What are our children to us? Are they precious gifts from God or commodities? Do we “have” children or do we “make” them? The practice of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) says that we “make” children and contributes to the attitude that children are property.
IVF is commonly accepted these days. Insurance companies long ago stopped refusing to pay for this “experimental” practice and now readily pay for IVF as just another (albeit expensive) procedure.
We’ve even had IVF children as part of the First Family—the Obama girls are products of the IVF process. However, the Catholic Church has always condemned this practice because humans are being created artificially with little chance at life.
As soon as fertilization occurs, a unique human being exists by the nature of its 23 pairs of chromosomes and its growth that indicates life. A living human is a one-time-only person with innate human rights and dignity. God knows this person.
Despite scientific verification of life beginning at fertilization, our abortion-embracing culture denies the humanity of the unborn child. By doing so, we can treat embryos as entities with no rights; as things that can be owned and used for experimentation.
Deprivation of Rights
Dr. Kent Lasnoski (bioethicist and associate professor of theology at Wyoming Catholic College) wrote that the state of stasis created by IVF “constitutes a grave situation of injustice, captivity, blindness, and oppression.
“The freezer withholds what is due the embryo, its natural maternal habitat and care. The embryo is held as captive either by her own parents or by the clinic itself, as they wait for the proper ransom or for the embryo’s usefulness to run stale.” https://catholicmoraltheology.com/setting-the-captives-free-is-there-precedent-for-embryo-adoption-in-scripture-and-medieval-christian-tradition/
How horrifying that any humans can be deemed “spare” and shelved like excess inventory. Being “brought back to life,” sometimes years or even decades after conception is a modern Frankenstein story.
An article in Pillar by Dr. Charles Camosy (Catholic writer and professor of medical humanities and moral theology) states: “Most Catholics simply don’t realize the scale of evil we have created for ourselves with the fertility industry.”
Camosy explains that there are between 650,000 to over 1,000,000 embryonic persons being kept frozen at IVF facilities across the country. He calls them “enslaved embryos” because they are considered property under law.
“Their owners, biological parents, rent space for them at the fertility clinic. When their generosity runs dry, the clinic either thaws them out as medical waste, or sells them to laboratories for research that ends in death.” https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/no-way-out-what-to-do-about-a-frozen?s=w
In fact, this is the fate of the vast majority of these embryonic persons. Even for those who are thawed, implanted successfully and given birth, the horrors of IVF do not end.
A recent Live Action article by Nancy Flanders reviewed the findings from studies of IVF children. It was revealed that those adult children who know how they were “made” have said that they feel like a “mass-produced” product.
Flanders came to the same conclusion as the ethicists: “The fertility industry is so focused on fulfilling adults’ wishes that babies have become commodities rather than persons.” https://www.liveaction.org/news/couple-sues-fertility-clinic-male-female/?_hsmi=210896844&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_Fe6Ksz-ZpFc_0Zv2eAjOKHy2V316-Wi8lNh1LNiLpte_MOTX5eXH5sGdnWbsENOVxNM9zj1BMFL2nJKC7oTITCWKazg
IVF is a process in which “All parties become blinded to their own dignity and the dignity of the embryo,” Lasnoski warns. Camosy agrees: “Catholics in good conscience ought not to be able to sleep at night without doing something about this grave injustice.”
It has become a recommended practice to refer to “slaves” as “enslaved persons.” The reason is that no people are inherently slaves. Their situation was caused by another person(s) who forced them into slavery, so our wording should reflect that action.
It is therefore very appropriate that Dr. Camosy referred to frozen IVF embryos as “enslaved embryos.” These humans did not choose to be “manufactured” nor to be held in stasis. They certainly did not ask to be created just to be thrown away or dissected.
All of these horrors have been imposed on them by a society that is ironically still trying to grapple with the guilt of a slave system from centuries ago. Yet, at the same time, we have invented a new type of slavery, and this time we are enslaving our own children.
The law sees preborn babies as possessions with no rights. Their owners/parents can have them gestated by a surrogate, aborted for disabilities or abandoned in a freezer compartment. They can even be sold like slaves.
Catholics, whose Church has wisely and valiantly condemned IVF, need to all realize how completely unacceptable this industry is. As we have seen over and over again in science, just because we can do something (like nuclear weapons and euthanasia), that doesn’t mean we should.