Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Should You Do It, IVF You Want?

I have had so many questions for the longest time about Christian couples who choose to undergo IVF and how they have come to grips with what they believe God wants for them. Have we considered these questions?

In our Western Christian-influenced society, we have come to view medicine and treatments/procedures as blessings and/or gifts from God. Afterall, God created the man/woman, bestowed the intellect, ordained the circumstances, and nurtured the drive that produced a doctor that heals the disease. We appreciate that.

And so, we are inclined to view infertility and its alternatives in the same fashion. Is IVF the same as helping the paraplegic to walk again? In the latter, we are restoring a function, a physical ability. In the former, we are circumventing, not restoring, reproductive disabilities. We are making babies. Lots of them. And, unlike helping someone to walk, numerous embryos that are created inevitably meet a fatal end. It's expected. These two things don't sound the same after all.

A couple pursuing IVF really only wants one child (at a time). IVF creates dozens of embryos; doesn't that make them instantly parents of twelve or more offspring?

When they are asked how many to implant, why do most choose to implant more than one? If the number is high (8 or more), what do they do when embryos don't "take" (in other words, miscarry)?

What do they do when their doctor approaches them about a "reduction" (that is, abortion) from, say, 6 to 3, the intentional death of 3 of their unborn?

How does the couple regard any remaining unimplanted embryos? Are they viewed as their children the same as the ones that are implanted and brought to birth?

How does all of this square with the prominent view in Christianity that personhood and humanity exist with someone from the time of conception, or, as in this instance, creation?

These are weighty questions for all Christians, and not meant to wag a finger at couples who have undergone IVF. An infertile couple should feel a certain entitlement to having children; it is the natural course of God's created order for marriage under normal circumstances. Under infertility circumstances, however, how far should a Christian couple go to remedy childlessness? Where, if any, is the line that we should not cross?


Katie Spencer said...

Thank God for IVF !!!

We are now pregnant.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...


I'm interested in knowing if and how you addressed the questions in the post.