Boom. Look at that title. “Why IVF is Morally Right.” It may not be grammatically correct or poetic, but it now exists in the cyber world. So once again I shall say,
***PSA: This blog post is not meant to start a heated conversation about what is right and what is wrong. ***
When we first began to look into IVF as an option for us, the (LCMS) Lutheran in me had to do some research. I mean, personally, I’m pro-life. I believe that God plays a significant role in the creation and development of all human beings (and puppies… of course!). With these beliefs, could I morally choose to proceed with IVF? Or would I become a hypocrite in doing so? What is the Christian response to IVF?
Do you see where I’m going here? If you are a little lost… read the next paragraph. If not, meet me in the one below 😉
For those of you who don’t quite know the entire process of IVF, I’ll give you the cliff notes version: IVF is a process that involves the hyperstimulation of a woman’s ovaries. In a normal “menstral cycle” one follicle is stimulated to produce one egg each month, however in IVF, several medications are administered in a very time-conscious fashion in order to stimulate as many follicles (and hopefully eggs) as possible in one cycle. During the “harvest” procedure the woman is anesthetized while her RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) and surgical team remove as many eggs as were produced from the hyperstiumlation. These eggs are then fertilized “artificially” in the laboratory with the husband’s sperm and watched to see which ones make it to the blastocyst/embryonic stage over the course of three to five days. Once the appropriate number of days have passed, the woman is brought back to the clinic to have a “fresh transfer” of the top one or two embryos. They are carefully placed back into her uterus. All remaining embryos are then frozen for future use (frozen transfers) should the cycle fail, or should the couple want more children in the future.
The morality issue lies in those extra frozen embryos. If you end up with 10 “good ones” but only want three children, what do you do with these “embabies?” (as they are so dubbed in the IVF world)
Destroy them? Keep them frozen… forever? Donate them to other infertile couples? Donate them to science?
While debating the ethical implications of IVF, I first turned to Google. (Sad choice, Mrs. Seager!) Do you know, that if you type “IVF morally correct” or “IVF morally right” nothing at all comes up? Try it. You might find something you think is accurate, but as soon as you open the article it will tell you that you are a bad human being. Definitely not a Christian. Through my “research” I found that the Catholic Church holds the most prominent “anti-IVF” point of view from a Christian/religious standpoint. However, in all my research I could not find much about the Protestant view of IVF aside from most literature saying “Catholics are anti-IVF and most Protestants are “pro-IVF.” Regardless, I don’t make decisions based on my religious “title” so I turned to where I should have looked first. The Word.
I Googled “conception in the Bible” and the following verses are what I found:
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, NKJV).
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV).
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3, NASV).
I noticed a pattern. Did you? Each Bible verse mentioned conception IN THE WOMB.
Now, I’m not trying to state that I 100% know with all certainty where life begins. I’m not a doctor. More importantly I’m not God. I’m just a girl looking for answers to some of life’s more challenging questions. However, it seems to me that life must begin in a mother’s womb. (Now, I know IVF did not exist way back in “Bible Times” so there really could not have been a verse that omitted the “womb” specifically either… but go with me for a second). We as humans have been given so much by God. The ability to reason, learn, make medical advancements, etc. The human brain has assisted infertility along to the point of beginning the conception process in a petri dish in a lab. I mean, how cool is that?! Super Cool! However cool this is, I sincerely doubt that science will ever reach the point of artificially making a full human child in a laboratory. There’s too much God involved. A human child could NEVER be “grown” or “born” without being connected to it’s mother in the womb. (Similarly, we as Christians could never be connected to the Father without the loving sacrifice of the Son, Jesus Christ, or the interceding power of the Holy Spirit.) Connection. It’s about the connection. The symbolism astounded me. It still does.
I know it doesn’t matter if people think I’m a hypocrite or not. I’m not sure anyone ever has in regards to this, honestly. That’s not the reason for this blog. My hope is that someone who is questioning whether or not to choose IVF due to the morality, or religious perspective of the procedure finds this blog someday and is comforted by The Word itself.
And that’s why I think IVF is morally RIGHT.