproduction out to be a secondary goal, the primary one being “to share God’s love”?

            Yes, I see the difference between IVF and sex, but just because they’re different, that doesn’t mean one is evil. The goal of BOTH is the SAME: to conceive a child. And nobody, I repeat: nobody is using IVF as an exclusive alternative to sex. People only turn to IVF when sex has failed.

            Maybe the Roman Catholic Church wouldn’t have such unrealistic, contradictory, archaic and obsessive concerns regarding sexual practices if their clergy wasn’t celibate. Wanna talk about unnatural sexual behavior? Voluntary celibacy is high on the list.

          • savvy

            Sex by it’s very nature is both unitive and procreative. The argument is that two cannot be separated. Contraception and IVF both separate them.

            This is just a biological/biochemical fact.

            And celibacy is not unnatural sexual behaviour, because its not sexual behaviour, duh…

          • Sven2547

            If sex involving contraception isn’t really sex, then what’s the problem? There’s nothing immoral about not-having-sex, right?

          • savvy

            Contraceptive sex is a distortion of the real thing. It is sex, but a distortion of what sex is meant to be.

            Now, I do not care what other people. When they seek my approval and want me to promote this distortion, that is the issue.

          • savvy

            It makes the child an object, rather than a subject. You have rights to things, not people. unless your union created that person.

          • Sven2547

            I’m disgusted that you consider some people to be objects, savvy. People are PEOPLE.

          • savvy

            I do not consider some people to be objects. I simply saying that IVF strips the rights of a child to be the creation of their parents union.

          • Sven2547

            You literally said “it makes the child an object”. Now you’re just contradicting yourself.

            No, IVF doesn’t strip a child of “the right to be the creation of their parents’ union”. People to to IVF because that “right” has already been taken away by fertility problems.

          • savvy

            I should have clarified it treats the child like an object. Fertility problems are not the child’s fault.

          • savvy

            My desire for X does not create my right to it. The union that creates a child out of their love, has a unique right over the child in a way that nobody else does.

            In the case of an adoption, the state confers rights on the parents.

            In all these things, adults think they have a right to a child. The child being reduced to object, rather than subject.

    • faustinamax

      “Rights” aren’t defined by what people want or feel. (If we were able to act on anything we wanted or felt, our world would be chaos.) God designed our rights and is the creator of our sexuality. He designed how children are born so each child has the “right” (properly defined) to be born of His design.

      For non-religious arguments, look for the manipulation done to embryos. Some studies suggest up to 95% of the embryos are subjected to deliberate freezing, manipulation, discarding, not to mention the “selective reduction” of fetuses in multi-fetal pregnancies.

      For an ethical and significantly more successful solution to IVF couples should look to NaPro technology which has almost double the success rate in terms of pregnancy and live birth rates than IVF.

      • Nicole Resweber

        I’m not saying that IVF is a super awesome fun times thing that everyone should do. I’m well aware of the physical process as well as the ethical concerns with it. Like any serious medical procedure, it is not something to be undertaken lightly.

        I just do not wish to participate in shaming people who, for whatever reason, have had no success conceiving conventionally and turn to IVF technology as their only means of participating in the work of creation.

        • Cam

          I wouldn’t worry about shaming people. It sounds like you have a compassionate heart and that is really good! I think when people pick this procedure they often have really good intentions: having a child, enjoying pregnancy, being parents of their “own” child (there are probably a bunch more but its like 5am and I can’t think of them right now). This does not mean that what they are desiring is good for them, their child and isn’t cause collateral damage that destroys other unique embryos and unborn fetuses. Helping people understand the moral weight of their actions is very important for their souls! Ofcourse, if you don’t have faith in death, judgement, heaven and hell then I would expect that last sentence to just sound like hogwash.

          • Nicole Resweber

            You have caught me in a place of personal struggle. I want to be good to people, to respect the complexities and past hurts and struggles in their lives that lead them to where they are. To support them and love them the way I have been supported and loved by Christ and His Church. And yet at times what their heart most cries out for is denied or must be avoided for their ultimate good or the ultimate good of others. And pieces like this worry me that the message we can send sounds like judgement instead of love, like giving rules instead of sitting and laughing or crying or just *living* with people.

            But what you and faustinamax and wineinthewater are saying is true and good and necessary too. Perhaps we need both. The voices like Marc, boldly proclaiming What is Right and True, and other voices, softer but just as bold, proclaiming We See You. We accept you, we love you, we will walk with you in the path of righteousness and truth and longing and hoping and disappointment and all those other things. That’s kinda how Jesus did it, if I recall.

            Thank you all for your kind replies. God bless.

        • faustinamax

          Cam responded very tenderly and articulately. I will just add this: The Church is not about shame. It is about love. And despite popular perception, love does not mean letting people do whatever they want or feel. Additionally, the Church’s teaching on God’s creation of sexuality has inspired an *even more successful* method of achieving pregnancy and live births than IVF–that is NaPro technology.

          I am not speaking from a place of callousness. I myself experienced several miscarriages after the birth of our son. So I know the pain of loss and infertility.

          • Nicole Resweber

            Thank you for sharing that part of your story. I won’t type it twice, so see my reply to Cam above, but I appreciate your willingness to engage and discuss with grace what I started off rather snarky and defensive.

          • faustinamax

            Thank you for your thoughtful, humble response and tenderness towards my sorrows. Many blessings through your spiritual journey!

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

    Since surrogacy and prostitution are linked in the fact that a person sells their body for the purpose of only fulfilling one of the dual purposes of sexuality we should be promoting Napro Technology for couples that are infertile. This post does not even touch on the destruction of human embryos (abortions) involved in the process of IVF.

  • James H, London

    Very well written, Mr Barnes.

  • James H, London

    Also, not only is IVF associated with higher incidence of birth defects, but the hormone jolts the woman is subjected to (and only her) can also cause circulation problems.

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    Marc,

    Excellent post, but I want to bring attention to one thing. You write:

    In the glare of this freedom, it occurs to me that I cannot own a child any more than I can own an adult. I can only care for him, and care is an action of love.

    Yes, agreed. But let’s just keep an eye on how the folks at MSNBC talked about the same thing, using the language of Rousseau no less who sought for state authority over that of parental authority for children:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/msnbc-we-have-break-through-idea-kids-belong-their-parents

    I’m not suggesting there’s any overlap between what you wrote and what MSNBC advertises. But we should be aware of how they use the langage. Personally, I think ever and ever greater state control of children is the next logical step after marriage redefinition.

    • EpicusMontaigne

      Even Socrates wanted to take children away from their parents to be raised by the state.

      • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

        I know Plato did; I didn’t know this of Socrates. But I’m curious about your use of the word “even.” Are you agreeing with me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069731366 Karen Cox

    This is the kind of thing that could only be written by an unmarried teenager with no children.

    • EpicusMontaigne

      I’m not even sure what that means…

      I wish I had written this first. I’m not teenager, and I have a son.

    • Tom

      My logical fallacy sense are tingling….

    • Naomi

      I disagree… I have 2 kids and I couldn’t have written it better. Not only that, but my husband and I spent years dealing with subfertility and secondary infertility, as well. IVF is inherently a commercialization of children, and has, and will continue to, increase the commodification of children, and women of childbearing age.

    • HammerDoc

      Karen, please do not let any personal difficulties you may have had cause bitterness. God has a plan, and it is good so far above our ability to sense it all. Having suffered the pain of YEARS of not being able to conceive and carry children in our marriage, we were tempted to go this route as well. By the Grace of God, we got out before we went that far, and in the end, discerned that we were being called to adoption. Corresponding to that Grace was perhaps the best decision we EVER have or will ever make. We have received definite signal Graces that this was not only WHAT God wanted us to do, but that He wanted specifically OUR home for THESE particular children–something that we would NEVER have been open to if we were normally-fertile.

      You will be in our prayers. God loves you–and you are infinitely LOVABLE as only He CAN love. May God bless you.

  • ThereWasADream

    I was conceived by IVF and I oppose IVF for Marc’s reasons. People sometimes ask why, as they claim there is no other way I could have existed. However, they forget that there is no way of knowing that I could not have existed some other way. Perhaps if my parents were completely infertile (they both died young and I never asked as a kid), I could have been born into this world by other parents and adopted by them instead. They adopted my older sister, why not me, too?

    • Beth Turner

      Wow, thanks for sharing your experience!

    • HammerDoc

      I too, oppose IVF, mainly because it is Church teaching, and I have found through the years that The Church is right about all things–even when I initially thought I had reason to believe she was wrong, God has eventually given me the knowledge, education and Grace to find the Truth on several points I used to contest!

      However, NEVER let anyone tell you that you are not equally valuable and loved by God, and equally lovable, merely because your ORIGIN was not the ideal. Many would mischaracterize The Church’s teachings on this subject to falsely accuse her of not having compassion or love for sub-fertile parents or their children or both. The Church DOES have great love for all concerned, and only desires that all achieve the ultimate goal for which they were Created: Ultimate and eternal happiness united with their Creator.

      God bless you, Dream.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcjohnpaul Marc Barnes

      Thank you for writing this. You’re in my prayers.

      • ThereWasADream

        Sure brah, I think you’re radicool.

        *makes sign of cross and fist bumps you*

    • Sagrav

      Um, no. There is no way “you” would have been born to other parents. You are the sum total of your genetic make up, and anyone else’s genes would have resulted in… oh. You’re implying that your magical, undetectable “soul” would have just floated over to some other couple having sex. Well, since you are arguing from the viewpoint that magic exists and is the basis of human conception, then I guess there is no point in arguing with you.

      • ThereWasADream

        That’s right. I’m a wizard, and you are an intellectual badass. There’s no point in arguing with me because you know everything, including things that you can’t prove. And also because if I get mad I’ll start shooting fireballs out of my mouth and no one wants that.

      • Jane

        How about this: someone can be grateful for their existence, but question and/or reject the way they were conceived. Watch the video “My Daddy’s Name is Donor.” A man conceived by anonymous sperm donation brings up that point. It’s a huge burden to put on someone’s shoulders, “You’re here because of IVF/donor conception/rape/cloning/whatever…how dare you criticize it!” as if that person might not have some reservations about the fact they weren’t conceived through an act of love between their mother and their father. Thank you for sharing your story, ThereWasADream. You are the person we should listen to when we ask, “Is IVF morally okay?”

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

          Some people might have reservations about being the product of an interracial coupling, should we oppose interracial marriage for that reason too? This entire line of reasoning is flimsy. While I sympathize with people like ThereWasADream, I’m not going to object to a practice just because of anecdotal evidence.

          • Brenna

            I don’t think I follow you, dangus. The difference between races are minute; minuscule bits of DNA that change production of things like melanin or growth hormones. At a molecular level, we are all human. The catholic church recognizes this– she has no qualms with interracial marriage.

            Furthermore, I really don’t think there is any evidence that children from interracial couples have had nearly the same amount of problems with their own identity as children conceived via IVF. If I’m wrong about that, show me some data!

            Fact is, though, Marc (the bad catholic) just gave a wonderful argument against the practice that was *not* anecdotal. Why are you picking on one person’s anecdote that just so happens to support Marc’s idea?

          • dangus

            *Furthermore, I really don’t think there is any evidence that children from interracial couples have had nearly the same amount of problems with their own identity as children conceived via IVF. If I’m wrong about that, show me some data!*

            The burden of proof is on you here to show that children born from IVF have a higher than normal amount of problems. Frankly I wouldn’t surprised if neither group had statistically significant problems with their identities.

  • jk

    So you write:

    The child “cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion.”

    This includes NaPROtech, right? Since in using the charts and the methods to try to conceive, it reduces the body to a device for producing babies?

    • Nicole Resweber

      In this as in the Great Contraception Debate, I fail to understand the differentiation of one scientific method of controlling fertility and another in terms of what is “natural.”

      • Cam

        It is not about being “natural” as it is being ‘open to life’. Its like its saying “We don’t need to be eating organic food, we just need to be eating food.” The problem with contraception isn’t its artificial-ness, it is how it is a direct addition of a physical/chemical barrier with the intent of separating the co-creation of human life from the marital act. We are crapping on the purpose of this activity when we do this. By the sounds of it, this probably won’t be a an explanation for to your liking… I fear that may be because you are already have adopted a contraceptive mindset. Remember that we can’t help but be products of our culture. For that reason everything you hear on here might seem wayy outta the box but I promise its good stuff if you give it some thought and prayer. I also suggest talking to a good priest. Talking to a real face can really help you discern through discourse compared to dealing with text on a computer screen.

        • Sven2547

          “…with the intent of separating the co-creation of human life from the marital act.”

          But that’s not the intent at all.

          Ask any couple who conceived using IVF what their motivations were. They will tell you “We wanted a child.” They will NOT tell you “We wanted to separate the act of lovemaking from the act of conceiving.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Gjernes/1400126950 Christian Gjernes

            No, that’s not the intent at all. But it is the essence and effect of what happens, and is therefore wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-J-Loveless/100000216363826 Patrick J Loveless

            Let’s apply this logic to, say, your tennis shoes.

            *You buy a pair of tennis shoes*
            *sees sweatshop where shoes were made*
            You: But I only wanted a pair of shoes!
            Me: That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. But can’t you see there is something wrong with how you got those shoes?

            The ends may be well-intentioned. But that does not make the means good.

        • Nicole Resweber

          As I mentioned above, being a cradle (and practicing!) Catholic, I am not unfamiliar with any of this. I just often feel like when we only engage our ideas in a Catholic echo chamber, it is very easy to forget that there are people on the other side of our “debate” making conscience-informed moral decisions about these issues to the best of their ability. And when we say things like “this scientific method of making conception not a crapshoot is morally and ethically licit, while that other scientific method of making conception not a crapshoot is a grave sin against God and human dignity,” we just sound wildly legalistic.

          • wineinthewater

            It doesn’t sound wildly legalistic when we can draw clear distinctions between the two. It is very easy to differentiate between IVF and NaPro. The means of aiding conception are fundamentally different. All science is not the same just because it is science.

            But we are bumping up against a persistent problem in our culture. Our culture increasingly judges acts based on intent more than the act itself, on the ends more than the means. We justify bad acts as long as they are done for the right reason or achieve the right outcome. Whether focusing on the intent or the ends, our culture largely ignores the means. But all of them matter: intent, ends *and* means.

            The NaPro couple and the IVF couple very likely have pretty much the same intent and are likely seeking the same ends. But they are pursuing *very* different means. And the means matters.

          • jk

            Much of Marc’s condemnation does not cite specific features of the means. Indeed, I have repeatedly quoted this point: “The child “cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology””

          • Nicole Resweber

            Hmm, good point. Intent is not magic, and if harm is done, it doesn’t much matter *why* you chose to do what you did. Shall ponder.

            Thank you for all your gracious replies.

        • Nicole Resweber

          I completely agree that a person-to-person discussion of such ideas is vastly superior! The human connection is so so important. Thank you for your graceful response.

      • savvy

        One method works with how the body is designed, to work, the other works to interrupt how the body is designed to work.

    • HammerDoc

      Your “argument” consists entirely of mischaracterization, and is utterly invalid.

      • jk

        Alleging mischaracterization, and not say how I’ve done so doesn’t really convince me that I’ve mischaracterized anything.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      No, no, no. NaPROtech does not remove the sexual act from reproduction and so is not immoral in that way. Furthermore, the body is not “reduced” to producing babies; it is one of its highest exaltations.

      • jk

        But the issue isn’t that the sexual act has been removed from reproduction, the problem, in particular is that:

        The child “cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology”

    • wineinthewater

      No, it doesn’t. The charts and methods work with the body to do what the body was designed to do, but what circumstances have prevented it from doing. They do not thwart or circumvent our God-given and created fertility, they allow it to work in the face of dysfunction.

      That is why your comment is a mus-characterization. But this does bring up a point. Marc’s post was all about IVF as an illicit *means* to conceive. Someone can still have the wrong intention while using licit means. A person who conceives a child in order to have a child-object is also sinning against the dignity of the child.

      • jk

        So you agree that it would be wrong to use NaPROtech purely as a device for conception?

        • wineinthewater

          No, I agree that it would be wrong to use NaPro to conceive if one’s view of children was as an object obtained solely for one’s own gratification. But that would be wrong regardless of the manner in which the child was conceived.

          But the point is probably just academic. I don’t think anyone conceives a child purely out of selfish motives. But if they did, and they used NaPro to do it, it would be wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-J-Loveless/100000216363826 Patrick J Loveless

      You do realise the reproductive system is PART OF the human body, right?

      Don’t people have the right to a healthy, functioning body?

      IVF cures nothing. NAPro Technology attempts to heal sick bodies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678162576 Ce Gzz

    The irony is that recently the father of IVF Robert Edwards died. He claimed he wanted to see who was in charge and his conclusion is that “humans were in charged”. Guess he is not having an easy time explaining God about these motivations for his science.

  • Sven2547

    Why is this even a debate? If you oppose IVF, then don’t have the procedure.
    The real question is, should IVF be banned under the law? If so, why? Listing reasons you personally consider it to be immoral is not a sufficient to ban the practice for millions of Americans who do not share your moral/religious opinion on the matter.

    • Dan

      Dear sevn2547,

      Technically speaking, murder is a morally wrongful act. It is on this basis that the law was created on it. It is easy to argue the benefits of murder but not reason would ever be justified. So moral arguments are perfectly valid, do you agree?

      God Bless,

      Dan.

      • Sven2547

        You are absolutely right that murder is immoral, but that immorality is not the sole reason murder is illegal. Murder horribly robs a person of their life, and government exists to protect people’s lives.

        Let’s say I’m an orthodox Jew who believes that the consumption of non-kosher food is gravely immoral. Would it be appropriate of me to attempt to abolish the sale of pork in the United States? Of course not. Because the expression of my religious belief does not give me license to infringe on the freedom of Christians to enjoy a delicious ham dinner.

        Let’s say I’m a devout Muslim who believes that the non-Halal slaughter of livestock is gravely immoral. Would it be appropriate for me to mandate that all livestock slaughtering in the United States is done according to the standards set forth in the Quran? Of course not. Because the expression of my religious belief does not give me license to infringe on the freedom of ranchers to handle their livestock as they see fit.

        Let’s say I’m a devout Southern Baptist who believes that inter-racial marriage is gravely immoral (this position has fallen out of favor among most Southern Baptists, but there are some holdouts). Is it reasonable for me to try to ban that? Of course not. Etc etc.

        Religious opinion alone is not sufficient reason to pass restrictive laws that affect people outside your religion. Remember that the next time you eat a ham sandwich.

        • wineinthewater

          The only problem is that most of the arguments in the original post were not religious opinion. Most of them were, in fact, based on justice, the justice owed to every child.

          • Sven2547

            It is the Church’s (and Marc’s) OPINION that “separating the creation of children from the act of love” is an injustice to the child.

          • savvy

            It is. My desire for X does not create my right to it. The union that creates a child out of their love, has a unique right over the child in a way that nobody else does.

            This says, “i can go out and pay to create a child in a lab, since I have a right to one.”

            In the case of an adoption, the state confers rights on the parents.

          • Sven2547

            The right to have your own baby doesn’t need to be GIVEN or CREATED by anyone. People have that right to begin with. And you have no business taking it away.

            I find it deeply, deeply ironic that Catholics want to DENY the choice for pregnant women to not have their baby, yet you also want to DENY people with fertility problems the right to have their own baby.

            Sort of like how Catholics oppose abortion… and the best methods of reducing the number of abortions.

            It’s nonsense of the highest order. No wonder membership is plummeting in the developed world.

          • savvy

            I never said someone does not have a right to have their own baby. Please read what I wrote.

            It’s more like we oppose abortion because it’s the taking of innocent life. And most abortions are the result of failed contraception, according to studies done.

            The mentality that a child is an unwanted intruder enters the picture with contraception and abortion would just be the logical result of this thinking.’

        • Dan

          I agree with your premise here, it makes sense. But the issue here is a matter of how we categorise universal moral truths.

          An orthodox Jew might teach that the eating of pork is wrong, but the church says that teaching is wrong. but it respects that point of view, and also allows this practice into the church.

          In a similar way a new cult might ask that murder be legalised because they think it immoral to deprive a person the freedom to kill, the church teaches that this view is also wrong. But, while the action is never condoned, the person will still have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven.

          The difference between murder and pork is thus. Pork is based in the category of a “religious discipline”. As such disciplines in the church are, of course, largely variable. Murder on the other is a matter of “doctrine”, it is an aspect which Is opposed directly to the concept of the love, dignity and safety of a human life.

          And so back to IVF, this is a matter of Doctrine as it interferes with the love, dignity and safety of human life. It puts many embryo’s at risk, reduces the dignity of the parents and the child and removes the act of physical love, all of which culminate in a large increase of risk in the mental heath of all involved.

          This is how things work. You have truth and reason, ethics are an important part of bringing limitations of sanity to our seemingly limitless intellectual and technological progression. We need to separate what is a discipline of the church, and moral objectivity (i.e the difference between Friday Fish and Murder for Catholics)

          Does that make sense? please rebuke me so we might understand one another.

          God Bless,

          Dan

          • Sven2547

            IVF doesn’t “remove the act of physical love”. It’s not like couples who use IVF are spontaneously unable to make love to each-other. I also contest your suggestion that IVF has any effect on anyone’s mental health. It’s a completely baseless claim. Finally, what’s undignified about giving infertile couples a chance to bear and raise children? If you ask me, what’s really undignified is telling them ‘too bad, God wills it, you’ll never bear children of your own’.

            I’m not saying ethics are unimportant or irrelevant. I agree that ethics are crucial to progress in human society. I fail to see how IVF is unethical, and I fail to see how DENYING a medical procedure to someone in need is remotely ethical.

          • Dan

            And so it is my turn, so the rooming of physical love, let me ask you, how does one start making babies? The answer is sex. But there is more, the function of sex is to produce life. As we all know, sex is more that a simple process by which we have children, it is itself a special expeirance. Removing sex in the creation of the child does two things, 1. It produces an idea that sex is not for making babies, 2. It removes the physical expression of love that sex entails. The aspect about mental Health is not universal, but my mother who is a CBT therapist who regularly encounters indurviduals who don’t who there parents are, and they have serious problems. But as stated above, this is a case of higher risk, some overcome this terrible burden, but let’s not forget those who suffer. The indignity of IVF is not found in the desire to overcome infertility, which is what the church supports of course. The best problem is the state by which at a certain point one is Paying for a child, as is outlined by the article. But overall IVF is actually discouraging the pursuit of to find was to cure infertility, IVF facilitates for it. Anything I could add has been mentioned in the article.

            It I understand your position, you see the church trying to impose it’s discipline, and I would agree, imagine if we were asking for the sale of meat to banned on friday’s?? That would be laughable. However this is not the case for IVF, it is more to do with ethical practices which are less to do with our religious practice and more to do which what is right and what is wrong. I.e. Have I yet mentioned God in this debate?

            Just a last one, you understand that ethics are important, but not that IVF might be unethical. I suppose IVF will probably only appear terrably unethical if one is also against abortion, considers sex not to be a recreational act, and sees children as small human being rather the possession of the father of the mother. So the reason we might disagree is because you’re coming from a different set of ethical ideas. Which would be fine if it didn’t cause harm, but, as seen with IVF, that’s what you ethics seem to suggest. I apologize if this sounds insulting, I mean only to show you how I understand you. Then you can correct me and we can both come closer to the truth.

            love from Dan.

          • Dan

            Rooming=removing, actually there are so many errors that I can only to disgusted at myself, forgive me

          • Sven2547

            You keep repeating the same claim, that IVF “removes” physical love. But that’s completely false. IVF doesn’t make sex dissappear!

            Do you know what infertility even means? It means that, despite repeated attempts, a couple is unable to conceive a child naturally. When that’s the case, they may go for IVF to conceive. In this case (which is virtually 100% of IVF usage), the separation between sex and conception IS ALREADY THERE. IVF isn’t taking it away, it’s already gone for these people! IVF lets couples have physical love AND the conception of the child, and it was NOT THEIR CHOICE to separate the two.

          • Dan

            do you understand how IVF works?

          • Sven2547

            I do. Do you?

            Just because the IVF process itself does not involve physical intercourse, it does not follow that couples who undergo IVF are not having sex.

            I further note that nowhere in the procedure does it mention removing God or removing love. The church made that part up on their own. ;)

          • Dan

            I think so, its hard to go through all the information on the subject but I have an adequate understanding.

            You understand that typically sex starts the process of baby making, where as in IVF sex is bypassed. Thus the act of love making is removed from the making of he child. What is Loving making, (ideally) the moment where a male and female, overcame with love for one another, come together to be one in flesh. Truly beautiful. This act can be done with the purpose of creating a baby, sometimes not, but if all things go well then a baby is born.

            IVF removes the intimacy of sex from the process of creating a child. You know i feel like i’m repeating myself here, actually i think i’m just echoing what the article says. The point is have a sexually active relationship does matter, as you say. Where conception occurs, the sperm and egg meet and those two elements become one, the parents are not involved. This is the first problem, removing the physical act of love from the creation of a baby.

            The issue i was hoping you might understand you were mistaken on is you comment on that IVF isn’t abortion. Yes, it is not a deliberate attempt to abort a child, but many conceived children die as a result. That is considered as much a crime as abortion.

            IVF does not cure infertility, there are many unsuccessful IVF treatments, some try and it doesn’t work. IVF is certainly something which was made out of compassion. But it is flawed and unethical. Other treatments are more successful and ethical, these are the scientific progresses which the church supports.

            The Catholic Church makes nothing up, it is the most skeptical christian faith in existence, because it bases its faith in truth. Throughout history there are always large numbers of people waiting in line to attack her, in part because of the misinformation about what it is the church teaches. But ultimately, like the truth she supports, it prevails. I hope you understand that. IVF was once something i didn’t know. I asked about it, it seemed good. Then the church said no, i disagreed for a period, then i asked what would lead the church to disagree? That is how we come to understand things. We ask for both sides of the argument and the truth prevails.

            One day, may be not when you read this, you will start asking “what do my enemies think? why do people disagree with me on this point?” that will be the being of an intellectual awaking for you. This might lead you to our church, it might not, but i know you’ll be happier for it.

            (as a quick note, if you seriously want to know what Catholics teach about its faith and other things, i would direct you towards the ‘catechism of the catholic church’ the ‘code of canon law’ and even direct you towards ‘catholic answers’ which answers question on our faith.)

            I hope we have come to a better understanding, and i apologise for causing any conflict between us. I am sorry. I do beg you to open you mind to evidence and truth, and you’ll understand.

            God bless,

            Dan.

        • Benjamin Woolums

          The problem with your examples are that Jews recognize only themselves as called to not eat pork. They could not care less what the rest of the world consumes. Muslims hold themselves to the standard of the Quran. They see it as rules for themselves, and while they would like others to uphold it, it is really not their problem. The Southern Baptist’s beliefs about inter-racial marriage crumble on themselves. If they could make a logically sound case, then yes, it might be up in the air.

          The Catholic is called to spread the good news to the ends of the world, and to protect everyone because we “love our enemies as ourselves”. We see every human being, past, present, and future as a part of the Body of Christ, and when one suffers, we all do. So, if you are going to try and use other religions to compare us to, try choosing one with similar beliefs.

          Yes, we have empathy for the parents. We feel their pain too. But tell me, if there are two kindergartners, and one is playing with HIS toy truck, would you take it away and give it to the other just because the other WANTS the truck? Would not the one whose it is have a right to his property?

          The baby is a HUMAN BEING. He/she has his/her own desires, wants, feelings, thoughts, and his/her own world they see around him/her. The baby has his/her own God-given LIFE. Tell me, if the unalienable rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we have abortion, the HHS mandate, and even from the beginning, babies put into situations that are statistically unhealthy for them, what do we have left? You are talking about something that has many other options available, one of the most loving courses of action being adoption. And what you are trying to defend is taking away a child’s unalienable rights.

          • Sven2547

            IVF isn’t abortion. You are badly confusing the two.
            IVF doesn’t take anything away from anybody.

            And also, you are badly missing my point about imposing religious beliefs. Do you think that, just because Christianity is evangelical, that gives you extra license to impose those beliefs on others?
            (By the way: Islam is also evangelical, your rejection of my Halal point is baseless).

          • Tarses

            Sorry, Sven, IVF does indeed lead to abortion. By its very nature, IVF purposefully creates more embryos than will likely ever be implanted. Most couples end up with an excess of these embryos which are then either frozen in perpetuity or destroyed. Destruction of those embryos is the same thing as aborting them.

            Killing an innocent human being (such as through abortion) is immoral. As such, it should be illegal. Since IVF leads to abortion, it, too, should be illegal. I’ll point out that this is a logical argument, not a religious one (although the Catholic Church would also make the same, logical argument). If a person believes that killing innocent human beings is wrong and should be illegal, then it would be inconsistent to make an exception for IVF even though it sometimes leads to something good. Most often, it leads to something gravely immoral.

            Blessings to you,
            Tarses

          • Sven2547

            At least abortion prevention is a reasonable point. Everything up until this point was utter silliness.

            I wish Catholics would promote other abortion-prevention methods, like comprehensive sex-education and contraception, but those are other discussions for other days.

          • MC

            Actually most contraceptives are abortifacients, and the widespread use of contraceptives in general have led to an increase in abortions because of the psychological effect they have on us. Also, there are tons of speakers and programs that promote comprehensive sex education :) It’s a quickly growing field.

          • Sven2547

            What are you talking about? Contraceptives prevent conception/fertilization. By definition, they are not “abortifacients”.
            Also, this “psychological effect” line is rubbish. People who don’t conceive don’t get abortions. It’s common sense to everyone except Catholics, apparently.

          • Dave

            Hormonal birth control and the copper IUD are, in fact, abortifacient. Although their primary mechanism of preventing pregnancy is to prevent fertilization of the egg, the hormones are known to effect the uterine wall in such a way that, as a secondary mechanism, a fertilized egg is sometimes unable to become implanted in the uterus, leading to spontaneous abortion. This is not secret knowledge. http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2013/02/23/abortion-and-the-pill/

          • Sven2547

            The number of released eggs is very very low on hormonal birth control. So much lower that, statistically, more fertilized eggs fail to implant naturally under no birth control whatsoever than the the number that will fail due to the pill.

            The “pro-life” position is pro-contraception. If you’re against contraception, you’re not “pro-life”, you truly are just “anti-choice”.

          • savvy

            Yes, I do think Catholics should promote NFP and self-esteem in sex education classes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

            Embryos, which have never been implanted, could never be aborted, because they’ve never been implanted.

            I order to be innocent, you kind of have to be able to be guilty. I’m innocent of the bank robbery, but I’m capable of being guilty.

            An infant really can’t be guilty of anything, but it soon will be. The child will all too soon discover the difference between being guilt and innocence, justice and injustice.

            A never used frozen embryo that is ready for implantation will never be able to be guilty or innocent of anything. It’s actually a dozen of so human cells. A marvelous little speck to be sure, but…not hardly a person, which usually have somewhat more working material going for it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

            “Killing an innocent human being (such as through abortion) is immoral. As such, it should be illegal.”

            That doesn’t follow at all. First of all, I see no reason to see abortion as immoral. Secondly, even if I did, that would not provide adequate justification for making it illegal.

          • Brenna

            Ah, see, we don’t just see it as immoral. We see it as murder.

            We consider the “marvelous little speck” a solid human being; it’s got all forty-something chromosomes necessary to survive (as opposed to a gamete, which only have half the DNA). So, if you follow that line of thought, the only difference between an embryo and you, sir, is time. In committing an abortion, you’re violently ripping away a human’s chance to grow, to live, to exist, which is pretty much the exact definition of murder, is it not?

            So essentially, we see it as equivalent to killing a girl because she’s not a woman. See?

            So, if you were seeing what you considered *murder* occurring all around you on a daily basis, wouldn’t you feel the need to stop it?

            Although, if you don’t see murder as a problem, then my argument is moot.

          • dangus

            I don’t see it as murder as your arguments ring hollow to anyone who doesn’t have the same theological background as you. If you want to force women to give up control of their bodies in order to prevent what you consider to be murder, then you have to come up with a different argument.

          • The Other Weirdo

            What the Catholic is called to do is irrelevant to everyone not Catholic and especially those not Christian. The Catholic, by which you mean the Catholic Church, doesn’t have my leave to decide for me what is moral and what is not, how I should behave, what I should eat, who I should love, when, how and for what purpose. In other words, the opinions of a bunch of dried up old men who know nothing of the real world are completely irrelevant to me.

            Your empathy for the parents is not required if it means you interfering in their lives.

            As to your other point, I would teach the boy with the truck how to share and to invite the second boy so they could play together.

          • wineinthewater

            We live in a democracy, therefore what the Catholic believes is right and wrong is relevant. It may not win out in the marketplace of ideas, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a place there.

          • liu

            Actually we’re a secular republic with freedom of religion. What this means is that if you want to make a law that will affect other people, then you can’t have religion be the basis andreasoning for that law. In the same way it would be illegal for a Jew to make pork illegal on the basis of the Torah, it would be illegal for Catholics to make IVF illegal because of their Church’s trachings. And the idea that “separating the creation of children from the act of love” is bad exists only as a Catholic teaching; it is not a universal truth; it is a product of someones religion.

          • Dan

            Dear liu,

            The church bases its opposition to IVF on the natural Law, which is the same basis on which other immoral acts are considered criminal in law. The very same foundation that makes the church condemn murder is used to condemn IVF. What the church teaches on IVF is not a religious discipline; it is part of moral doctrine. It is equivocal to the church saying pornography is wrong, the government law might not agree, the people might not agree, but it is right. There are very important reasons that church opposes IVF, if anything it should spark a thought that if the church is against it, the same church that does great work for social justice, then it’s worth investigating it further. Such as understanding why the church says no on this issue.

            I hope you and I move closer towards the truth, that you might see the reasoning of the church and I might recognise more clearly the pain of infertility with the desire for empathy, please pray for me,

            God Bless,

            Dan

          • wineinthewater

            So, non-religious ideological opinions about right and wrong have a place in public discourse and may be enshrined in law, but religious opinions about right and wrong can’t? If that is the case, then we do not live in a secular republic with freedom of religion.

            Our laws reflect a societal consensus about right and wrong. The fact that my views of what is right and what is wrong are rooted in my religion does not mean that they have no place in public discourse about public policy. If they are rooted solely in my religion and cannot make an appeal to more widely held ideals, they are unlikely to convince in that public discourse, but they still have a place there.

    • tedseeber

      Did you even bother to read the links?

      There are *VERY* good reasons for banning the economic manufacture of slaves under the law.

      • Sven2547

        “the economic manufacture of slaves”? What are you talking about? Do you know what thread you are replying to?

    • Thomas Aquinas

      I think you’re missing the point Sven. IVF is not a mere self-regarding act. It commodifies the child it produces, it teaches the rest of the community that lesson, and in the age of Obamacare it requires that business owners, who cannot in good conscience cooperate with such a practice, to pay for it. Of course, if you think IVF is good, then defend it on those grounds. But you’re begging the question by treating it as if it were a mere self-regarding act. If it is, then argue for it. If it’s not, then you can’t point to it. But by assuming it, you’ve begged the question.

      • Sven2547

        Defend it on the grounds that it’s good?
        IVF gives many couples the option to have their own baby in many situations where it would otherwise be impossible. QED
        Wow. That was really easy.

        And no, I completely disagree with the notion that it “commodifies” a child. Could you really look a IVF-conceived person in the eye and tell him he’s a commodity? Be serious.

        • savvy

          Its not the child’s fault. It’s the parents who think the child is a commodity.

          • Sven2547

            So you could look the mother of an IVF-conceived person in the eye and tell her she thinks the child is a commodity? Prepare to get slapped.

            Your lack of understanding how other people think isn’t a valid argument.

          • savvy

            I wouldn’t say anything to the mother, unless I was asked for an opinion. I would then explain why I think the idea is not a good one. I can separate ideas from people.

          • pincushion

            I’m late to this, but I don’t understand why IVF parents are viewed as seeing their child as a commodity while parents who had their child naturally are not. If anything, I would think that the struggles that the parents of the child conceived via IVF went through would make them more inclined to keep the child because of what they went through to have them. If there are studies that say otherwise, I would love to see them, because my guess would be that they do not adjust for maternal age. Most women who undergo IVF are older, and more at risk for having a child with Down Syndrome or other abnormalities.

            My OBGYN offered to do testing to see if there were any abnormalities with my child (conceived via IVF), and I declined. I know several other families who conceived via IVF who did the same. My own mother, who conceived me naturally, had amniocentesis done – even though it put me at risk in the womb (she was in her late 30s when she had me).

            Also, if you are saying that the child conceived via IVF is a commodity to the parents because they had to pay for them, then so is the adopted child. Part of the reason we chose IVF was because it was more affordable compared to adoption. As someone who never put much value in money other than it being a societal necessity, I find this absolutely ridiculous. Who cares if I had to pay a million dollars to have my son? Or 25 cents? Or nothing? I don’t own him because he is a child of God and a human being.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-J-Loveless/100000216363826 Patrick J Loveless

            How is a child supposed to feel when he learns his parents could have chosen to prematurely end his life if there was one thing disappointing about him?

            It has happened before, you know.

            BTW, nice avatar.

    • http://profiles.google.com/batmanaod Kyle Strand

      You’re reading a blog about religion, and your response is to say that “the real question” is a legal one? Marc is defending the position of the Catholic Church. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do on a Catholic blog. Just because the legal issue is also important doesn’t mean that there’s no point in talking about the moral and ethical issues without addressing the political ones.

      This is not to say, of course, that Marc *doesn’t* want IVF to be banned; I don’t know whether he does nor not. But if he does, presumably he has other reasons than “it’s immoral.”

      • Sven2547

        I only say it’s “the real question” because it’s the only one that matters. People are free to have whatever religious beliefs they want, and nobody needs to justify them to anyone. In contrast, the imposition of law DOES need to be justified, with something more substantial than “my religion says so”.

        • http://profiles.google.com/batmanaod Kyle Strand

          So you would dispense with all theology and philosophizing on the grounds that all discussion of personal beliefs is pointless?

          • Sven2547

            No. I neither said nor implied such a thing. Just drawing a distinction between policy debate and religious philosophy. For many Catholics, they are one and the same.

          • http://profiles.google.com/batmanaod Kyle Strand

            You did imply such a thing when you said that the legal question is “the only one that matters.” Furthermore, as the gay-marriage post linked to in the article (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/04/the-difficulty-with-engaging-gay-marriage.html) makes clear, whether or not “many Catholics” really do see policy debate and religious philosophy as “one and the same,” Marc clearly doesn’t, so your argument is irrelevant.

      • dangus

        And the Catholic Church has taken a position on various legal issues. In the United States, those positions are indefensible if their justification lies exclusively in theology.

        • Kyle Strand

          That’s a little too abstract to facilitate discussion. Are you referring to specific issues?

          • dangus

            the Church is opposed to abortion being legal. It is opposed to gay marriage being legally recognized. It is opposed to laws that make birth control accessible. Were you unaware of this?

          • Kyle Strand

            I didn’t mean that I’m unaware of the issues, I just meant that if you’re going to say that certain positions are indefensible, you ought to be explicit about which positions you’re referring to. Moreover, I don’t believe that it’s completely fallacious to use theology as a foundation for a legal opinion, so long as that opinion is not simply “my religion requires [x], so the government should mandate [x] from everybody regardless of religion.”

            In the case of abortion, the Church wants the government to protect an innocent life, which is a legitimate function of government. (It’s debatable whether the life of a fetus actually confers human rights upon said fetus, but since the Church believes that it does, the government’s responsibility to protect those rights follows naturally.)

            In the case of gay marriage, the Church already distinguishes between Sacramental marriage within the Church itself and legal marriage conferred by government; I’m not sure what the Church’s position is, exactly, on legal marriages, but it seems to me at least that preserving that distinction is more important to them than dictating the boundaries of legal marriage (as well it ought to be). To the extent that the Church does want to control what constitutes a legal marriage, I’m much more willing to concede that their position may be overreaching.

            As for birth control, it is perfectly reasonable to insist that people with moral objections to birth control should not be required to pay for birth control.

          • dangus

            “It’s debatable whether the life of a fetus actually confers human rights upon said fetus, but since the Church believes that it does, the government’s responsibility to protect those rights follows naturally.”

            Just believing that it does is not good enough. The Church has no basis for that other than theology. So it is, in fact an example of “my religious requires [x], therefore

            “I’m not sure what the Church’s position is, exactly, on legal marriages”

            I think Cardinal Dolan and the Pope have made that position quite Clear.

            “As for birth control, it is perfectly reasonable to insist that people with moral objections to birth control should not be required to pay for birth control.”

            I’m morally opposed to the war on drugs, the military industrial complex, and a host of other American policies, does that mean I don’t have to pay taxes?

          • Kyle Strand

            “The Church has no basis for that other than theology.” What exactly do you mean by this? Or rather, why does that alone discredit the argument? Theology means more than just “God says so;” it refers to an entire philosophical system that happens to involve a deity. Are atheistic philosophies automatically better grounds for argument than theistic philosophies? In any case, why is believing that a creature deserves certain rights “not good enough” reason to defend the rights of that creature, regardless of the grounds for that belief?

            “I think Cardinal Dolan and the Pope have made that position quite Clear.”

            To be honest, I don’t actually follow the politics of the Church, either internally or externally, because I just don’t have that much reason to do so. (After all, I’m neither a member of the Church nor particularly politically active.) So while I’m sure you’re correct that they’ve made a number of very clear statements on the matter, I haven’t actually read them. But again, since I don’t see it as the government’s responsibility to save us from ourselves, then even if I were in complete agreement with the Church that the legalization of gay marriage would harm society, I’d probably still maintain my current position on the issue, which is that the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all. And again, as I said before, I agree that to the extent that the Church does desire to control the legal definition of marriage, it is overstepping its bounds.

            Your comparison between forcing employers to pay for their employees’ birth control and forcing citizens to pay taxes is in my opinion pretty strained. Taking it at face value, though, I would say, no, you shouldn’t have to pay for things you find morally reprehensible. So of course this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to pay any taxes, but it does mean you should have more say than you currently do about where that money goes. Yes, this is, at the moment, just a pie-in-the-sky dream of an idealistic political system vastly different from the one currently in place. But the point is that it’s wrong in both cases: I shouldn’t be required to pay for an abortion I think is harmful any more than I should have to pay for a war that I think is harmful.

          • SandyRavage

            Are atheistic philosophies automatically better grounds for argument than theistic philosophies?

            When it comes to making laws, absolutely.

            why is believing that a creature deserves certain rights “not good enough” reason to defend the rights of that creature, regardless of the grounds for that belief?

            Because in this case it also involves depriving another being of their rights. And those rights are already enshrined in law.

            I shouldn’t be required to pay for an abortion I think is harmful any more than I should have to pay for a war that I think is harmful.

            You don’t. You can renounce your citizenship and join a country where nobody disagrees about anything

          • Kyle Strand

            Why are atheistic philosophies better for making laws than theistic philosophies? Laws cannot exist in a philosophical or moral vacuum; if your moral and philosophical framework for understanding the universe leads you to the conclusion that it is the government’s duty to protect a certain right, then you are obligated, as a conscientious citizen, to promote the protection of that right, regardless of whether or not you happen to believe in a God. This is in no way equivalent to forcing your views on the rest of society, because representative democracy doesn’t work like that; just because you argue that the government should do something doesn’t mean that the government will do it.

            And just because you think that a mother has a right to abort a child and that this right supersedes the unborn child’s right to life doesn’t mean that the Church is obligated to agree with you. Certainly, by my reasoning above, you are therefore obligated to oppose the Church’s efforts in this regard; but it is absurd to say that their position is invalid simply because you disagree with it and they’re a religious institution.

            As for renouncing citizenship and joining a country where nobody disagrees, surely you jest, but I raised a serious point that you’re simply ignoring.

          • SandyRavage

            This is in no way equivalent to forcing your views on the rest of society, because representative democracy doesn’t work like that; just because you argue that the government should do something doesn’t mean that the government will do it.

            Saying the government should force your views on others and voting to accomplish that fact is forcing your views on others.

          • Kyle Strand

            So it’s okay to force members of the Church to pay for something they consider murder, but not okay for them to publicly assert that they consider this act murder, because that would constitute forcing their religion on others?

            ….you’re right, that makes complete sense.

            Yes, I know that’s not quite what you said, because there’s a difference between asserting that the government should do something and voting for the government to do that thing, but it’s such a slim distinction (and, as I already explained, citizens are obligated to vote according to their consciences) that it’s trivial.

          • SandyRavage

            Nobody’s telling them they can’t publicly assert it’s murder. Free speech is a right like any other. What they can’t do is use the state to treat it like murder, punishing people who engage in it.

          • Kyle Strand

            Hence why I added that addendum about there being a distinction between arguing for something and voting for it. Again: if something is murder, it is the state’s obligation to punish it, and therefore, if you believe something to be murder, it is your obligation to take political action in an effort to ensure that the state does so.

          • SandyRavage

            Then stop mincing words. You feel obligated to force your views on other people, and you feel obligated to do so based on what religion tells you.

          • Kyle Strand

            You’re assuming things. I’m not personally religious. I’m merely defending the right and obligation of conscientious citizens of a democratic society to advocate for the use of governmental power to protect what they see as innocent lives, regardless of whether their opinion that these lives are worth protecting is based on faith or not.

          • SandyRavage

            You’re mincing words again. You’re defending the right and obligation of people to force their religious beliefs onto others.

          • Kyle Strand

            All laws are an imposition of the views of one group of people (hopefully the majority) upon those who disagree. Anyone who is not an anarchist, therefore, must believe that some degree of imposition is legitimate and acceptable; therefore, the debate (generally speaking) is really over which things ought to be regulated, and to what degree, rather than over whether or not it is ever acceptable for some people to “force their views” on other people. It is irrelevant whether the people who “win” a particular political battle (by imposing or repealing a law) are motivated by faith or not.

          • SandyRavage

            Of course it’s relevant. If slavery or genocide had popular support, would you respect the legitimacy of the popular decision?

          • Kyle Strand

            What does that have to do with the relevancy of whether or not certain views are faith-based? Slavery and genocide can just as easily be perpetrated by atheists. In any case, the answer to that question is no, of course slavery and genocide are wrong regardless of whether they’re popular or inspired by faith.

          • SandyRavage

            So why can’t you respect the right of people who sincerely think all the Jews need to die to vote based on their conscience?

          • Kyle Strand

            Reductio ad Hitlerum, eh? Okay, fine, here goes: I do respect the right of people to vote for atrocities if they believe those atrocities to be right. But I also respect the right of the Supreme Court to strike down laws that are in clear violation of human rights (and that example is a far, far clearer human rights violation than either allowing or prohibiting abortion, since it directly contradicts the right to life of a vast number of people who unquestionably do have full human rights). I furthermore respect the right of the executors of the law to refuse to act upon laws that they deem immoral, so long as they are willing to face the consequences. In this extreme case, a law against Jews would contradict a vast number of other laws and assumed natural rights, so it would be a moral obligation for all conscientious citizens to oppose it to the best of their abilities; moreover, in this extremity, other countries would be justified in invading the state attempting genocide and preventing it from doing so. In short, my defense of the Church’s right to advocate for the illegalization of abortion in no way facilitates genocide.

            It is not necessary to criminalize supporting Nazis; it is only necessary to criminalize the actual violence that might be done by Nazis.

          • SandyRavage

            (and that example is a far, far clearer human rights violation than either allowing or prohibiting abortion, since it directly contradicts the right to life of a vast number of people who unquestionably do have full human rights)

            Special pleading. The millions of women affected by abortion restrictions ostensibly have full human rights. These rights are clearly violated solely to satisfy the whims of the religious.

          • Kyle Strand

            You’re saying that it’s just as obvious that the prohibition of abortion is a human rights abuse as it is obvious that genocide is a human rights abuse? If it’s so obvious, why do so many people think that the opposite (i.e. that abortion is a human rights abuse) is equally obvious?

            Anti-abortion advocates are not arguing that women don’t have full human rights; they’re arguing that fetuses DO have rights, and that therefore the right to life of the fetus is in conflict with the right to…self-determination/privacy/whatever of the mother. This is not a “whim,” nor is it a viewpoint purely limited to religious people.

          • SandyRavage

            You’re saying that it’s just as obvious that the prohibition of abortion is a human rights abuse as it is obvious that genocide is a human rights abuse? If it’s so obvious, why do so many people think that the opposite (i.e. that abortion is a human rights abuse) is equally obvious?

            Appeal to popularity. Are rights determined by consensus alone? Do I have to repeat myself with the genocide argument?

            Anti-abortion advocates are not arguing that women don’t have full human rights; they’re arguing that fetuses DO have rights, and that therefore the right to life of the fetus is in conflict with the right to…self-determination/privacy/whatever of the mother. This is not a “whim,” nor is it a viewpoint purely limited to religious people.

            And they’ve failed to make a compelling argument for that position, regardless of their religious beliefs. Go read those holdings before you say more stupid things.

          • Kyle Strand

            I’m not appealing to popularity to demonstrate that abortion is wrong; I’m appealing to popularity to demonstrate that your opinion isn’t obvious. Widespread controversy implies that the truth isn’t settled upon. To reiterate: I am saying that it is more obvious that genocide is wrong than that abortion is wrong. The fact that the former opinion is nigh ubiquitous while the latter opinion is extremely controversial does in fact prove my point.

            Yes, it’s true that you and many, many people disagree with the argument that fetuses have a right to life. But “failing to make a compelling argument” is not reason enough to be excluded from the political process. (And in fact the nature of democratic government is such that failing to make a compelling argument should be enough of a political loss anyway.)

          • SandyRavage

            The fact that the former opinion is nigh ubiquitous while the latter opinion is extremely controversial does in fact prove my point.

            Human history is replete with instances of mass genocide. And in fact, infanticide was a universal practice in antiquity and abortion has been just as common throughout all of history. It was only with the advent of Christianity that it became seen as immoral. If this were Ancient Athens, would you consider infanticide to be a natural right because of its universally permitted and promoted status? Do your damn homework.

            t “failing to make a compelling argument” is not reason enough to be excluded from the political process. (And in fact the nature of democratic government is such that failing to make a compelling argument should be enough of a political loss anyway.)

            When it comes to taking away someone else’s rights, yes it is. Are you going to read the damned holdings of roe and casey or are you just going to keep pulling more idiotic statements out of your ass?

          • Kyle Strand

            What are you even talking about? Your paragraph about human history has nothing to do with what I’m saying, and your hypothetical about Ancient Athens is ridiculous: have I actually said anything that implies that things which are “universally permitted and promoted” are therefore “natural rights”?

            No, I’m not going to read the holdings tonight, though I’ll probably read them eventually. (I have, in any case, read and heard a fair amount about them, and, come to think of it, may have read Roe, or at least parts of it, several years back.) But consider this: the anti-abortionists lost both court cases. I’ve already mentioned (in my answer to your question about voting to kill Jews) that the Supreme Court plays a major role in protecting rights. Due process was followed, and the rights, as you see them, of the mothers were protected. Democracy is an imperfect governmental system, and judicial review is an imperfect process, so of course there is debate over whether the decision was correct and whether it should be repealed. But the point is that assuming you’re correct, the system is essentially working as intended. So why is it necessary to bash anyone who disagrees with you?

            And is it so ridiculous to imagine that they might have a point, and that there might be some validity to the argument that there is a conflict of rights rather than a trampling of them?

          • SandyRavage

            What are you even talking about? Your paragraph about human history has nothing to do with what I’m saying, and your hypothetical about Ancient Athens is ridiculous: have I actually said anything that implies that things which are “universally permitted and promoted” are therefore “natural rights”?

            You said, for reasons that are mystifying to me, that because “The fact that the former opinion is nigh ubiquitous while the latter opinion is extremely controversial does in fact prove my point.” In the Ancient world, the opinion that there was no right to life for babies at all was nigh ubiquitous.

            So why is it necessary to bash anyone who disagrees with you?

            Because stupid opinions ought to be corrected.

            And is it so ridiculous to imagine that they might have a point

            Yes.

          • Kyle Strand

            I didn’t mean for that point to by mystifying; sorry if I’ve been unclear. I’m just trying to say that it’s more generally/popularly/widely agreed that genocide is a moral atrocity than it is generally agreed that prohibitions against abortion are moral atrocities, and that therefore it’s “clearer” (i.e. it’s easier for more people to understand) that genocide is wrong than it is that abortion is wrong. You’re correct, of course, that ubiquity of opinion does not make that opinion correct, but that doesn’t actually contradict my point. Of course different cultures have different ideas of what is “obviously” wrong; but within most modern cultures, you’ll find far more opposition to genocide than to such prohibitions. At best, the example of Athenians committing frequent infanticide shows that to the Athenians, it was not clear that infants had a right to life. Similarly, in our current culture, it is not “obvious” that fetuses have a right to life, any more than it is obvious that they don’t, or that prohibitions against abortion are right, or that prohibitions against abortion are moral necessities. The point is that none of these things are obvious. It is, however, more obvious that genocide is wrong.

            As for “correcting” opinions, do you not realize how close that idea is to criminalizing free speech? You’re at once admitting that you’re too close-minded to even consider others’ opinions and demanding that these opinions be “corrected.”

          • SandyRavage

            The point is that none of these things are obvious. It is, however, more obvious that genocide is wrong.

            To you. It wasn’t obvious to the Germans. Genocide was endemic in Ancient Greece. God demands the extermination of countless peoples in the Bible. And so what if it’s more commonly agreed-upon today that genocide is wrong?

            As for “correcting” opinions, do you not realize The point is that none of these things are obvious. It is, however, more obvious that genocide is wrong.The point is that none of these things are obvious. It is, however, more obvious that genocide is wrong.how close that idea is to criminalizing free speech?

            It’s not similar at all. Nobody’s saying you don’t have a right to your own opinion, but you don’t have a right to your own facts.

          • SandyRavage

            To reiterate: I am saying that it is more obvious that genocide is wrong than that abortion is wrong.

            Again, speak for yourself. It wasn’t obvious in Germany, or Ancient Greece, or in parts of Africa and Asia today.

            “failing to make a compelling argument” is not reason enough to be excluded from the political process.

            It damned well is when it comes to making laws about what people can do with their bodies.

          • Kyle Strand

            Look at what you’re saying. You’re accepting that the Church believes something to be murder, but rejecting the legitimacy of their efforts to treat it as such. That is completely irrational.

          • SandyRavage

            What’s irrational is trying to hijack the government to support your religious views. The church can believe what it wants. But we have a separation between church and state for a reason.

          • Kyle Strand

            In what way is the Church trying to “hijack” the government? In what way is it breaching the separation between church and state? (I don’t mean those as rhetorical questions; if you have examples of the Church trying to circumvent due process, democracy, etc, please share them.)

          • SandyRavage

            Catholic doctrines holds that a fetus has a soul, and thus its life must be protected at the expense of a woman’s constitutional right to her own body. It has no basis for this other than theology. And weren’t you just trying to say that it was acceptable for the Christians to legislate based on theology?

          • Kyle Strand

            The Catholic Church can believe whatever it wants, on whatever basis, and advocate whatever laws it deems just, without “hijacking” the government. “Hijacking” implies trying to circumvent Constitutional procedure, which is not something the Church is doing. If the Church is successful in legislating abortion out of existence (and I highly doubt that it will be), then it will succeed via the standard democratic legislative means. (For the record: there is no “constitutional right to [one's] own body”; that’s presumably a natural right, not a legislated one, but in this case it is in conflict with another perceived natural right, i.e., the right to life of the fetus; hence, the entire conflict.)

            And while I don’t think I specifically said that, yes, if the democratically elected legislators are Christians, then they are obligated both to represent their constituents and to follow their consciences, which may be partly guided by theology (which, again, is merely philosophy that happens to embrace rather than reject the idea of God). How could it possibly be otherwise?

          • SandyRavage

            (For the record: there is no “constitutional right to [one's] own body”; that’s presumably a natural right, not a legislated one, but in this case it is in conflict with another perceived natural right, i.e., the right to life of the fetus; hence, the entire conflict.)

            Don’t talk about things you know nothing about. Don’t respond to me until you read both the holding of Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey.

          • Kyle Strand

            Natural rights are protected by the Constitution. My point in saying that the right to one’s own body is not a Constitutional right is merely to emphasize that it is not an explicitly enumerated right within the Bill of Rights or elsewhere; rather, it is an implied right, understood philosophically and morally rather than purely legalistically.

          • SandyRavage

            Natural rights are protected by the Constitution.

            And there you go pulling shit out of your ass again.Give me a source for this claim

          • Kyle Strand

            Ninth amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

            More philosophically, take Federalist No. 84, the crux of which is that the Constitution ought to be taken as a system for restraining the government from usurping (natural) rights by specifying that it can only be endowed with a very limited set of powers and responsibilities. (Well, it was a good idea…)

          • SandyRavage

            I don’t see a word about “natural rights” in the only text from the Constitution that you linked.

          • Kyle Strand

            So what do you think the “other rights” are, then? Or rather, do you think that “other rights” completely fails to include natural rights?

          • Kyle Strand

            Why would you be so pedantic about that, when (1) even a passing familiarity with some of the Lockean principles that inspired the Founders makes clear the association between the philosophical idea of “natural rights” and the text of the 9th Amendment, and (2) your phrase of “her own body” (or even just “own body”) doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution (and yet it’s a “constitutional right”), the Amendments, or either of the court cases you mentioned? Obviously I’m not going to object that the court cases don’t actually promote a right to one’s own body; they just don’t happen to do so using that exact phrase. But because it’s still quite clear what the intent is, there’s no point in arguing about the exact phrasing.

            (In fact, Roe comes fairly close to this phrasing, but in the negative, asserting that such a right is not absolute: “In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court’s decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past.”)

            (Also, note that Roe explicitly avoids making a conclusive statement on the matter of whether the fetus can be considered to have a right to life: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment….[the evidence of various previous court cases, etc] persuades us that the word “person,” as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn….This conclusion, however, does not of itself fully answer the contentions raised by Texas, and we pass on to other considerations.”)

          • SandyRavage

            Why would you be so pedantic about that, when (1) even a passing familiarity with some of the Lockean principles that inspired the Founders makes clear the association between the philosophical idea of “natural rights” and the text of the 9th Amendment,

            The extent of Locke’s impact on the Constitution is debatable. Plenty of people have argued that he actually had a minuscule impact on it,as Jefferson did not write the Constitution.

            the evidence of various previous court cases, etc] persuades us that the word “person,” as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.

            Did you not read this part when you quoted it?

          • Kyle Strand

            Just because Locke’s influence may be overestimated by some doesn’t give you leeway to ignore the connection and act as though it’s ridiculous to interpret “other rights” to include natural rights. You also still haven’t explained what “other rights” actually means if it doesn’t include natural rights.

            And yes, I realize that they stated that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t apply to the unborn; but as I said, they don’t conclusively state that a right to life doesn’t exist for the fetus–they just state that it’s not found in the Fourteenth Amendment.

          • SandyRavage

            it’s ridiculous to interpret “other rights” to include natural rights. You also still haven’t explained what “other rights” actually means if it doesn’t include natural rights.

            Shifting the burden of proof.

            And yes, I realize that they stated that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t apply to the unborn; but as I said, they don’t conclusively state that a right to life doesn’t exist for the fetus–they just state that it’s not found in the Fourteenth Amendment.

            And that’s appealing to ignorance.

          • Kyle Strand

            I really do want to know what (in your opinion) the rights referred to in the 9th Amendment are, if they are not natural rights. I’m not interested in any “burden of proof” or even in convincing you that I’m correct; I just want to know what you think (or know) the founders meant.

          • SandyRavage

            The Framers didn’t mean any rights in particular. They just wanted to ensure that if there did exist any other rights beyond those in the Constitution, that those rights would not be invalidated by omission. The text is completely agnostic on whether those rights exist or not. The 9th Amendment does not provide any rights at all, it only allows for their possible existence.

          • Kyle Strand

            I’m sorry, I’m not quite clear on what you’re saying here; by “doesn’t provide any rights,” do you mean that the 9th Amendment doesn’t protect any particular rights? Moreover, are you trying to say that the generalization of “other rights” (which, as you correctly point out, are not particular rights simply by virtue of the fact that no particular rights are explicitly listed in the text) does not (i.e. cannot) include natural rights, or something less absolute? Are you just pointing out that the text in isolation does not provide evidence that natural rights exist?

            In any case, even though you object to my use of the term “natural rights,” would you still disagree with my original point if I were to rephrase it to avoid using the term, as follows?

            Original: “[T]here is no ‘constitutional right to [one's] own body’; that’s presumably a natural right, not a legislated one…[and since] natural rights are protected by the Constitution…it [the right to one's own body] is an implied right, understood philosophically and morally rather than purely legalistically.”

            Rephrased: The “right to one’s own body” is only “Constitutional” in the sense that the government’s duty to protect it is (presumably) implied rather than explicit, since it is nowhere present in the text of the Constitution itself or in the Amendments.

          • SandyRavage

            I’m sorry, I’m not quite clear on what you’re saying here; by “doesn’t provide any rights,” do you mean that the 9th Amendment doesn’t protect any particular rights? Moreover, are you trying to say that the generalization of “other rights” (which, as you correctly point out, are not particular rights simply by virtue of the fact that no particular rights are explicitly listed in the text) does not (i.e. cannot) include natural rights, or something less absolute?

            It has nothing whatsoever to do with natural rights. There may be such a thing as natural rights and there may not be. The 9th Amendment has nothing to do whatsoever with any claim either way. The fact that you tried to use it as a legal defense of natural rights is mind-boggling.

            Also your analogy fails completely because the right to one’s own body follows naturally from the explicitly given rights in the Constitution. The belief in the natural rights of every human from the moment of conception onwards does not.

          • Kyle Strand

            Would you please just answer my specific questions? If I haven’t made this obvious enough by not responding to or in any way trying to contradict or rebut any of the last several points that you’ve made, I have no interest in continuing this argument, let alone “winning” it, which I suppose means that you “win,” if you’d like to call it that. All I want now is to understand what you’re saying the 9th Amendment does and does not say, and simply repeating over and over how wrong you think I was to mention natural rights doesn’t help me understand that. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you think I’m extremely ignorant on all these topics; would you mind taking the opportunity, then, to help me become somewhat less ignorant by explaining exactly what is meant by the 9th Amendment, since my conception of it is so off-base?

            Also, I’m not sure what part of what I’ve said you’re referring to as an “analogy.” Are you talking about something in my last post, or in a different one?

          • SandyRavage

            You’ve made it abundantly clear that you think I’m extremely ignorant on all these topics; would you mind taking the opportunity, then, to help me become somewhat less ignorant by explaining exactly what is meant by the 9th Amendment, since my conception of it is so off-base?

            You’re ignorant of what I’ve already said as well then. As I just explained it to you.

          • Kyle Strand

            Yes, but I had questions about that explanation, which for some reason you haven’t answered. What is your conversational goal here? Are you just trying to insult me now? Are you still hoping to convince me of something and just not realizing that your abrasive tone isn’t helping with that?

          • SandyRavage

            My abrasive tone has convinced you to stop arguing, according to you. If I can only take it further and convince you from ever trying to argue online ever again I’ll be set. And your specific questions follow from false assumptions. I pointed that out already. The 9th Amendment has nothing to do with natural rights, period. Any question involving natural rights and the 9th amendment comes from you wanting to shoehorn them into the discussion. That’s called begging the question.

          • Kyle Strand

            I think you may have misunderstood. I said I have no interest in continuing this argument, not that you’ve “convinced” me of anything, which, frankly, you haven’t (and, of course, your demeanor isn’t helping). So if your only goal is to stop my from arguing online entirely, you simply won’t succeed; to accomplish that, you would need to convince me that every single person I’ll encounter online will be as closed-minded and unpleasant as you have been (which, from my experience, is not actually the case). My decision to abandon our original argument in favor of this weird meta-argument was based entirely on my recognition that you had no interest in what I had to say, not on any realization that I’m as uninformed as you say or that you’ve adequately rebutted my arguments. The only reason I’m still responding to you at all is because, again, I’m actually genuinely interested in what you’re trying to say here, but I still think you’ve been less clear than you realize and am therefore attempting to get you to clarify your arguments a bit.

            As for your refusal to answer my questions because they’re predicated on false assumptions, that doesn’t make much sense, since the only “false assumption” you think I’ve made is that the “other rights” in the 9th Amendment refers to natural rights, but my last (and most important) question was whether you’d agree with my original statement if I rephrased it to leave out “natural rights” entirely, thus circumventing entirely the issue of whether the founders intended the idea of natural rights to be read into the 9th Amendment.

            (As an aside, I didn’t “shoehorn” natural rights into a discussion about the 9th Amendment; I brought the 9th Amendment into a discussion about natural rights and the Constitution. That’s not begging the question, that’s providing evidence for an argument. Yes, you rejected the evidence, but that makes my use of it, if anything, erroneous, not logically fallacious.)

          • SandyRavage

            but that makes my use of it, if anything, erroneous, not logically fallacious.)

            Saying that the 9th Amendment was about natural rights was erroneous, asking me what else it would be about(shifting the burden of proof) was a fallacy.

            but my last (and most important) question was whether you’d agree with my original statement if I rephrased it to leave out “natural rights” entirely, thus circumventing entirely the issue of whether the founders intended the idea of natural rights to be read into the 9th Amendment.

            Yeah, I don’t care. Instead of asking me irrelevant questions,defend your argument.

          • Kyle Strand

            I wasn’t shifting the burden of proof; I was asking because, as I’ve said several times now, I just wanted to know what you thought. That’s it. It would have been shifting the burden of proof to say “since you can’t think of anything else ‘other rights’ could refer to, that must mean that they mean ‘natural rights.’” But I didn’t say that, nor was I trying to imply it. Asking a question out of curiosity isn’t a logical fallacy; it’s not even an argument, so it categorically can’t be fallacious.

            And there’s no reason to defend my argument because you’re not willing to listen to it. So instead of wasting my time trying to get you to actually participate in a reasoned discussion, I decided to try to at least learn something from this discussion (if possible) by asking you about the things I was unclear on, under the assumption that you’d be happy to oblige and with the hope that you’ve actually got something valuable to say. But instead, you’ve just avoided giving me straight answers and tried your best to belittle me, and I honestly have no idea why. If you want to lecture me on your interpretation of the Constitution and the nature of the various rights involved in the abortion debate, feel free; I’ll read whatever you have to say. But if you’re just going to keep trying to get be back in the argument, then we’re done here. Sorry.

          • SandyRavage

            I was asking because, as I’ve said several times now, I just wanted to know what you thought. That’s it.

            Well too bad. I’m sticking to the actual topic of the discussion.

  • Nola

    This post makes a tight case, but needs to add the critical role adoption plays in healing the pain of infertility. I am an adoptive mother because I could not be a biological mother. Adoption, which although very expensive, is no more expensive than typical IVF, and has a far higher success rate; unlike IVF, adoption heals two situations at once–for the already-existing child in need and for the longing couple. The critical moral difference in IVF and adoption is that adoption creates a family for the child, who indeed has a right to a family, whereas IVF creates a child for the family, who can never claim a “right” to a child because a child is never something except a gift.

    • Robert

      I’m honestly wondering as a Catholic.. Should gay couples be allowed to adopt if that child would otherwise have no parental influence whatsoever?

  • Beccolina

    I just want to mention, in case it helps someone, that there is a lot of information out there about how infertility and subfertility are connected to nutrition and how the lack of certain essential vitamins or minerals can cause infertility. It’s not a cure all for the different reasons for infertility, but I know one couple personally who could not conceive until they addressed nutritional deficiencies in both their diets. It’s worth researching and trying if you’re struggling to conceive.

  • nanomanoman

    The thing is, I could just as easily imagine you writing a clever, self-satisfied article on Why The Inquisition Has To Burn Heretics (For Their Own Good).

    There seems to be a Puritan strain in Anglo Saxon Catholicism that delights in finger-wagging and “I told you so’s” gazing down upon the less than perfect (ie sinners) from its lofty heights. A kind of “competitive Catholicism”, which suits the US in particular very well, but doesn’t seem much like actual Christianity.

    Of course it is sensible to have reservations about IVF. After all, who wants a Star Wars-like clone army? But at the other end of the scale are loving, married couples who for medical reasons may not be able to conceive and whose plight, albeit with your ya-de-ya genuflections toward compassion, you blithely belittle.

    Who says Man should have the power over life and death? Indeed. Remember that the next time science intervenes to save the life of a loved one. But that’s different I suppose, according to the small-print written by men who by definition can have no experience of family or yearning for a child. Oh the freedom to live in a world with such moral certainty (and superiority, in all “humbleness”). But God is vastly more complicated than that.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Beautifully written piece.
    I am saddened that you did not mention adoption as the most obvious option to IVF in addressing the yearning to pass one’s marital bonds and values onto a child. It seems acts of narcissism and tribalism to insist on protecting and guiding only one’s own genetics. As long as there is one uncherished child on the planet, there is no morally acceptable reason for IVF.

  • jcon526

    Respectfully, it’s like you have more of a heart for embryos than living, breathing people.

    I have a co-worker who opted with his wife to have a daughter via IVF. Would you take the time to argue with them that she was a mistake? If they were Catholic, would you tell them that could not take communion?

    If you believe in a supernatural God and vote against IVF, yet have no God-infused, spiritual power or faith to divinely give children to infertile couples, like the God of the Bible does, your religious arguments are nothing more than Pharisaical demands, which insist on accusing rather than extending the grace that Jesus preached.

    Furthermore, for every finger that the church points at the world for contributing to mentally/emotionally disturbed people, there are a myriad of fingers pointing back to the church.

    Every time the church has laid a burden on people for highly intricate moral reasons, every time that a church leader has wrongfully excoriated a parishioner, every time a church leader has said to obey some doctrine or “you’re going to hell”, and every time a church leader has abused a member of the flock and gotten away with it, it arguably and woefully produces droves of emotional and mentally disturbed people.

  • Conflicted

    How do you react to a family who has conceived through IVF? I know a few Catholic families who are pregnant because of IVF, and I feel strange about being happy in their pregnancy. What should I do?

    • Newp Ort

      1 share their joy
      2 GENTLY ask how they squared decision with church. listen, don’t argue. if they don’t know church teaching on IVF, help them to resources to explain

      possible outcomes of 2: sin repented not repeated. loving and good to aid this. might even be duty, consult conscience. also could lose friend, cause resentment, more assurance theyve done no wrong cuz hurt pride n shame. u r telling them child and family possible thru grave evil.consider chance of good outcome, maybe stop at . good1luck, you’ll need it.

    • DoctorDJ

      Grow up. It’s none of your business.

  • IVFmama

    And this is why I do not respect anyone’s opinion that chooses to throw Bible verses at me. I cannot physically have children because I do not have functioning Fallopian tubes. Being told that I cannot go through IVF just because of the above reasons is ludicrous. I try to see the other sides of the arguments and then I realize that I do not care what others think. I WILL HAVE A CHILD whether your God likes it or not. I’m getting my embryos transferred on Wednesday, by the way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-J-Loveless/100000216363826 Patrick J Loveless

      I don’t recall seeing so much as one Bible verse up there.

      Use your head. What if the child has cleft palate, or Downs Syndrome, or is the wrong gender or whatever?

      What if you get too many?

      Do you not see that you are taking innocent lives into your hands that you don’t have the right to?

  • Colleen Sullivan

    I commend your citing your sources and having hyperlinks for them. You probably do that routinely, but it is nice when there are some actual studies cited and not just unsubstantiated opinion or emotion . . . and that is so thick on this topic. I don’t know how someone lacking trust in God and acceptance of daily cross, and this is a painful one, could accept the Church’s teaching and not pursue IVF. The mutual self-giving may have been present much more so than in a fertile couple, however, prior to when a couple pursues ART. Italy does have a model where they weill only fertilize the number of eggs that will be transferred, and this can at most be 3. Reductive abortions are outlawed. The result is a high incidence of triplets. I know someone that would only transfer 1. Still the American practice is to fertilize all available eggs and then freeze and pick the blastocysts with the highest quality. Thus science picking who gets the chance and who stays frozen. Someone that

  • Steven

    Love has nothing to do with conception, which is a purely mechanical act of sperm meeting ovum.

    Love may create and nurture the bond between two individuals that encourages them to cooperate for the purposes of rearing any children they may produce or otherwise become responsible for. But love doesn’t create children. Insemination creates children, and insemination is not the same as love.

    This is the one true reality of human reproduction that no amount of religious philosophizing can get around. No love is required to make a child. God, if he exists, designed conception as a purely mechanical act. So whether it takes place inside a married (or unmarried, for that matter) woman’s body, or in a test tube, or a Petri dish, or wherever, in no way changes its essential nature. Sperm meets ovum and that’s all that matters. Whether it gets there under its own steam or hitches a ride in a syringe, a turkey baster, or any other type of conveyance, is entirely beside the point. The man who produced the sperm may feel love, or hate, or utter indifference for the woman who produced the ovum its aiming for, but that won’t alter the outcome of their meeting.

    Maybe the Church should ask itself why God ordered things this way before sounding off about the rights and wrongs of innovative methods of conception. If it can happen, it will. Isn’t that how God wants it?

  • Catholic Parents

    I won’t expect the commentors below to suddenly change their mind, to be empathetic or to care beyond their what they judge to be true – but I thank God daily for our children who were born to us by the blessing that is IVF. It was not a decision made lightly or quickly. They were desired in love, conceived in love and they were born in love and they are being raised in love. Unless someone cruelly tells them that some other people don’t consider them real people or worse, soul-less, they will never know how God intervened to guide a doctor and help their mommy and daddy to conceive them. To us it is as irrelevant as the sexual position most other couples engage in when conception takes place. I don’t ask them and I won’t volunteer ours.

  • Abby

    What about the fact that since artificial fertilization is a non foolproof procedure, several zygotes (humans) are actually created to make sure at least one of them “takes” and the rest are frozen for later or if multiple ones “take” they do a reduction (aka abortion)? Or is this another thing I’m mistaking it for? Not an expert on this sorry.

  • pincushion

    My husband and I are Catholic and chose IVF. For the first couple years of our marriage I faithfully took my BBT daily and charted my cycle, following NFP. Then when we were financially ready to have kids, I kept charting and we tried. Failed cycle after failed cycle until finally we had to admit there was something wrong. We eventually found out that my husband had a sperm count of 0 (this took a while since I was so sure the problem was me; my parents had a difficult time). Genetic testing on him showed no reason for it. We tried fertility drugs, herbal supplements recommended by our priest – nothing.

    We decided we couldn’t live with ourselves if we didn’t at least go in for an IVF consult. While there, we asked whether or not IVF could be done in a way that didn’t dispose of any embryos. We found out that yes it can. They can limit the number of eggs you attempt to fertilize to any amount (in our case we planned on 2). You can chose to implant any egg where any cell division occurs, even if it looks like that cell division has stopped and there is no chance of survival. Also, the study mentioned in this article that says the risk of birth defects increases is flawed. It does not take into consideration things like maternal age. Other studies have shown no statistical significant increase when fresh eggs are used and factors like this are controlled.

    We decided that although our chances were almost 0, we would try. We were satisfied that we were not disposing of life (or needlessly risking it by attempting more than twins), and that we both didn’t agree with the Church that love was taken out of the act of making a child by this method. My husband endured an excruciating surgery to retrieve a dozen sperm. No sperm were seen moving when they were retrieved or frozen. The doctor strongly recommended donor sperm backup, which we declined. Thinking that now for sure we had 0 chance, I still opted to go through the egg retrieval and injections myself to continue on with the IVF. Both of us made sacrifices in our attempt, and I felt that those sacrifices were as loving toward each other and as unifying, if not more so than sex (which as a loving husband and wife, we were still having).

    When the sperm was thawed, they found one moving sperm. They did ICSI and implanted the beautiful bunch of cells that became our sweet healthy baby boy. He is the light of our life and we are truly blessed to have him. He certainly is not “owned” by my husband or myself. He is a child of God first, and we are just parents who were given the incredible gift of caring for him.

    • CatholicCat

      Pincushion,

      First let me say that I am sure you and your husband love your son with all of your heart, and are thankful for him. That being said, I do have few points/questions, not meant to be personal attacks, but from a genuinely curious person.

      1.You wrote, “We decided we couldn’t live with ourselves if we didn’t at least go in for an IVF consult.” May I ask, did you consider adoption at all, and if not, why not?

      2. You wrote “They did ICSI and implanted the beautiful bunch of cells that became our sweet healthy baby boy.” Forgive me, but if you believe the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception, then the “bunch of cells” didn’t “become” your baby boy, your baby boy WAS that clump of cells, just as well all began life as a clump of cells.
      Perhaps it wasn’t ment the way it was written, but it struck me because the “clump of cells” term is used so often when justifying abortion early in pregnancy.

      Once again, I do not mean any disrespect, I am trying to better understand opposing viewpoints.

      • pincushion

        We absolutely considered adoption. But adoption is not as easy as many believe it to be. Friends of ours shelled out thousands of dollars for chance to adopt a baby, with no guarantee that they would not lose their money. I contacted several agencies, but the cost is enormous for a closed adoption (IVF was mostly covered by our insurance and those that say if you don’t have the money for it you can’t have the money to raise a child are wrong- there are lots of people who provide very well for their kids without having $20,000 in a bank account before conceiving). Open adoption was not something we were comfortable with and still was very expensive. Adopting from foster care was something else we looked into, but it is not an easy undertaking. Children in foster care often have needs that cannot be met by many families.

        I used the phrase beautiful bunch of cells because I was reflecting on how awesome it was to watch the implantation live and how special it is for me to have a picture of my son when he was that small. I did not mean to imply that he was not a human being when he was that tiny. At that point he was physically a genderless group of cells – I do not mean that in a negative way at all, rather from a standpoint that it is amazing. I believe life begins at conception, and have prayed in front of abortion clinics and gone to the March for Life. This is why we were so concerned about not disposing any embryos.

        I don’t intend on converting anyone to believe that IVF is the right thing to do, I certainly agree that it can be done carelessly. My only intention was to point out that it can be done without throwing away life, because I saw a few comments here that said differently or compared it to abortion.

        • pincushion

          *Sorry, the “it” I was referring to in the first parentheses was adoption, not IVF. I wrote half of this while nursing.

          • CatholicCat

            Thank you for your honest answers and understanding. I have heard that adoption, closed adoption, is expensive. I don’t understand why IVF would be mostly covered, but adoption not, or maybe it is and I don’t know? I know a few companies will reimburse some of the fees if you adopt, but I don’t know how common that is. We haven’t looked into it. I also didn’t know that you could choose the amount of eggs you could fertilize- I think many people believe that you have to get a large amount fertilized. I still don’t feel it’s something for us (we already agreed if we want children and can’t have them for any reason, we are perfectly willing to adopt, and my husband is adopted), but thanks you for your answers.

            I wish you and your family all the best.

          • pincushion

            Thanks, all the best to you too!

            There are tax credits for adoption, and although I didn’t run across adoption agencies that will reimburse you some significant amount, I have heard of it.

            We were lucky to get an excellent doctor who respected our beliefs, but doing ivf the way we did might not be something most doctors would want to attempt. Each clinic has to report their success rates to SART and most might not want to take on a patient who wants to reduce the chance of success. Not to mention couples dealing with infertility and especially those with little to no insurance coverage would likely have a hard time with the decision to reduce their chances.

            Another interesting thing is that unused embryos can be donated, and I think a lot of people out there choose to do so because they also don’t want to dispose of any, and because they want to help other couples who are struggling. Not saying this is morally right…just something I was not aware of before this happened to us.

            Another thought from this post…Marc mentions NRT as the Church’s answer to infertility. Before I even got married, I had heard of it. I tried to find more information about it online, but there really wasn’t much. It sounded promising though, and before we knew the issue was my husband, I called them up. I was greatly dissapointed. Even though I had gone to NFP classes before, and even though I had been charting for years, they required you and your spouse to take more of these classes before they would see you. I signed up for the class even though from what I gathered from the instructor, the end result was nothing more than a consult where they would tell me things I already knew and had tried. Let me tell you, when you are going through infertility, you try EVERYTHING. Different timings, instead cups, preseed, propping your butt up, herbs, diets, acupuncture…etc. You do tons of research on your own.

            When we found out that my husband was the problem, there was obviously nothing they could do to help us. I’m wondering if anyone out there knows more about it and could tell me? My impression was that it was unecessary for most couples today as they likely do their own research on the internet, but I never got to the consult, so maybe I’m wrong?

  • Guest

    I have a friend who was conceived via IVF. While I understand the Church’s arguments against the procedure, I can’t forget about my friend. Was she not also created by God in His image? If so, how can IVF be evil? Surly, my friend’s existence is just as good as my existence.

  • Fariba Kanga

    I have a friend who was conceived via IVF. While I understand the Church’s arguments against the procedure, I can’t forget about my friend and her story. Was she not also created by God in His image? If so, how can IVF be evil? Surly, my friend’s existence is just as good as my existence.

  • YR

    This post is one of the most horrible, hurtful and ignorant things I have ever read. My husband and I have 3 beautiful children all born through IVF after 10 years of trying to get pregnant. To say that these beautiful children are the result of sin or that my husband and I did anything sinful to have these children is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I honestly cannot believe that anyone would agree with this if they were actually faced with infertility themselves. I am just shocked that anyone with a brain or heart would believe this shit.

  • Collin237

    The ideas you’re promoting on this blog are Hermetic Vitalistic heresies. They are not religious wisdom. The only reason this blog is even here is because of free speech and affirmative action. You’re just a token.


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