Friend had IVF, happy for her but not happy for her?

So a friend of mine who’s been married for the last 5 years and has been trying to conceive for the last two called me today to tell me she’s 4 1/2 months pregnant with a little boy. At first I was very happy for her, but then she went on to tell me she had IVF, and how “lucky” they were that they had a good “harvest” the fist time and two “viable” embryos, and one of them is still frozen.

While I’m very happy about the new life, and as much as I wanted to congratulate her, I really had a tough time being super excited knowing how wrong IVF is to the dignity of life.

I’m a little confused on how to handle this on a personal level. I would never want to tell her I felt what she did was “wrong”, or let her feel like I don’t love her or her child as much as I always have, but at the same time, I don’t want to be too affirming of what she’s done, and likely will do again, either.

Just pray for her and her baby. Tell her you are happy for her. Let her know her baby is a blessing from God. The Church says the IVF procedure is wrong, not the children that result from it. That baby is every bit a blessing and worthy of excitement, joy, love and life as everyone else is. Unless you want to point out every sin a person commits than this one should also not be pointed out. We all do sinful things, especially out of desperation. Let God deal with that and just enjoy the little one He is sending your way. Saying I’m happy for you and can’t wait to meet your little one is in no way encouraging her sin. The sin is over and done with (pregnancy and motherhood are not sins). And I for one hope she does decide to go through IVF again since she has at least one frozen embryo. That little one also deserves the chance to have a happy birthday someday

I am not catholic but totally agree with this response. Be happy for your friend now. Babies are a blessing regardless of their beginning.

Well said. Share in her joy.


Is she even Catholic? When I told some of my family that I have fertility issues, that was their go to solution. They are all protestant and I had to explain to them that I can’t do that. They had no clue and some still don’t “get it,” even being devout in their faith.

I would pray that she has a healthy baby. It would be devastating to her to go through what she has for it to end in death. And be a good friend, treat this baby like any little bundle of blessing.

If your friend is a Catholic, I feel that you have a duty to explain, gently, the seriousness of the subject of a second frozen embryo. Unfortunately, if you’re friend is not a Catholic or does not have a similar view you may be met with resistance if you decide to broach the topic anyway.

Be happy for the gift of this new life though and pray for the family.

There may be conditions which reduce culpability. Immense social pressure, previous child-bearing problems, need for cord-blood for a relative, lack of young children in a parent’s family, difficulties in finding a child to adopt, ignorance of teachings of Catholic Church, etc. May be best to not judge.

Sorry to jump in here, but I think it is necessary:

IVF means “in-vitro fertilization,” which is the process by which an ovum (or several ova) is fertilized in the laboratory, so as to produce an embryo (or, as in the usual practice, more than one).

So, no, we would rather that the O.P.’s friend not go through with another IVF, as this practice is immoral.

What would be good to do is pray that she go ahead and have the second embryo implanted before it becomes nonviable. (Indeed, she now has a grave duty to do so, if that is at all possible.)

Don’t forget to pray for the frozen embryo, who is also a human being.

I will keep your friend and her children in my prayers.

It depends on how close a friend this is. Is she someone who you discuss life issues and morality with? Is she a close Catholic friend? Does she look at you as someone who is respected and informed on spiritual and moral matters?
If not, just be happy for the baby and not the sin of the way the baby came about. Perhaps like you would be to an unmarried couple.

What a joy to bring a much wanted new life into our world! Congratulate your friend and totally “forget” that you do not agree with IVF. Unless someone has been in the situation of desperately wanting a family but having fertility issues, you can not imagine the pain and feeling of failure. Life is not fair, but watching loads of sixteen year olds get pregnant without “trying” is a slap in the face to those adults who struggle to do everything right in order to become parents. My dear daughter is 30 and has stage 4 Endometriosis. She has had two surgeries to remove endos and to try and save her tubes. If, she and her wonderful future husband need to use IVF in order to have a family, I will support them to the fullest and be happy that we live in a time when this is possible.:slight_smile:

So sin is ok on life issues if you want something bad enough?

It’s one of those issues that is can be looked at in different manners. The Church teaches that bringing new life into the world should be our main focus during our childbearing years, yet then they put “rules” into the equation that would not let a couple have access to modern medical technology. When these rubrics were developed, there was no inkling that such a procedure would even be possible. I was lucky, getting pregnant was never a problem, but it is a huge problem for many couples. IVF, according to my research, is not an easy or pain free protocol, nor is it inexpensive. There is a great commitment by both the man and woman who are undergoing this procedure. The Church’s position on IVF is that since the procedure does not come 100% from having sex then it is not legal in the eyes of God runs straight into other issues that no one could have foreseen 2000 years ago. Luckily, I never had to grapple with the choice of using IVF to have a family, and I would never tell another person that their choice to use IVF is immoral. :shrug:

You’re in a difficult position. Have you talked with your spiritual director about this? I think you should, for your own sake.

One of my close friends, who was raised Catholic but hasn’t practiced since leaving the family home, has been undergoing IVF. In her first round, 17 embryos were created in vitro; 16 died and 1 blastocyst is in a freezer. She and her husband have already lost at least 16 children! The failure rate of IVF is sufficiently high that the loss of at least one embryo per round is effectively inevitable. That’s unconscionable!

When my friend first began the IVF process, she asked my opinion. I said that, as a Catholic, I believe that IVF isn’t permissible, even if there was a guarantee of no loss of life. I acknowledged that I could only imagine the pain of not being able to naturally conceive a child and felt tremendous sympathy for her, as she has always dreamed of having a large biological family. I also spoke of how hard it would be to struggle with the Church’s teaching if I were in her place.

Family is, understandably, constantly on my friend’s mind, and she shares her updates with me when we get together. I struggle to provide the appropriate support for her, and have attempted to separate support for the cross of infertility from encouraging or condoning IVF. The latter I cannot do. That she and her husband are unable to have a child is sad, and I can share in that with her. I pray every day that she and her husband will adopt instead of pursuing IVF. They are deeply hurting at the inability to conceive their own child and their (understandable) sense of personal loss is clouding their moral judgment. Good people do some horrible things when in pain, and I want to be a lifeline to the Church for my friend.

I don’t know what the most ethical answer is to the situation of your friend having a frozen embryo. I’m not a bioethicist. I do know that the parental desire to have a child doesn’t trump a child’s right to a) life and b) natural conception. A child is a unique person created by God from conception and, as such, does not deserve to be reduced to the object of parental desire, no matter how seemingly altruistic that desire is.

You are in my prayers, as are all of your friend’s children.

I think the Church’s theology is solid behind it. I’m glad you would not tell another person their choice was immoral, it is probably best that you would keep your opinion to yourself especially since your opinion seems to contradict The Church.

Prudence, love, gentleness, truth, being careful to not show support or approval of what they choose to do…

…love the friend and baby…

It’s interesting how folks are so happy about the one, yet don’t think of the other 16 as ‘their children’.

To the OP, it’s a tough situation. Try to celebrate the new life. God promised that when a sperm and egg meet, He will create a soul. (He may prefer they meet one way, but will still create a soul if they meet in another way!) :stuck_out_tongue:

I think God a little more than “prefers” one way over all the others…

I think “prefer” is putting it a little too mildly. Especially when He FORBIDS it through His Church.

So, when you see a a group of children playing, how do you differentiate the few who were conceived in a physicians office and not in the bedroom? We know for sure that the child born from IVF is WANTED and was not a result of failed contraception or natural family planning. I’m not speaking about the kerfuffle that is taking place in Hollywood right now where an actress is not letting her former partner have custody of the two embryos, I’m speaking about everyday Humans. What will you do if the Church actually changes one of the written-in-stone, social dogmas? There’s a possibility that hopefully the rules regarding annulment will be relaxed. Will you believe that the new dogma is authentic? We live in times that are changing quicker than Bob Dylan ever imagined and the Church is changing too. :shrug:

The Church opposes IVF for the same reason that it opposes contraception: the separation of the unitive from the procreative. It is the untive action of conjugal relations which can result in procreation. It is wrong to separate the two, in either direction.

The manufacture of children in a petri dish is an ongoing experiment; the results and ramifications will be unknown for many decades. What may be a sad but foreseeable result is that many children so conceived, once they learn the circumstances of their conception will see themselves as products—perhaps expensive products—rather than persons. IVF children might further be saddened to realize that they lost brothers and sisters in the very process of their creation. Children of surrogacy are already experiencing some of this. One of them bitterly complained that “I feel like I was bought and paid for.”

So are you saying that these people might wish that they had never been conceived if they find out it happened through IVF? Surely existing is better than not existing.

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