What do I say to my cousin who is pregnant through IVF?

I would like to congratulate her, but would that be giving my approval to their use of IVF? They are not Catholic and not likely to agree with the Church’s teaching on IVF if I were to try to explain it. Of course I will congratulate them when the baby is born, but that’s not for awhile and it will be awkward not to say anything in the meantime. On the one hand, I don’t want to give scandal by seeming to approve of IVF, but on the other I don’t want to seem uncharitable or like I don’t care about their baby. I love my cousin and her unborn child, what is the right thing to do?

Truth with Charity.

and gentleness.

Yes one cannot approve the immoral means. So I would not “congratulate” them.


1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

  • by protecting evil-doers.


Truth with charity and gentleness… loving the persons and the new little person …but without approving of the IVF.

Pope Benedict XVI:

“Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion.

Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite.

Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word.”

~Pope Benedict XVI Encyclical Caritas in Veritate

Fr. Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center has some articles I would think - so look him up.

You could perhaps print up an article by him…and give it to them? But you know them - I do not - choose the means suited to them. In truth and love and gentleness.

But be quite careful too with your words in terms of the baby. One yes has to walk a bit of a tight rope -loving the child but not approving or seeming to approve …scandal etc.

Since they are not Catholic, there is not need to say anything. Pray for them and that they have a healthy baby. Be the kind of person that, through you loving example and everything you do and say, draws them to Christ and His Church.

It is a matter of natural law. And even involves abortions … (abortion is part and partial to IVF)

Not a Catholic Canonical requirement that would only apply to Catholics…

So saying something may be apt.

There is no need to say anything now that the IVF is done. The sinful acts and embryo destruction were in the past. That would have been the time to offer ethics advice. There is nothing evil about her current pregnancy despite past immoral acts. You can offer best wishes and prayers for the couple and their child.

I don’t know about these reactions of discussing the morality of IVF with the cousin-- it seems to me that the OP is not close enough to her cousin to have known about her plans to use IVF before they made the decision, so she was unable to talk this over with them at an appropriate time. Maybe people who are not close enough to be informed beforehand shouldn’t be informed afterwards…

How would now be a good time to discuss the evils of IVF? There is a baby, who is on the way. What could the cousin do about this situation if she were to come to the conclusion that IVF is wrong?

Are you not happy that they will be blessed with a baby? That’s what you can tell them.

Telling them that they have sinned (which they do not think they have done) in the manner in which they conceived this child will only alienate them and do nothing to draw them closer to a God and His Church.

Few people welcome admonitions like this, nor are they swayed by them. The more likely outcome would be a severing of the relationship (which is what I would do if someone chastised me for not living up to THEIR religious beliefs).

It is a prudential call (will it do any good or just harm things, will they think one knows and approves?, do they know one does not approve? etc)

But one thing is very clear one may not approve of the IVF -so one has to be quite careful in what one says and does. While loving the child and the parents (who may be quite confused and thinking they did a very good thing). Tis a tight rope walk at times.

Being ready to give a reason …

Read too 1 Peter 3:15-16

You say congratulations and then get ready for the baby shower.

Some posters here appear to believe that this couple and their baby are somehow a second class new family. It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS as to the manner in which this pregnancy was achieved.

In all honesty, at this point in the game, all you can do is wish them well and pray for a happy and healthy baby.

I’d say congratulations. You’re congratulating your cousin on her pregnancy, not how she became pregnant.

There was a similar thread with many excellent answers not long ago:
CAF - Do i congratulate couple who are expecting? (by means of ivf)

I think this reply from that thread is very wise:

As to being ones business…yes it actually is - not only in itself (if my family just had several of my cousins killed so that another cousin could be born - that is very much my business! - yes I know that people may not realize this but that is part of the evil here…and the actions of others effect us all and we want the good of all) and it is because they have made it so-if they did not want others to know they would not have broadcast it…THEY made it their business…

If the persons know that one know how it happened…that further complicates things…

Tell them to repent of their sin.

???cousins killed? I must admit, that at first I didn’t quite understand your reference, but then realized that you didn’t mean cousins that had been born. How can you know that frozen embryos have been discarded? Also, if this happy couple is not Catholic, then most likely their Church does not condemn IVF. :cool:

A person can be invincibly ignorant and think they honestly are doing quite good. And thus not be guilty of a particular sin.

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