IVF

Hello all, me again with another question :o

I am struggling with the concept of no artificial birth control however I can at least see the arguments in both sides I the equation with that one.

However I have just realised that the Catholic Church is against IVF…could one of you lovely lot explain this to me please? I cant think of why its a bad thing…allowing someone who cant conceive to have a child. Of course I know parents who have children via IVF and personally I don’t think they should have children but that’s not for me to judge or a reason to ban IVF.

Also is be come across a story of a couple of conceived children through NaPro (???) what’s that? They made it sound like it was a catholic concept.

As always thanks

I hope this might help in regards to your question on IVF. I’m unfamiliar with NaPro though.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is rejected by the Church mainly because in order for it to work the technicians fertilize many eggs, therefore they end up having many viable embrios. From which the must select one.
Then they freeze the unwanted embrios or perhaps even destroy them after the procedure is deemed succesfull.
The paramount importance of life and all the rights that, that embrio have as the result of having been conceived are of no concern for the IVF crowd.
No matter what the method. It all comes back to that.
Also bear in mind that the semen needed is “harvested” via masturbation which in itself is a mortal sin.

Natural Family Planning on the other hand is, using what Nature (GOD) has given us to help us with the age old questions of family. Perhaps this website might help some:

naprotechnology.com/

Let me take your last question first. Are you familiar with NFP (Natural Family Planning)? While NFP is often thought of as a means to prevent pregnancy without resorting to contraception, it is also a means to help a couple conceive a child. NaPro is a form of NFP which uses a woman’'s cycles to increase the chances of pregnancy. (That’s a very simplified explanation).

As for IVF, there are several problems. IMHO, the first is that it treats a child as an acquisition, something that a couple desires to have and is willing to pay to get rather than a gift from God.

Second it divorces the marital act from the act of procreation. It is the flip side of contraception.

And third, it creates other moral problems such as leftover embryos that must be destroyed or frozen,

I fully agree with all of your points, but the third is the one that just makes me shudder. It breaks my heart to think of how many hundreds of thousands–no, millions or billions–of poor souls are left in the balance sitting in a freezer. It is such a tragedy.

Corki, that’s pretty close to how we cover it when teaching about things that compromise the marital act. Both contraception and IVF are focused on the end goal of a couple. One says no to children at any cost while the other says I must have a child at any cost. Both discount what God wants of us. It is a little like giving God the bird and saying my plans are more important than yours.

Some will say that disallowing IVF, gamete donation (sperm or egg donation), surrogates, etc. is cruel to couples with fertility issues. What they don’t take into account is the rights of the child. The couples puts their wants before the rights of a child (or children in the case of IVF). Personally I would be heart broken if I was conceived via IVF and were to learn that I was chosen to live while siblings were left frozen or more likely tossed in the garbage like some type of medical waste.

Having a child is indeed a beautiful and wonderful thing! But in the process of IVF unfortunately you have several children that wind up dead or sitting in a freezer somewhere “waiting.”

Life begins at conception, and these are human lives…waiting, sitting on a shelf in some freezer somewhere not being treated with the dignity of a child of God created in his image and likeness.

IVF does not involve fertilizing one egg and implanting it…they fertilize several in order to maximize the success rate. This means there are several human beings involved. These human beings have rights, and many of them are treated like frozen pizzas and I do not mean that like a joke I find it disgusting. The babies that are BORN are naturally loved and wonderful and make the couples very happy, it is their children waiting in freezers that bother me and one (among many other reasons) reason why the Catholic Church teaches that IVF is immoral.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for all of your replies…I honestly didn’t know they fertilised more than one egg, I knew eggs were harvested and frozen but I assumed they were unfertilised! It makes more sense now as to why the Catholic Church disagrees with it.

Growing up in a secular home, I do still struggle completely with the concept as I have grown up in a world where it is spoken of and taught as the “norm”…

Even if only a single egg was harvested and fertilized the Church would still condem the practice. IVF in essence introduces a third party (actually many 3rd parties) into the act of procreation. The act of procreation is a gift from God to share in a small part of creating another human being and is meant to be done by the couple, not by a team of scientists and doctors.

Infertility is a cross some people are called to carry. Too often we forget what Christ said in the Garden of Gethseman, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) IVF and contraception are both putting our will before the will of God.

I’m learning about this like you and found this website on NaPro and IVF from a Catholic website.

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7810

I think one good point to remember is that a child is not a right but a gift from God.

As Corki said, IVF really is the other side of the coin of contraception. Contraception wants sex without babies. IVF wants babies without sex. Both acts divorce sex and babies from their natural context and their natural ends.

EDIT: Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it:

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” [167]

2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.” [168] “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.” [169]

[167] CDF, Donum vitae II,1.
[168] CDF, Donum vitae II,5.
[169] CDF, Donum vitae II,4.

We should note that, while the destruction of “extra” embryos is certainly gravely immoral, that is not the sole reason why IVF is immoral. If it were, then one could argue that a husband and wife who only create one embryo to be implanted (with no extras) would not be acting immorally. But that is not the case. Disassociating the creation of life from the sexual act is itself an immoral act.

What would be your reaction if IVF technology were at a point where exactly 1 embryo would be created, and none other, and only available to married couples. The destruction or freezing of others is thus entirely avoided, and no questions of surrogacy, donations, etc. arise. That is - the sole “issue” becomes that of the intervention of technicians in the process of conception.

Can you elaborate on what is the “will of God” in this scenario of an infertile couple?

I couldn’t play eeny meeny miny moe with little fertilized eggs. I’d rather adopt.

This is a question only the couple could answer after prayer and discernment. Perhaps they are being called to a different type of service. Maybe they are being called to adopt or be foster parents. Maybe they are called to counsel or support other infertile couples. Maybe they are simply called to join their sufferings with His and offer it up.

Just to be clear, infertility is the permissive will of God as are other disorders or types of suffering. To say it is God’s will doesn’t mean it is what God wants but rather what God allows as part of the fallen nature of mankind.

Understood, but does not the line become “fine” between, eg. treating a condition that renders a couple fertile, and undue interference by third parties. A drug that enhances motility of sperm is a form of interference, as is the act of a doctor to assist sperm to move along. In both cases, sperm may have been conveyed from man to woman by a sexual act. It is then a matter of what happens next. The taking of a drug, the involvement of a doctor, or nothing out of the ordinary…

Agreed, yet we are ingenious creatures and have found ways to cure all manner of ills, overcome all manner of disabilities. God does not (in general) will us to put up with our suffering. As I posted above, the line would seem to be fine (potentially, rather than with the current state of technology) between applying that ingenuity to alleviate a biological disorder (eg. infertility) and going “too far”. It seems reasonable to consider whether a future state of technology may render licit, what is currently not.

Assisted reproduction is only moral if it still requires the performance of the marital act. Therefore, taking medications to enhance sperm motility or to induce ovulation are perfectly legitimate, because they still require the performance of the marital act. IVF and AI, on the other hand, are gravely immoral, because they separate the marital act from the act of conception.

As a subfertile woman, I can understand the pain of couples who wish to conceive but have been unable to do so. However, DH and I have rejected the idea of IVF completely. If we do not manage to conceive naturally within about a year, we will begin the process for adoption.

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