Ask CCM Tuesday: IVF

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. My post is going to be delayed as The Dragonfly seems to be coming down with something and I haven’t been able to put her down for the past 2 hours. But I will write… oh, yes… I will.

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OK so it’s over been a week but you know what they say… when it rains, it pours. My house for the past week has been the sick ward and that’s not the best environment for writing. But we seem to be on the mend, so let’s give it a shot. In addition to all of us being sick, I have to admit that I have been kind of dreading writing this one because it will force me to be non-politically correct and I’ll probably tick some people off, but here we go.

IVF, In-vitro Fertilization, is one of those concepts that people don’t really understand why the Church is against. At worst, the Church could be thought of as being contradictory in that she doesn’t want people to choose to continue a pregnancy, nor does she want people to attain a pregnancy with “help.” So, again, what’s the deal here? The Church as a whole is not against all fertility methods. There have been people who have achieved pregnancy by changing their diet, losing weight or by taking fertility shots to increase the number of eggs released each month. Those methods are view as OK because God is still in the equation as the ultimate live-giver. IVF removes God as life-giver and replaces Him with man.

In IVF, sperm and egg are joined together outside of the uterus (could be a petri dish or test tube or even a beaker, although “test tube baby” does have a better ring than “petri dish baby,” I guess) and then the embryo (or embryos as is more common) is placed back into the carrier’s uterus after a few days. In cases of low sperm count or sperm motility, the sperm is physically placed into the ovum by the doctor by a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. To insure success, multiple eggs are fertilized and the embryos that are not needed are frozen for later use… or forever.

So, again, what’s the big deal? Why is the Church getting involved in the private lives of people? And what does the Bible have to say about IVF? I guess you can say that the Church is involved in all of our lives, no matter your denomination. After all, we aren’t going around killing each other… much. Spouses tend to be true to their partners… usually. What the Church is doing is helping us to stay on that right, but narrow path. And as far as the Bible… while there are not explicit bible verses (please remember that Catholicism is not a sola scriptura faith) but look what happened in that Abram, Sarai and Hagar issue. Drama. And then Abraham became the Father of many nations after he put his faith in God. Maybe you are a reader who doesn’t believe in God. Maybe you believe in God but you do not believe that He has a plan for each one of His children. If that is true, then nothing I will say matters but you can keep reading if you want.

This is one of the hardest things I am about to type: Child-bearing is not a right. Children are a gift and not a product to be acquired. IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy have all turned children into an end product, with the focus on the desire of the parents rather than the Will of God. A gift that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. I will admit, for a time, egg donation seemed like a great idea… after all, I am highly educated, tall, not-bad looking, someone could pay high dollar for my eggs and I could pay off my student loans! But, the idea never sat well with me. Maybe it’s the thought of having kids out there that I would not know or raise or maybe it’s because it changes the natural order of things… I don’t know. For every “good” that has come from IVF and related procedures, there are countless “bads:” The Pregnant Man, Octomom, Designer Babies, High-Order Multiples etc, etc. And despite all of this… there are so many kids out there, to adopt, who are waiting for their forever home but for some reason aren’t good enough.

You may be sitting there thinking “You, b*tch. It’s easy for you to wax poetic about how IVF is bad and how I just have to accept my infertility. You have two kids and you had no problem getting them.” True. I had no issues getting pregnant but gifts are not ever equal or fair. My husband gave me a gift of a diamond ring for our engagement. My best friend got a bigger diamond from her husband. Does that mean that her husband loves her more or that she is more valid than me? Because I am able to have children does not make me any better or worse than she who cannot. It is just the Will of God. I won’t pretend to know why and how because it is not my role.

The Sexual Union is the ultimate prayer; it is at once procreative and unitive. It is man and woman giving themselves to each other, completely and totally. (If you’ve seen “Avatar” it really reminds me of the greeting ‘I see you’ by the Na’vi, but I am wandering now.) With the Will of God and by the guiding of His hand, that prayer has the power to give life. If you remove one aspect or another (contraceptives remove the procreative part; IVF removes the unitive part) that prayer is no longer valid and the act of love is missing a part.

We cannot control the paths that our lives take, we cannot control the people who enter into our lives and exit them or when, we are not gods.
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Up Next: Euthanasia. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. But please, keep things respectful and constructive!

Every Tuesday is “Ask CCM Tuesday!” If you have questions about Catholicism, conversion, RCIA, Natural Family Planning, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Frugal Living, Knitting, Crochet, Biology, Forensic Science, Marriage, Parenting, Gentle Discipline, etc., etc., please send me an email at:

CaffeinatedCatholicMama (at) gmail (dot) com

In your email, please include your first name and your location and let me know if you want your name withheld when I answer your question on the blog.

Pax Christi!

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8 Comments

Filed under Catholic, Tuesday

8 responses to “Ask CCM Tuesday: IVF

  1. Laura

    Long delay 😉

  2. Holly

    You have such a gift for writing. Just wanted to say that. I love reading your posts.

  3. Successful IVF is a bit hit and miss. My partner and I have been trying for a long time, still with no success. Anyway we still haven’t given up hope.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing your struggles. That is a great point to make, that IVF is not a guarantee which, for me, adds another difficult layer to the whole conundrum. I don’t know if adoption is an option for you and your partner, but there are babies and kids out there who need a loving home.

      Pax Christi!
      Karianna

  4. Lori

    You make great points and are so eloquent. I just have to add a plug for the Pope Paul VI Institute for all of those couples who are struggling with infertility. Here’s the link: http://www.popepaulvi.com/about2.html
    I was blessed to hear Dr. Hilgers at the Respect Life Convention, and learned that they are doing some absolutely amazing things there for women with infertility problems – all in following the Church’s teachings.

  5. I just stumbled across your blog today and wanted to say that I am enjoying reading your posts! I am also a devout Catholic who mothers through breastfeeding, and I am always happy to find others out there who have similarities! In many groups of people who parent the way I do, unfortunately, there is a completely opposite view on life issues such as this one.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! Glad you found me and I am hoping to find some time to write more. I haven’t been inspired much lately, but I figure with Lent coming up, I’ll have some recipes to post!

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