Couples struggling with infertility are increasingly turning to artificial reproduction, namely in vitro fertilization (IVF). While this technology seems to provide hope to couples with a well-intentioned longing to start a family, the reality is that IVF exploits women and strips tiny children of their fundamental right to life.
Oxford University fertility expert Professor Imogen Goold notes that artificial reproduction clinics “are selling anxious women a false dream” and “preying on women” by charging them for a procedure that almost never works.
When it comes to Big Fertility, there is no independent overseer, and among women aged 42 to 43 who try IVF, a mere three percent will end up with a baby. “Clinics offering egg-freezing rely on women being scared and wanting to throw money at a problem. But these clinics have a vested interest in convincing women they need to buy into this process as an insurance policy, highlighting their success rates while burying their failures,” writes British doctor Max Pemberton.
The lack of success and exploitation of desperate couples is not the only problem with IVF. Most importantly, every time an IVF cycle is performed, multiple tiny children are destroyed.
In the first stages of IVF, clinicians perform a preimplantation screening of early embryos for chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. The tiny humans that are determined to be “healthy” are implanted or frozen to be used in the future. The remaining embryos are simply discarded.
Further, many of the embryos who aren’t discarded during the first stages of IVF lose their lives during the implantation phase. In fact, only seven percent of embryos created through IVF are born.
Each of these embryos is a human life formed by God. Once fertilization takes places, a human being made in the image and likeness of God is formed, regardless of where or how that life is conceived.
Approximately 12 percent of married couples suffer from infertility or struggle to sustain a pregnancy, which creates deep emotional and physical stress. These couples deserve care and support as they suffer from the immense pain associated with the unfulfilled longing for a child, and a healthy society must encourage couples to have children and build strong families. However, lab-created children are not the answer. Instead, we should provide hope to couples struggling with infertility by encouraging them to adopt. Adoption benefits and respects the rights of everyone involved.
Unfortunately, couples trying to conceive through IVF aren’t made fully aware of what the process entails. Unless they ask the right questions of the doctors, they won’t know what the problems with this procedure are. It’s up to Christians and pro-lifers to share the truth about IVF with compassion for those who are desperately trying to conceive.
Once again science and technology are ahead of our ethics. Just because we can do something, does not mean we have a moral imperative to do it. It’s never right to create human life with the intention of it being expendable.
California Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CD 28) recently introduced the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act, which purportedly aims to help those struggling with infertility; but in truth, it only creates a larger issue for children’s rights.
Currently in the United States, couples are eligible to receive tax benefits for fertility treatments only if they are in a heterosexual relationship since these are the only relationships capable of fertility in and of themselves. However, sexual revolutionaries view nature and biological truths as an injustice, and they are attempting to expand the definition of “infertility” to include those who cannot reproduce “either as a single individual or with a partner without medical intervention.”
In response to the legislation, Joseph Backholm in WORLD explains: “Under this definition, single people, as well as people in same-sex relationships, could be ‘infertile,’ which only makes sense in a world where men can get pregnant, and no one can define what a woman is.”
This is exactly what the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act aims to do. In a press release, Rep. Schiff says, “our tax code is sorely outdated and makes it harder for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to afford treatments to bring children into their families, such as IVF. This bill would rectify this iniquity by allowing LGBTQ+ couples to deduct the cost of assisted reproductive treatments as a medical expense—a privilege heterosexual couples already have.”
He went on: “Every person regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, or relationship status deserves the same opportunity to start and expand a family.”
This is an entirely adult-centered view of the relationship between parents and children.
This legislation treats a child as “an accessory that exists to meet the needs of adults,” as Backholm puts it. Children have a natural right to both a mother and father, and Schiff’s proposal completely disregards the best interest of children.
“In his view, the adults deserve the child simply because they want the child. Any disadvantage the child experiences by being commodified and denied a relationship with one or both of his or her parents is outweighed by the emotional satisfaction the adults will experience.
However, if the needs of children are primary, a child’s right to be known and loved by his or her mother and father is more important than the adult desire to have a child. After all, men cannot mother and women cannot father. Children need both mothers and fathers,” writes Backholm.
Further, this legislation encourages the use of technology to bring children into the world, which has serious moral implications. Surrogacy, for example, intentionally separates a child from one or both of his biological parents. This creates in them a “primal wound” that manifests as depression, abandonment issues, and emotional problems throughout their lives.
Artificial reproduction often disregards the physical as well as the emotional well-being of lab-created children, as only 7% of children created in a lab will be born alive. Most will perish in forgotten freezers, won’t survive “thawing,” will fail to implant, or will be discarded if they’re non-viable or the wrong sex, or be “selectively reduced” (aborted), or be donated to research. This happens largely because there are no limits on the number of embryos created for someone seeking IVF. The unused ones are then “frozen” (commonly referred to as “snowflake babies”) and then, after a time, if not used, are disposed of.
We have a medical doctor friend who is also a biological ethicist, who a number of years ago recommended that if IVF is to continue, then at a minimum, a law should be passed that limits to three the number of embryos that are created for a single IVF attempt. All three would then be required to be implanted, which means none would need to be “frozen.”
Approximately 12 percent of married couples suffer from infertility or struggle to sustain a pregnancy, which creates deep emotional, physical, and financial stress. These couples deserve care, support, and compassion as they deal with the immense pain associated with the unfulfilled longing for a child, and a healthy society must encourage couples to have children through legislation that supports parenthood.
However, the desires of adults must never take precedent over the rights of children.
“We live in a broken world, which means the ideal is not always possible. Adoption is a beautiful example of how we can make the best of situations that are already broken. Still, making the best of difficult circumstances is very different than creating difficult circumstances on purpose, which is exactly what Rep. Schiff’s Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act would do,” concludes Backholm.
We agree. The Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act submits the rights of children to the desires of adults—even if well-intentioned—and we dare not make this the basis of policymaking.