IVF ( or better known as In Vitro Fertilization), is becoming a more and more commonly used method for a woman to achieve pregnancy if her and her partner are having difficulty conceiving on their own. It is a painful, emotional, and stressful thing for couples to experience a longing for children, and yet can not do it the natural way. Many couples desire to bear children of their own, however, even in the case that a couple can not achieve pregnancy naturally, it does not mean that conceiving unnaturally is a moral thing to do. This being said, it does not mean by any means that children conceived in this way are unequal to others.
There are many deep issues with this ‘alternative method’ to pregnancy that are often overlooked or forgotten about. Many will ask “if the result is for the couple to have children, why is it wrong?”Marriage is naturally ordered toward the good of the spouses as well as procreation and education of children. While the desire to have children is good, the means to which to achieve this end must also be good.
The marital union is not present when this procedure takes place. Eggs are collected from one of the woman’s ovaries and the man must donate sperm into a sterile container, commonly through masturbation. Following these steps, the eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory of some kind to form successful embryos. Embryos that are formed that are not required are disposed of. Already, we can see how this deviates from the unity that is to take place between only the husband and wife. In addition to this, the procedure disposes embryos as biological waste. After the embryos are placed into the woman, it is a mater of waiting to see if any or all will implant. If they do not, the process can be repeated. The entire process is unnatural, going against the dignity of the spouses, the implanted child or children, and the other children still in the embryonic state of development that are either disposed of or frozen for future use.
The Encyclical letter Donum Vitae explores the issues of the Dignity of Human Life and discusses all forms of unnatural conception and respect for human embryos. It states:
Contraception deliberately deprives the conjugal act of its openness to procreation and in this way brings about a voluntary dissociation of the ends of marriage. Homologous artificial fertilization, in seeking a procreation which is not the fruit of a specific act of conjugal union, objectively effects an analogous separation between the goods and the meanings of marriage. Thus, fertilization is licitly sought when it is the result of a “conjugal act which is per se suitable for the generation of children to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh”. But from the moral point of view procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not desired as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say of the specific act of the spouses’ union.
The moral value of the intimate link between the goods of marriage and between the meanings of the conjugal act is based upon the unity of the human being, a unity involving body and spiritual soul. Spouses mutually express their personal love in the “language of the body “, which clearly involves both “sponsal meanings” and parental ones. The conjugal act by which the couple mutually express their self-gift at the same time expresses openness to the gift of life. It is an act that is inseparably corporal and spiritual. It is in their bodies and through their bodies that the spouses consummate their marriage and are able to become father and mother. In order to respect the language of their bodies and their natural generosity, the conjugal union must take place with respect for its openness to procreation; and the procreation of a person must be the fruit and the result of married love. The origin of the human being thus follows from a procreation that is “linked to the union, not only biological but also spiritual, of the parents, made one by the bond of marriage”. Fertilization achieved outside the bodies of the couple remains by this very fact deprived of the meanings and the values which are expressed in the language of the body and in the union of human persons.
In the natural order, the conjugal act between husband and wife is required for the process of having children. It is meant to be unitive and procreative, with the married couple being open to the possibility of having children. Those two factors can not be separated. To use the ends to justify the means is selfish even though it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. The unity of the couple is set aside in order to gain the child. However, the unity of the couple is crucial to the marriage. It is part of the sacrament of marriage for the couple to be completely open to God’s will in their married life in all circumstances.
Children are not a commodity. It is not a right to have children. It is a gift. As difficult as it may be to struggle with infertility, there are good, loving choices that can be made that still allow for a family. For those struggling with infertility, there has been an incredible breakthrough in that NaPro Technology was discovered. In reality, infertility is actually a symptom of underlying disease. While treatments such as IVF are simply a band-aid solution, and not a very effective one at that, NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology) works to find out the cause of the disease, and work to treat or cure it naturally. It brings couples closer together, honouring their dignity and the dignity of the unborn, and is much more effective than IVF. Adoption is also a good and loving alternative. There will always be children in need of a family. Adoption can be lengthy, difficult, and often expensive, but the good that comes from giving a child a home is priceless, for both parties involved. In addition to this, foster care is also another option. Many children who loose their parents or are rescued from abusive households are in desperate need for love.
My heart goes out to all of those struggling with infertility issues. We must give our entire being to Christ. This includes our fertility and marriage. He will work great things in your lives. He will heal you. Trust in Him. God will help you bear all your struggles. He never promised that life would be easy, but that He would be with us the entire way to help us bear our cross.
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Posted on May 14, 2013, in 40 Days for Life, abortion, Catechism, Catholic, chastity, child, contraception, death, family, Love, morality, sex, Vocations and tagged Abortion, Catholic, death, faith, in vitro fertilization, infertility, IVF, love, Parenting, Pro-Life. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.