Suleman octuplets I

octuplets 1.jpgThis is a hard one.

I used to be fine with in vitro fertilization. I even gave a friend hormone shots several years back to mature several eggs at once for IVF.

Then I found out the Catholic Church opposes IVF. And when the Catholic Church says something on the pro-life issue I listen. I read its reasons, and they made sense. I now oppose IVF, not only on moral grounds but also because it hurts and exploits women....

And IVF has led to unforeseen dastardly consequences, such as abandoned embryos who became the overriding excuse to experiment on them. ("Better that than throwing them away!")

That said, I know IVF children. My aforementioned friend now has 2 wonderful children conceived via IVF. I don't want them not here. (Sorry about the double negative.)

That brings us to 33-year-old and unmarried Nadya Suleman, mother of 6 children under age 7 (all conceived via IVF and including 1 set of twins) who gave birth January 26 to octuplets.

Now that the babies are here, I wouldn't want a single one of them not here. The question I'm hearing often asked, "Can one have too many children?" is wrong. No, one cannot. But God didn't intend for human mothers to give birth to litters, particularly with no husbands in sight. It's unnatural on all levels.

The Associated Press reported Suleman refused "reduction," or aborting some to save the rest, which is good. The AP also reported Suleman had such a large amount of embryos implanted because "[t]here were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies... [she]... didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children," which is far superior than flushing them away or allowing them to be dissected.

There is now a call to regulate IVF clinics to only implant 1, 2, or 3 embryos. That would likely only lead to more unwanted frozen embryos. There is also a call for doctors to decide who does or doesn't merit IVF, which is dangerous and suable.

In my mind the only right solution isn't going to happen - stopping IVF, which makes me feel bad to say, because of all those IVF kids I know.

This is why it has taken me awhile to write on the octuplets. I feel bad about the only solution I think is the right solution.

[Photo, courtesy of the AP, is of nursing staff who delivered the Suleman octuplets.]


Comments:

Jill, I bet those women who desperately want a child of their own and IVF is their only option would strongly disagree with you that IVF "hurts and exploits women" !!!

And yes, a women can have TOO MANY children. If you can't support them, fourteen is way too many.

Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 6:08 PM


Asitis, I know they would disagree, which is one reason my conclusion is painful. I don't know the pain of infertility, and so I realize my response, which is to agree with the Catholic Church, is easier said than done:

The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.

And no, a family cannot have too many children. If one believes as I do that God determines fertility, then one believes that in a proper husband-wife relationship God will supply a large family's needs.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at February 3, 2009 6:35 PM


Be fruitfull and replentish the earth.

It doesn't need to be all at once.

Posted by: xppc at February 3, 2009 6:38 PM


Thanks Jill.

Well, I guess since I don't have to agree with the Catholic Church, I'm saved that painful decision! And same goes for her brood of 14 - I can just come out and say it's too many for her to have! c);)

Peace.

Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 6:46 PM


I guess what I don't understand is why, if she seems to have the significant resources to afford 5 IVF treatments, would she be so desperate to implant all 8 remaining embryos at one time instead of simply waiting and implanting them over a period of a few years.

It seems to me that were her motives purely pro-life, she wouldn't risk the lives of all of the children by implanting them all at once.

I don't know, something just seems really "off" about the whole story.

Posted by: Lauren at February 3, 2009 6:59 PM


Very well said, Jill. I know it is difficult to oppose IVF because it leads to such a wonderful end (children), but as you have pointed out, the ends do not justify the means. We do not hold to a utilitarian ethic. Although it is no where NEAR as evil as rape, the same PRINCIPLE applies; namely, that a bad act (rape, IVF) can produce good results (a child conceived via rape/ IVF). Such a child can still be loved and part of God's plan, even though he was conceived in an evil manner. (again, I am not at ALL saying IVF is as bad as rape; it's an analogy)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 3, 2009 7:13 PM


Lauren I agree that something is very off here.(where are her parents? where is the father of the children?)

And no, a family cannot have too many children. If one believes as I do that God determines fertility, then one believes that in a proper husband-wife relationship God will supply a large family's needs.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at February 3, 2009 6:35 PM
I agree with you on this Jill absolutely.

And really the medical profession has backed itself into a corner and is not the least bit consistent.
On the one hand they are telling the media that they cannot play ethicist here and say no to a woman implanting 8 embryos. But on the other hand, they do play ethicist all the time when they encourage/pressue women to abort children with genetic problems.
And they've backed themselves into a corner because if they tell patients they can only have so many children this opens the door to the encouragement of this attitude in the broader society via legislation and so forth.

Given the increased risk of medical problems IVF children experience, the increased risk of the drugs/multiple pregnancy to moms, the increased risk IVF has on subsequent children and the issues of freezing embryos this is one procedure that should be banned forever.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 3, 2009 7:18 PM


This is child abuse. There is no husband. This is irresponsible.


IVF should be illegal.

Posted by: Jasper at February 3, 2009 7:33 PM


I don't know, something just seems really "off" about the whole story.

Posted by: Lauren at February 3, 2009 6:59 PM

That's gotta be the understatement of the year Lauren!

Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 7:53 PM


Asitis, yeah I just don't get it. I mean, seriously, I can't even begin to fathome the series of events that led this.

Posted by: lauren at February 3, 2009 7:58 PM


People should only have children if they can support them. She can't. She'll sell her story for publicity. Then she'll get money. I feel bad for her children. She apparently wanted to save her leftover embryos, but she'll just create an unstable life for them.

Posted by: Taylor at February 3, 2009 8:10 PM


Abraham Lincoln was uncommonly tall with long spindly legs.

Someone once asked Abe how long a man's legs should be.

"Long enough to reach the ground.", said Abe.
------------------------------------------------------

To all the God seekers: God either causes or HE allows.

Either God caused or HE allowed, this woman to give conceive and give birth to 8 children. Whether she conceived a single child, twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, or octuplets, either God caused or HE allowed.

Whether they were conceived in the course of a man and woman doing what men and women due, or they were the result of NFP, or the result of the ingenius mind of man, either God caused or HE allowed.

If children are a gift from God and if the fruit of the womb is a blessing, then why are you judging this woman. Aren't you really judging God?

You are saying in so many words that God is really foolish to give this woman this many children. You are saying you know better than God.

Like weapons in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of ones youth. Blessed is the one whose quiver is full. [I bet if you look up the Hebrew word that is translated 'full', it will be that shaken, pressed down, overflowing kind of 'full'. Who determines 'full', you or God?]

The children of 'your' youth will not be ashamed when they confront 'your' enemies in the gate.

Your chidren are weapons in the hands of a Mighty Warrior and against them no weapon formed will find ultimate success.

I do not apologize for this mother of octuplets, nor do I apologize for God.

You are making judgements without the benefit of yet having all the facts. Your LORD, your Savior, your King and your God said not to judge according to the flesh, natural mind, but to judge righteously, according to the Holy Spirit of God. I do not claim to know what thay means, but I do claim that if you lack wisdom and you ask Him, He will give you what you ask for because you are asking according to His will.

Do not ask, not believing, but ask expecting that HE will give you what you ask for. But be prepared, you may not like the answer.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at February 3, 2009 8:49 PM


I agree Jill - I'm against IVF and given what's been happening recently re: sales of eggs and sperm, it's moving towards a real marketplace mentality.

The long-term impact is that IVF establishes a marketplace for humanity - placing a price upon a person, which is a repugnant aspect of slavery. That's not saying IVF children aren't wanted or loved deeply. But essentially when a 3rd party is called in, a market is created and of course markets want to expand.

With medical infertility, the market is unknown, although it can be created to a certain extent. I'd be curious how many female infertility cases there are for IVF that came about due to prior abortions. (I'm sorry if that sounds insensitive - I was unaware until last year the impact that abortion scarring has on the uterine walls. It turns out for D&C this is quite high - particularly if unskilled or rapid turnover.)

Lastly, IVF is also resorted to in a semi-ethical way by same-sex unions. (If one sex is not necessary, then neither is the other). Codifying same sex marriage is tantamount to establishing a marketplace for children, (legal and medical services):

http://www.growinggenerations.com/

The operative word on that site is "choice".

All that said - I think the Catholic Church has come to the correct conclusion concerning the morality of IVF and our outlook on children and their conception.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at February 3, 2009 8:49 PM


Here is a novel idea: Why don't we agree together to pray for this mother and all her children. Why don't we ask Holy Spirit to intercede for us because we clearly do not know how to pray in this situation. I believe I read somewhere that Holy Spirit would do that.

Something about groanings too deep for words and making intercession for the fellow believers. I do not know if this mother is a 'fellow believer', but I have a hunch God might be pleased with us for praying for an unbeliever.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at February 3, 2009 8:59 PM


Imagine a young man learning he has testicular cancer and what IVF means for him then and once his baby is born. Imagine what it means to his wife, his mother, his father. Oh yes, IVF is so evil, so repugnant. It should be banned. Yeh, good luck with that too.

Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 9:01 PM


Hi Jill. I'm glad to see you agree that IVF is not a good thing! Indeed, though the end result--a child--is good, the ends to get there are bad. And good ends never justify bad means.

Among the reasons that IVF is not good is (and you may know this already from Catholic material)that every precious child brought into this world has a (God-given) right to the great dignity of being brought into creation by a loving, human act of the natural sexual intercourse of his or her mother and father--i.e., to be the fruit of the loving bodily union of his parents, rather than a laboratory creation of scientists. Anything less than to be brought into the world by an act of love of a man and a woman as expressed in their bodily union is unworthy of the dignity of the human person. It is beneath the god-given dignity of human life for a child to come into being in a petri dish rather than in the womb of its mother.


IVF would mutate Eve's cry of wonderment over her first child ("I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord" [Gen 4:1]) into, "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord and several lab technicians and their equipment."

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 3, 2009 9:04 PM


We are so accustomed in contemporary American life to getting what we want and thinking that we have a "right" to whatever we want however we want it. We need a dose of humility; to realize that everything is not in our control and some things are not within our power.

Although all married men and women hopefully desire to have children, and children are the natural fruit of the love of a husband and wife, we do not have a right to a child. Every child is a gift. This is contrary to how we tend to think these days, but they are not given to us primarily to satisfy our desires. It is not our proper place to come so close to playing God by technologies such as IVF.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 3, 2009 9:16 PM


"Anything less than to be brought into the world by an act of love of a man and a woman as expressed in their bodily union is unworthy of the dignity of the human person".

Oh how sweet. Never mind that the child was brought into the world by an act of love, just a bit different than yours, out of necessity. Unworthy of dignity? OMG. I'm going to bed.

Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 9:16 PM


Mmmm, very good insights, Scott.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 3, 2009 9:24 PM


If God is anything, HE is a god of liberty. It is for freedom that He has set us free. Free to do what is pleasing to Him. But if we are not free to disobey, then we are not free to obey.

In the beginning God said, Let us make man....
He gave Himself the liberty to make man the way HE wanted.

HE said, Let... many times. This is a word of liberation.

I do not believe God micromanaged creation. I believe He gave creation the liberty to form itself in a ways that was pleasing to Him, because creation knows the Creator.

How else do you explain a platapus? Why are even identical twins different even when their DNA is identical? Why are no two snowflakes the same? Because God delights in diversity because diversity is an evidence of liberty and freedom.

Somewhere it is written that all of creation was subjected to the bondage of death and decay through no act or will of it's own. But it also says that all of creation is looking earnestly for the revealing of the sons of God. Creation is growning to be set free and creations liberation is connected to our liberation. When we are set free, creation experiences liberation.

When we are walking in the Spirit then we do not submit to the desires of the flesh, but we do the will of Him who called us. Each time we do that creation rejoices, a little more because it knows that the day of complete liberation from the curse of sin and death is drawing closer.

Be carefull what you do with this woman, or else you may find your self warring agains the purpose of God.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at February 3, 2009 9:28 PM


Hi everyone. This whole story just seems fishy. My hope is that she will be able to support her children, that she will be able to nurture and bond with all her children and that they will all do well.

Also, it seems that she might need counseling. And her parents, I feel so bad for them. Grandparents are supposed to enjoy their grandchildren and then send them home :)

To kbhvac, my dear you need to chill a bit. This is a blog where people can share and discuss. Oh, and I'm curious where does one's choices (free will) play a part in the whole God causes or allows theories? Sometimes these causes or allows theories tend to take the responsibilty from people.

Posted by: Starla at February 3, 2009 9:30 PM


I didn't mean at all to imply above (9:04pm) that medical technology itself is a bad thing. Not at all.

However, there is a very significant moral difference between assisting the natural act of intercourse between a husband and wife, and altogether replacing it with a laboratory process. Helping nature here is OK. But in this case, superceding it with the actions of lab technicians is not reconcilable with God's design for how new human beings are to come into being.

I wanted to clarify that I am not against a prudent and morally appropriate use of medical technology. IVF does not qualify as such.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 3, 2009 9:31 PM


God in His wisdom might say, IVF is OK for this couple. But HE might say of another couple, I want you to adopt. HE might say of another couple I want you be free from the responsibilities of parenthood. To anothe couple HE might say I want you to experience parenthood in a fuller measure than most.

God knows the size of your quiver, because he knows you. Your responsibility is to discover what God's will is for your life, not everyone elses.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at February 3, 2009 9:35 PM


To kbhvac, my dear you need to chill a bit. This is a blog where people can share and discuss.

Posted by: Starla at February 3, 2009 9:30 PM

----------------------------------------------------

I thought I was sharing and discussing.

But it would not be the first time I was wrong.

Talk amongst yourselves.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at February 3, 2009 9:40 PM


"Why don't we agree together to pray for this mother and all her children."

I agree Ken. Lets pray she gets the help she needs...

Posted by: Jasper at February 3, 2009 10:04 PM


I am also against IVF. there are plenty of children for anyone who wants one, and not having a child is not the tragedy many claim.

However, I wouldn't ban it. Unlike Jasper, I'm not in favor of giving that kind of control to the government. Discourage it, like we discourage smoking. It will still happen, but less often.

Posted by: Hal at February 3, 2009 10:04 PM


My husband and I did have infertility issues when trying to conceive a child so I can definitely sympathize with a couple who wants a child so much in their lives. Being a modern woman,of course the first thing I did was search the internet.Ilooked at a few of the websites that offered technological solutions to our problem but something in my gut just thought that sounded too clinical.

Then,I went on to the adoption websites. I can't get the children's faces out of my head.Why would my husband and I go through the bother of creating our own child when there are somany beautiful children in this world who desperately need a home?

I prayed for YEARS that God would send us a child(or children). After doing all the paperwork,the country which we wanted to adopt from closed down their adoptions.Then we decided to adopt local foster children,more paperwork and classes.
Well,we finally gotthe official letter in Aug 2005 that we could officially adopt from Massachusetts.In September,I found out I was pregnant with our little girl.
And to add toour blessings (God is so generous!)when she was 5 months old,I found out I was pregnant with my little guy.
Even though we didn't end up adopting, I really like to promote it as a 1st choice to other couples suffering from infertility. Not that they always listen to me but I try!

Posted by: Ann Elise at February 3, 2009 10:31 PM


Someone above wondered why the frozen embryos where not implanted in batches over several years rather than all at once.

It may have something to do with the fact that frozen embryos do not last forever without degrading. They have a "shelf life." After a certain length of time frozen, the likelihood that the embryo can be thawed without serious damage gets lower and lower.

So, if the mother wanted to have the best chance to save all of the embryos, especially if some of them had already been frozen for several years, she may not have felt she could wait several additional years before the embryos that had been frozen would have become damaged beyond any ability to be saved by thawing and implanting them. In other words, she may have asked for 8 to be implanted because at least for some of the embryos, perhaps it was a "now or never" situation.

There must be lots of things we don't know so it is probably not a good idea to speculate about this specific situation.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 3, 2009 10:40 PM


Ann Elise,
What a wonderful story! He is generous, indeed. :)


Just out of curiosity, does the Catholic Church discourage ALL types of contraception?

Posted by: Carla at February 3, 2009 10:58 PM


Carla,
Now that we have 2 toddlers in the house, my husband and I are relying on NFP. My little guy is now 18 months old so it's been working fantastically. I love it because no chemicals, no latex,100%natural. I use a combination of signs, temps and ClearBlue fertility monitor.
The Church allows spacing for children this way.

The chemical methods of birth control have an abortifacient component and with condoms , you are basically saying to your spouse , I want you but not all of you.

Hope this helps!

Posted by: Ann Elise at February 3, 2009 11:12 PM


God bless a mommy with toddlers!! :)

So NFP is what Catholics are to be using? What about diaphragms?

Why are we up so late??

Posted by: Carla at February 3, 2009 11:20 PM


Bro ken, I hear you. This is where it gets complicated. God allows pregnancies out of the norm such as Hagar's. He loved Ishmael and watched over him so he wouldn't starve. But there are consequences when people deviate from God's order and instructions. (I've learned that time and again in my life.)

That said, God gave us minds to create medicine for healing and well-being. But there is just something amiss when we use it to create human beings.

Chris, you brought up a good point. The rise in infertility is often self-imposed: abortion, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, the Pill wreaking havoc on women's hormonal regulation and menstrual cycles, even estrogen in our water that may feminize men and lower sperm counts. This fact draws back to the point that deviating from God's order and instructions has consequences.

Carla, I agree. What are we up so late? For me it's just getting back into the blogging groove, I think!

Posted by: Jill Stanek at February 3, 2009 11:59 PM


"Why don't we agree together to pray for this mother and all her children."

I agree Ken. Lets pray she gets the help she needs...

Posted by: Jasper at February 3, 2009 10:04 PM

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses.
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Posted by: truthseeker at February 4, 2009 12:06 AM


That said, God gave us minds to create medicine for healing and well-being. But there is just something amiss when we use it to create human beings.
Posted by: Jill Stanek at Feb 3, 2009 11:59 PM

I believe in God the Father almighty.
Creator of heaven and earth;
of all that is seen and unseen.

Posted by: truthseeker at February 4, 2009 12:20 AM


I agree wholeheartedly with my church's views on IVF, and as a NICU nurse I often see the other side of this issue when multiples are born much too early and suffer a long hard road filled with ventilators, IVs, surgeries, infections, brain damage and even death.

If a woman is unable to get pregnant on her own, is it possible that God has a reason for that?? Maybe a woman who cannot conceive naturally shouldn't be giving birth at all, much less be giving birth to twins, triplets or more.

Posted by: Allison at February 4, 2009 2:26 AM


Bobby - REALLY good point!

I'm Catholic as could be, but I also acknowledge free human will. Not everyone is Catholic, and so I don't want the laws of the U.S. to ban IVF. I want people to come to it by conscience, and I pray that they do. I do, of course, think that fetuses should by law be created one by one -- even if eight are implanted -- to avoid children of God leftover in cryogenic freezers.

Whether Suleman is nutty or not for her decision, I don't think that having doctors play God by saying "Two is good, three too many, in my opinion" is a great thing either - unless they're speaking purely medically about what a woman's organ systems can handle, not her house or her family or anything else. It's not for them to judge.

People in a free society will always make choices that make us say "Wow, that's nutty." We are Americans, and are blessed with such liberty. Unlike abortion, Suleman never hurt anyone. Because I'm pro-life, I don't think that giving birth to handicapped children is wrong in the least, so complaints that she "endangered" her children fall on deaf ears.

Of course I believe that the two-parent family is best. But I can't say that we should legally limit single mothers. By the same logic, we would take children away if their husbands abandon them, or they get pregnant and he refuses to marry her. To end abortion, we need to end the idea that giving birth to a child out of wedlock is the end of the road. Yes, I want to build up the family, I do, but I think we encourage abortion by letting young women hear us villainize single moms.

Posted by: Francesca at February 4, 2009 5:21 AM


I have to agree with you, Jill, and to add the IFV contributes to the commodification of children. Rather than a blessing, they become a consumer good.

As for the thoughts of the IVF babies whose existence we value even as we oppose the practice that brought them here -- we can love children conceived in rape without approving of or promoting rape.

Posted by: Christina at February 4, 2009 5:25 AM


Just out of curiosity, does the Catholic Church discourage ALL types of contraception?

Posted by: Carla at February 3, 2009 10:58 PM

short answer: yes and it also discourages the use of NFP in a contraceptive manner because of course intent is important too.

And Carla: diaphrams are out too. For the same reason as Ann Elise stated.
************************************************

If a woman is unable to get pregnant on her own, is it possible that God has a reason for that?? Maybe a woman who cannot conceive naturally shouldn't be giving birth at all, much less be giving birth to twins, triplets or more.

Posted by: Allison at February 4, 2009 2:26 AM

Allison you make an interesting point that may be in the process of being demonstrated as we live.
There is now an opinion developing among researchers that IVF couples who have children are passing their infertility along to these children. So in addition to some of them having more medical problems than their naturally conceived peers, they or other IVF children may also have fertility problems.
I guess what I am saying is that maybe the Creator built in safeguards against this sort of thing?

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 6:24 AM


====="Anything less than to be brought into the world by an act of love of a man and a woman as expressed in their bodily union is unworthy of the dignity of the human person".

Oh how sweet. Never mind that the child was brought into the world by an act of love, just a bit different than yours, out of necessity. Unworthy of dignity? OMG. I'm going to bed.


Posted by: asitis at February 3, 2009 9:16 PM=====

Virginia,

Did you read Scott's sentence? He didn't say the child was unworthy of dignity. He said that the method/manner of the child's conception was unworthy of the dignity of a person. IVF degrades human life because it turns life into a laboratory experiment. Any persons who come into being as a result of IVF are still full humans, worthy of all the rights and value as any other human. Human conception is such a treasure that only the naturally-ordered intercourse between a man and a woman is dignified enough to merit conception.

Jill, I'm glad you see the Catholic Church's wisdom on this matter. What many non-Catholics (and Catholics, too, for that matter) fail to realize that the Church's stand on life and conception (generally promoted by conservatives) is directly connected to the social justice movements within the Church (much beloved by liberals). You can't have one without the other, because both draw from the basic dignity of being made in the image of God.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 7:04 AM


"What many non-Catholics (and Catholics, too, for that matter) fail to realize that the Church's stand on life and conception (generally promoted by conservatives) is directly connected to the social justice movements within the Church (much beloved by liberals)."


Absolutely Michael! In fact, it is the height of social justice to demand respect for unborn babies - the most helpless in our society.
And it is quite correct to uphold the dignity of marriage and the conjugal act because it encourages us to treat our spouses in a respectful just manner.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 7:12 AM


Thank you for your answers on contraception!! I have learned a lot on this thread!!

Posted by: Carla at February 4, 2009 7:22 AM


Michael, Scott's comment was disrespectful of the parents and their child. Try opening your heart and looking at it through their eyes, rather than through your cathecism.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 7:22 AM


Anything less than to be brought into the world by an act of love of a man and a woman as expressed in their bodily union is unworthy of the dignity of the human person.

What a horrible thing to say. Lots of children are conceived via sex but not as a result of an act of love. Sure, we try to avoid those situations -- rape, etc -- but do we say that to be born of such a situation is to be born of a situation unworthy of the dignity of a human person?

I'm pretty sure my friend, the child of a rape victim, acutely felt that perceived lack of dignity in her creation, for a significant portion of her life.

I'd be more comfortable leaving the "dignity" of how each of us are conceived out of things. And I'm not even a supporter of IVF.

Posted by: Alexandra at February 4, 2009 7:24 AM


Alexandra, again you are taking Scotts comment out of context. The ideal is that a new human person comes into existence through the loving union of a husband and his wife. The two becoming one flesh opens the possibility of a third. This is completely absent in IVF. It is life conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish.
Scott does not mean that a child created through IVF or rape or in a loveless marriage has no dignity. Of course not! A person has dignity from the moment of conception because all human beings are made in the image of God. This is what the prolife movement has been advocating for years.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 7:37 AM


I think this is as good a place as any to discuss the following: At least in Catholic moral Theology, it has been an open question as to whether or not embryo adoption or implanting the so-called "snowflake babies" is morally permissible. While most moral theologians argue that it is, some argue that it gravely violates teh marital act of the ADOPTING couple. Now a few months ago, the Congregation for teh Doctrine of the Faith released a document "Dignitas Personae." I think the following paragraph went largely unnoticed:

"19. With regard to the large number of frozen embryos already in existence the question becomes: what to do with them? Some of those who pose this question do not grasp its ethical nature, motivated as they are by laws in some countries that require cryopreservation centers to empty their storage tanks periodically. Others, however, are aware that a grave injustice has been perpetrated and wonder how best to respond to the duty of resolving it.

Proposals to use these embryos for research or for the treatment of disease are obviously unacceptable because they treat the embryos as mere “biological material” and result in their destruction. The proposal to thaw such embryos without reactivating them and use them for research, as if they were normal cadavers, is also unacceptable.[37]

The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as a treatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood;[38] this practice would also lead to other problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature.

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of “prenatal adoption”. This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.
"

Now this certainly isn't definitive, but it seems like the Church may be moving in the direction of saying (someday, maybe long ways away) that embryo adoption is not morally permissible.

I actually don't know what the arguments against it are. Does anyone have any strong opinions on this?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 7:40 AM


The ideal is that a new human person comes into existence through the loving union of a husband and his wife.....This is completely absent in IVF. It is life conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 7:37 AM

This is exactly the nonsense that Alexandra and I are speaking of toostunned! Thank you.

So the couple has to rely on the help of a petri dish to conceive their child. This does not mean that their child was not created out of their love (and their egg and sperm). Just because the act of getting jiggy was absent doesn't mean the process is without dignity and love. Utter hogwash.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 8:01 AM


Now this certainly isn't definitive, but it seems like the Church may be moving in the direction of saying (someday, maybe long ways away) that embryo adoption is not morally permissible.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 7:40 AM

Bobby, I guess I give the Catholic Church snaps for sticking to it's guns, but in doing so it would be working against itself. Being against IVF isn't going to stop Catholics (and certainly not others) from using it. It can result in unwanted embryos. What to do with these: destroy? use for research? adopt? Seems to me the Catholic church might want to pick one of these to champion.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 8:11 AM


Bobby,

The parochial vicar at my parish (at least, he is until he gets moved in two weeks, grrr...) did his thesis on this when he studied in Rome a few years ago. He feels that the growing awareness and agreement, though far from definitive, is that the snowflake adoptions would not be morally licit. The immoral, grave injustice of the embryo being created has already occurred. Implanting the embryo in a woman, a la, snowflake adoption, would be another offense involving yet another couple's procreation. As my priest put it, "Scientists would be going where only her husband belongs." The womb of a woman should not be open to infiltration by outsiders, but only to the one flesh union which occurs in the marital act. As the paragraph 19 states, the intention is very noble, but the means are still problematic.

Well, what to do about the frozen embryos? Well, this leads to my quote a few months back, "You can't find God's path when you're walking in the devil's field." The priest said that given the situation, the most moral thing to do would be to thaw the embryos, allow them to die, as what would occur naturally (ie, an embryo cannot live outside of the womb), and then bury them with the burial rites offered for miscarriages. The more I think about it, I see the wisdom and consistency in this approach.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 8:15 AM


The ideal is that a new human person comes into existence through the loving union of a husband and his wife.....This is completely absent in IVF. It is life conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 7:37 AM

This is exactly the nonsense that Alexandra and I are speaking of toostunned! Thank you.

It's not that the person he or herself is not dignified, it is that they deserve better.

A person in the porn industry is a human person deserving dignity, but being a porn star is not a dignified occupation. That person, a whole child of God, deserves better. Same with IVF-a child deserves to be conceived out of love. It is not to say that person conceived in such a manner is any less a person than anyone else. On the contrary, the Church teaching is not that some people are lower and less deserving, but rather all people are worthy to be brought into the world under the most loving circumstances possible. Obviously,as we see in this scenario, being conceived in such a manner has stacked up some cards against the individual that would not be the case if they had been conceived naturally.

That said, I agree with everything Jill said in the initial entry. I saw Bill O'Reilly yesterday ranting and raving that this is child abuse, there are too many people under one roof...Needless to say this situation is as others to say odd and almost creepy how none of it makes any sense. But the children are here. Ranting and raving after the fact will not help these babies. I wish he had a little bit more charity.

Posted by: Pansy Moss at February 4, 2009 8:37 AM


Same with IVF-a child deserves to be conceived out of love.

Posted by: Pansy Moss at February 4, 2009 8:37

My point is precisely that Pansy. A child conceived by IVF is conceived out of love. Perhaps even more love than naturally, because the parents go to great lengths to create this child.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 8:45 AM


Asitis,

It isn't really a matter whether people will stop using IVF or not as far as Church teaching is concerned. The Church teaches with the authority of Jesus given to her by Jesus himself and those who reject such teachings reject Jesus.

As far as those options go, I think Michael brought up the excellent point about not being able to work in the "devil's field." It is vey possible that given an evil situation, there is no morally licit way out of it other than letting nature take its course. All those options must be judged in-and-of-themselves, not on the basis of its ends which would utilitarian in scope.

Also, Michael, you've probably heard of the scientist/bioethicist Father Tad Pacholczyk. I met him back in November and talked with him about this. He is one of the few like your parochial vicar who believe that embryo adoption is gravely immoral. Now I've heard Rev. Nicanor Austriaco suggest unthawing teh embryos and allowing them to die naturally (which seems very difficult for me to accept) but Fr Tad mentioned two other options. One is that there seems to be some evidence that the thawed embryos are slowly dying anyway, which I guess isn't an option per se, but if it is true, it would allow us to not have to make a decision where we KNOW that by unthawing them, we are placing them in an environment which would lead to their deaths.

The other option was the possibility of implanting them in artificial uteruses if we were ever able to design such a thing. On one hand this should not be problematic because we continue to place 24, 23, 22 week old premature babies into an artificial life-supporting environment when they are born early, and we would like to be able to push the weeks back as far as possible so that we could save a baby who needs to be induced at 20, 19, 18, 17 weeks etc. But on teh other hand, it seems problematic to have a person who grows up never having spent time in his mother's uterus, one who has never lived in that safe harboring nature of his mother's womb.

These are tricky things. I enjoy thinking about them.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 8:47 AM


[IVF results in] life conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish. Scott does not mean that a child created through IVF or rape or in a loveless marriage has no dignity.

Thank you, toostunnedtolaugh, you are exactly on target about my meaning. I like the way you put this, "the unloving confines of a glass petri dish." Indeed.

Alexandra, the dignity of each and every human being is very very great, and it is inherent. In other words, the dignity I mentioned above, is a dignity that begins the instant that a new human being comes into creation, no matter what the context is in which this beginning takes place.

The use of IVF technology to conceive new human life instead of a natural sexual union of a man and a woman is far, far below the already existing high dignity that every human life possesses from the very first moment of its existence, simply by being human.

Here is an analogy to help illustrate (remembering that all analogies are imperfect). Take slavery. Every slave had, just by being human, the same inherent dignity that any other human being, free or slave, had. The underlying assumption supporting the abhorrence of slavery is precisely that every human being, because of the great inherent dignity of the human person, ought to be free. Slavery is wretched because it is beneath the ever-present dignity of human persons. No human being, no matter their background, should be enslaved. Enslavement is a terrible attack upon inherent human dignity. The abhorrence of slavery shows that people recognize that this underlying dignity is there. Slavery does not remove this dignity, it attacks it and puts a putrid moral slime over it--though it remains. In other words, the situation of being enslaved is horrendously beneath the dignity of the human being who is enslaved. Because humans are so special/ valuable in themselves apart from the sort of person they are or where they come from, they ought never be enslaved.

It is similar with IVF. This procedure is vastly inadequate to the awesome dignity of new human life. IVF does not diminish this life, but rather attacks and slimes its inherent beauty and worth. Because humans are so special/valuable in themselves, they ought never be conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish.

Rape is a horrible act that ought never happen. But, it does not diminish the great dignity of any child conceived in rape. Rape is an attack upon the inherent value and beauty of any child conceived (as well as an attack on the mother), who has a right to be the fruit only of a loving union of his or her parents.

I should mention also that we can fail to recognize our inherent dignity for many reasons. A woman who sees herself as somehow less valuable or special than others because she was conceived in rape needs the steadfast affirmation and love of others to help her to realize the great dignity that is present in her no matter how she came into this world.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 8:49 AM


Hey hey, Pansy! My new friend.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 8:49 AM


These are tricky things. I enjoy thinking about them.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 8:47 AM

Hee hee. Well, apparently a bunch of old celibate men in Rome enjoying doing likewise!
I guess I am coming to the realization that the catholic Church cares more about theories than how Catholics actually live their lives.

Good thing we have separtion of church and state!

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 8:56 AM


======So the couple has to rely on the help of a petri dish to conceive their child. This does not mean that their child was not created out of their love (and their egg and sperm). ======

Actually, Virginia, it has everything to do with love. IVF is based on selfishness. The love of self, and the determination to do whatever it takes to have your "own" child, is what led to the creation of this abomination. For IVF, women are violated at least twice by scientists (to extract eggs and then implant embryos, using needing a few attempts before success) after first taking gobs of hormones to encourage the maturing of multiple eggs. The man, meanwhile, masturbates, often induced by pornographic movies or magazines (oh yeah, lots of love there). Then after you have your one perfect baby (or twins or triplets), you leave the rest of your children in a freezer for someone else to deal with.

Love?!?! Only of self, and of the desire to create your notion of the "ideal" life. Certainly not love for your spouse (in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, remember) and not love for the "excess children."

Now, I fully expect you to jump on me and accuse me of being so harsh on those couples suffering from infertility. I don't blame the couples as much as the slick marketing of IVF centers and the modern culture's promotion of "if you want it you deserve it, and it doesn't matter how you get it." These centers present themselves as a "loving" way to give your spouse what you can't give naturally (a child). They take advantage of the emotions and fears of a couple during a difficult time and make lots of money. They twist and warp the noble desire to have a child and feed the ego to convince to you that what is truly bad is "good".

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 9:01 AM


Wow, that's a whole lot of hate there Michael. And misconceptions.

Look, I know people who have had IVF and what you say is nothing further from their truth. I have one very good friend in particular who had IVF and saw what she went through to have two of her children. Selfishness? Abomination? Slick marketing? Bad? Violated by science? OMG she and her husband would howl at those, especiallly the last one (they are both PhD scientist).

You have no idea.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:11 AM


Just because the act of getting jiggy was absent doesn't mean the [IVF] process is without dignity and love

Asitis, do you really believe there is no difference between the dignity of loving sexual union as compared to putting a sperm and egg together in a petri dish?

If so, I suggest that most people, if they think about it, do see a big difference between these two.

Sexual union itself has an inherent meaning. It is an action full of meaning. In a proper context (spouses who love each other), the meaning of this act is "I give myself fully, completely to you--I love you and give myself to you." They are speaking this to each other mutually, through the built-in symbolism of marital intercourse.

There is no corresponding symbolic meaning to the act of using lab equipment to get an egg and a sperm to join in a petri dish.

I would agree that IVF itself does not necessarily mean that the spouses don't love each other. They may love each other very much. But, the meaning of the act itself simply does not have the profound meaning of natural intercourse.

In other areas of life we have no problem seeing the difference between the inherent meaning of human physical gestures and less human, technical acts. Is a physical, in-person hug between friends just the same in significance as saying hello on facebook? Technological processes simply have no ability to carry the human meaning that is woven into truly and thoroughly human, personal acts. And what more profound and deeply human, personal act is there than a husband and wife giving themselves to each other in love, freely, in the marital embrace? [Dying for another? Martyrdom?]

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 9:21 AM


"Well, apparently a bunch of old celibate men in Rome enjoying doing likewise!"

Yes. This is a good argument for why old celibate men SHOULD be making these kinds of decisions; because they are not emotionally and personally involved in such a situation. Hence they can look at it from an objective POV without thinking about their own personal, subjective "feelings" while those of us who are married or have children etc. look at it from too subjective and emotional a standpoint. We need an outside, third party who will not be swayed by emotion to use reason and logic to come to a correct decision about these kinds of questions.

"I guess I am coming to the realization that the catholic Church cares more about theories than how Catholics actually live their lives."

But no, they care very much. I mean, if your children are rebellious and go out every night and refuse to listen to you, what can you do? They try and do everything they can to discipline them, but people refuse for the Church to have any say in their lives. No matter, the Church will continue to preach how to live and people will continue to rebel. Sunrise, sunset. :)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 9:37 AM


Yes Michael, I honestly believe that for couple that needs IVF to have a child of their own, there is no difference between the dignity of loving sexual union and putting a sperm and egg together in a petri dish. And I think that most people do in fact feel the same way I do about this.

As for the symbolic meaning to the act? I would hazzard a guess that while the egg and sperm are introduced to each other back at the lab, the parents are back at home in their bed having sweet, loving sex and hoping that they are on their way to becoming new parents and dreaming of the day they will bring their baby home.

How's that for a symbolic act?

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:37 AM


Sorry, my comment at 9:37 was for Scott.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:38 AM


But no, they care very much. I mean, if your children are rebellious and go out every night and refuse to listen to you, what can you do? They try and do everything they can to discipline them, but people refuse for the Church to have any say in their lives. No matter, the Church will continue to preach how to live and people will continue to rebel. Sunrise, sunset. :)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 9:37 AM

Bobby, when you your children are older you may learn that it's not just about "disciplining
them". Certainly boundaries and consequences are very important. But if all you do is preach to them and don't listen to their reality and work with them you will not be able to help them because they will not be honest with you. This I know.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:43 AM


The ideal is that a new human person comes into existence through the loving union of a husband and his wife.

Okay, but does falling short of the ideal mean that a situation is unworthy of the dignity of human life? Because I'm pretty sure that MOST of what we do falls short of the ideals we set for ourselves, or believe God has set for us. Maybe it's just an issue of semantics, but I would never feel justified in calling another person's conception 'unworthy of dignity.'

As I said, I don't even support IVF. I don't want to see it criminalized or anything but I'm uncomfortable with it, mostly for reasons already discussed. I just am really not cool with labeling various forms of coming into being as being dignified or undignified. What is the purpose of such labels?

Posted by: Alexandra at February 4, 2009 9:44 AM


Waves at Bobby. :)

I hope this doesn't sound horribly judgmental, but do you think this woman did this on purpose as a way to make a few dollars to get her own show, like John and Kate Plus 8 or 17 Kids and Counting?

Posted by: Pansy Moss at February 4, 2009 9:47 AM


I wouldn't rule out that possibility Pansy!

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:50 AM


No, Virginia, I know couples who have struggled over infertility, and one of my brothers got divorced in large part because of it (she wanted to explore further technologies like IVF and my brother said no; she desparately wanted that baby). I have witnessed the pain and the hurt.

However, there are too many anecdotes of people using IVF and cryogenic egg storage because they want to focus on their career now and still have their family later. Sorry, this isn't love, but selfishness and wanting complete control over their lives. The truth is, we don't have control over our lives, and we don't have the right to create and manipulate life to fit our desires.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 9:52 AM


Ok, so I'm going to throw my hat into the ring here regarding Snowflake adoption.

I 100% disagree with the priests who say that we should simply let the children die. If we can give these children a chance at life, we should. Perhaps a better situation would be to adopt out the remaining children who are frozen and then ban the practice of creating excess embryos. It simply does not seem "pro-life" to allow these children to die when there is a way that we can help them live.

Posted by: Lauren at February 4, 2009 10:36 AM


Okay, but does falling short of the ideal mean that a situation is unworthy of the dignity of human life?

Good question, Alexandra. I would point out in response that there is a difference between trying to do right and falling short of the mark (which we do often), and deciding in advance to do something that we know is not right. The first is human, the latter is immoral.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 10:41 AM


But no, they care very much. I mean, if your children are rebellious and go out every night and refuse to listen to you, what can you do? They try and do everything they can to discipline them, but people refuse for the Church to have any say in their lives. No matter, the Church will continue to preach how to live and people will continue to rebel. Sunrise, sunset. :)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 9:37 AM


Bobby, that reminds me of a homily I once heard. The priest said that the Church is exactly like a father. Sometimes you don't like what your father tells you to do but he always wants what's best for you. And, at some point, you do realize he was right. Hopefully for most of us that point comes before death.

Posted by: Kristen at February 4, 2009 11:19 AM


Lauren @10:36,

It is not the ideal, to be sure, to know that a certain action will lead to someone's death. I guess the argument behind it is that unless something like an artificial womb is constructed, there is no way for the embryo to implant without again violating natural law. The right to life is not a right to live by any means necessary. The means to live must be morally acceptable, too.

I'm also uncomfortable with the notion of an artificial womb. First, I just can't see such a creation exisiting. I mean, from my wife's pregnancies, the 24-hour nuturing and caring for our daughters while they developed, providing just the right nutrition at all times, the immunities passed to the child in the womb, mitochondrial RNA, it can't be replicated. Besides, who/what will the baby bond to while in the "womb?" There won't be the mother's voice, the hearbeat, even simulated, nothing. I would be seriously worried about a child who did manage to survive a artificial womb from the embryonic stage. It's never going to happen, but even in a sci-fi world, the results would be pretty frightening.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 11:21 AM


Ann Elise,

That is such a wonderful story! God works in such wonderful ways, doesn't He?

One of my mom's brothers and his wife were having trouble conceiving, so they set to work to prepare to adopt a child. A few months later, they found out she was indeed pregnant, but they still went ahead with the adoption. The result was that I have two cousins that are the same age, just a few months apart. A few years later, they had another son.


Posted by: LizFromNebraska at February 4, 2009 11:51 AM


I guess the argument behind it is that unless something like an artificial womb is constructed, there is no way for the embryo to implant without again violating natural law. The right to life is not a right to live by any means necessary.

In what way does it violate natural law that almost all life-saving medical miracles don't?

If my father was dying, and somehow I could save his life by hooking him up to my body for a year and, I don't know, sharing my blood and nutrients with him or whatever, until his body created a new nutrition/immune system by working with mine -- would that violate the same natural law? Or no?

Sorry I'm responding only to snips and pieces. I'm having a hectic day at work but I find the discussion too compelling to turn away from it entirely, so I keep jumping in and then jumping back out again.

Posted by: Alexandra at February 4, 2009 12:09 PM


Sometimes you don't like what your father tells you to do but he always wants what's best for you. And, at some point, you do realize he was right. Hopefully for most of us that point comes before death.

Posted by: Kristen at February 4, 2009 11:19 AM

I wonder how many fathers there are out there who have lost their children and now wish they had been more aware of what their children were going through at the time so they could have helped.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 12:17 PM


Alexandra @12:09pm

And what about if he needed an organ transplant. You probably give hima kidney if he needed it.

Are you against that Michael? Do organ transplants violate a natural law of yours as well?

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 12:21 PM


Hey there Alexandra.

"In what way does it violate natural law that almost all life-saving medical miracles don't? "

The term "natural law" there simply refers to those moral laws governing all of mankind which are universal in all times and places. (If one is a moral relativist, one does not believe such a law exists.) So your example of your father would not violate the natural law. These are things like you shouldn't murder, or steal, or lie etc. Some points are debatable as to whether or not the violate the natural law, which I suppose is what we're discussing here. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 12:24 PM


What about organ transplants Bobby?

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 12:39 PM


Alexandra,

The common objection to discussions of natural law is to say that it wouldn't allow for any medical technology, but that is a misunderstanding of natural law. (See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm for an admittedly dense but good explanation of the Catholic meaning of natural law.) Natural law deals with reason and knowledge of right and wrong, not what would happen in a solely natural state.

In the situation you described, you are volunteering to donate blood and nutrients, that's all. Blood donation is good and admirable, when done voluntarily. Voluntary donations of blood and organ transplants don't violate natural law because they don't reduce either person in the equation to a commodity. The full dignity of being human is respected. With snowflake adoption, the act of implantation is the act that violates natural law, not respecting the inherent privacy and integrity, so to speak, of the womb from a completely foreign being. In the worst case scenario, the woman's womb becomes a commodity and not the nuturing home of biological offspring.

I am having trouble describing this fully, in part because I am a very poor apologist and also because I know the answer to this is not definitive. I do know that, should the Church declare snowflake adoptions to be morally licit, it will still be only under stringent, rare conditions.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 12:47 PM


"What about organ transplants Bobby? "

Right. The problem is that there's this equivocation going on when one sees the word "natural." The phrase "natural law" is a technical term that should not evoke a sense of "nothing artificial," which is what I think some people think of when they see the word "natural" and hence when they see the phrase "natural law." But the two should not be confused.

So to answer your question, no, there is nothing wrong with an organ transplant.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 12:48 PM


God love you, Bobby, I should have known you would come in with a much better explanation while I was laboring on and on. I'm glad to see you back, buddy.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 12:49 PM


And what exactly puts IVF on this list of things breaking "natural" laws, along with murder, theft, dishonesty?

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 12:52 PM


The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as a treatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood

Hi Bobby:
To me this says it all - that it is not ethically acceptable to adopt these children because it gives "legitimacy" to the practice of surrogate motherhood.

Michael: your post at 8:15am was most interesting!

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 12:54 PM


So to answer your question, no, there is nothing wrong with an organ transplant.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 12:48 PM

gotta disagree with you there bud! depends upon how the donor organs are obtained. yes?

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 12:58 PM


Toostunned,

Yes, you are right, the organs have to be donated in a morally valid manner. I don't think Bobby was thinking about harvesting from death row prisoners!

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 1:00 PM


Right toostunned. I think everyone would agree (especially since it's in our best interest) that it's wrong to drug someone and take a kidney against their will. yep, that's just wrong

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 1:01 PM


====I think everyone would agree ...that it's wrong to drug someone and take a kidney against their will. yep, that's just wrong

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 1:01 PM====

D'oh! Come on, Virginia, you have two of them...

:)

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 1:08 PM


I guess my issue is that even though there is a violation of natural law occuring to allow these children to live, not violating the law forces them to die.

The situation really boils down to how far we will violate natural law in order to maintain life. Obviously there is a point where we say "no, that's not right" as if we were to beging killing people in order for others to win. It's definitely a balancing act, but I really think that allowing snowflake adoption comes down on the side of acceptability.

Posted by: Lauren at February 4, 2009 1:10 PM


Yeah, but I wanna keep one to sell Michael c);)

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 1:14 PM


Ha Michael! I'm just bum.

And very good, toostunned, I often like to be as precise as possible, and you caught me this time when I wasn't! Mwahahahaha!

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 1:15 PM


In the situation you described, you are volunteering to donate blood and nutrients, that's all. Blood donation is good and admirable, when done voluntarily. Voluntary donations of blood and organ transplants don't violate natural law because they don't reduce either person in the equation to a commodity. The full dignity of being human is respected. With snowflake adoption, the act of implantation is the act that violates natural law, not respecting the inherent privacy and integrity, so to speak, of the womb from a completely foreign being. In the worst case scenario, the woman's womb becomes a commodity and not the nuturing home of biological offspring.

Thank you for the explanation -- and Bobby, too. But I'm still not seeing a difference, really. I mean, if a woman voluntarily offers up the use of her womb, to an embryo that would otherwise die, and she is not paid for it or anything -- she does it just to save a life that would otherwise be lost -- then how is that different from someone voluntarily donating the use of their blood or kidney or whatever?

Posted by: Alexandra at February 4, 2009 1:19 PM


well it wasn't that I was "catching" you! It's just that even live organ donation is not without it's ethical quandries. Many persons have donated a kidney only to have their remaining organ fail. There are risks that are tangible.

Michael! I wasn't suggesting Mr. Bambino was out to off some prisoners for their organs!! :-D
I'm concerned with brain death criteria etc here.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 1:19 PM


Lauren,

To add to the complexity of this issue, not only does snowflake adoption will a good end like IVF, but unlike IVF, what we might call the "secondary mean" (to distinguish it from the primary means of the actual implantation in the laboratory which is the real crux of the debate) is a supererogatory work, an almost heroic work in which the woman carries a baby to term and saves his life even though it is not her own. That is extremely noble; it is basically self-sacrificial.

This is what makes it SO difficult to even consider embryo adoption as being evil. A wonderful end, a wonderful "secondary" means, but what about the primary means of the act?

So I just wanted to share all that. I don't have a real concluding point. As long as the Church leaves it as an open question, I don't have a very strong opinion one way or another. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 1:23 PM


Alexandra @1:19,

That really is the $64,000 question. Like I said, the Church has wisely not issued a blanket prohibition on embryo adoption. She is wrestling with it, and your position is definitely being considered. I think the biggest drawback is the invasive nature of implantation. I'm not 100% convinced one way or the other, but I can see the consistency in saying "no" as well as the compassionate appeal of saying "yes." Either way, step #1 is to stop creating test tube/petri dish babies.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 1:30 PM


"But I'm still not seeing a difference, really. I mean, if a woman voluntarily offers up the use of her womb, to an embryo that would otherwise die, and she is not paid for it or anything -- she does it just to save a life that would otherwise be lost -- then how is that different from someone voluntarily donating the use of their blood or kidney or whatever"

Alexandra, to be honest, I think that a NECESSARY condition for someone to believe that embryo adoption is wrong is that they already reject contraception as gravely immoral. The argument (or at least AN argument) against embryo adoption most fundamentally argues that it violates and undermines the marital act of the ADOPTING couple. And so if one has no problem with contraception, then even if they agreed that there was a logically valid argument to say that embryo adoption violated the marital act, it would be a moot point. And there are many people who DO think contraception is immoral but who still are not convinced that embryo adoption is wrong. It is something right now (at least in Catholic theology) that very good Catholics can disagree about.

I guess my point is that I would not expect anyone who regards contraception as morally licit to find in problem with embryo adoption. Indeed, many who find contraception morally illicit see no problem in embryo adoption. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 1:31 PM


Yup, exactly Michael.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 1:32 PM


The argument (or at least AN argument) against embryo adoption most fundamentally argues that it violates and undermines the marital act of the ADOPTING couple.

yes, which is maybe why the Vatican lumped it in with artificial heterologous procreation and "any form of surrogate motherhood"??

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 1:42 PM


For all this talk, it remains that it only applies to Catholics. Not to mention how many Catholics actually follow it?????? It's kind of academic, isn't it?

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 1:48 PM


Jill's not Catholic, yet the moral reasoning behind the Church's opposition to IVF is what ultimately convinced her (and many others, I am sure) that IVF is wrong.

There are areas where scientific possibility has created gaps that ethics/morality have not yet addressed. Consider organ donation 50 years ago, Virginia. There were huge debates over whether such a practice was licit. The question "should we?" will often lag "can we?," though in other areas, the "should we?" is known ahead of time and debated (cloning). The latter is healthier for humanity.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 1:58 PM


Sure Michael, but the truly useful debates are those held outside the Vatican.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 2:05 PM


Like where, Virginia? Name some locations.

Meanwhile, there are annual Catholic bioethics conferences held in the United States and in Rome, and I'm sure elsewhere around the world. As much as you dislike the Catholic Church, do you realize that it is still quite influential, don't you?

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 2:14 PM


I don't know about "quite" influential Michael when most of its own don't follow its teachings.
And so much of what I hear in this blog from catholics runs counter to what our laws are and how people live.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 2:19 PM


"Sure Michael, but the truly useful debates are those held outside the Vatican."

Well, really all debates are useless because in 5 billion or so years, the sun will burn out and mankind will become extinct and at that point, nothing we will have ever done will make the slightest bit of difference because all of us and all our children and children's children and all mankind will cease to exist. So really, there is no such thing as a useful debate in any ultimate sense.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 2:19 PM


True that Bobby. Double true. If we are lucky.

But, I was refering to "useful" in the here, the now, and not so distant future.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 2:23 PM


Well, it's useful for me and Michael and TSTL :) How bout THAT for the here and now????????


(golly, I'm glad I find myself amusing, because I can't imagine anyone else does...)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 2:26 PM


Meanwhile, there are annual Catholic bioethics conferences held in the United States and in Rome, and I'm sure elsewhere around the world. As much as you dislike the Catholic Church, do you realize that it is still quite influential, don't you?

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 2:14 PM

and in fact, some cutting edge bioethical discussions are going on within the Pontifical Academy for Life and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

Professor Lucretta Scaraffia who is VP of the Italian Association for Science and Life and a member of the Italian National Committee on Bio-Ethics (not exactly the Vatican!) has questioned the criteria for organ donation which is "brain death".
So the Vatican, it's scientific orgs and other independent medical organizations with a vested academic interest in these bioethical questions, are all involved.

These organizations are not invested politically or financially and are interested in seeking the truth and what maintains the respect for dignity of person and life.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 2:34 PM


(golly, I'm glad I find myself amusing, because I can't imagine anyone else does...)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at February 4, 2009 2:26 PM

no comment! :-D

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 4, 2009 2:37 PM


golly don't worry bobby-lots of people love you AND find you amusing. No doubt.


Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 2:50 PM


The most succinct argument against IVF I ever heard was: "We should not freeze human beings"

Posted by: AnnE at February 4, 2009 3:16 PM


I wonder how many fathers there are out there who have lost their children and now wish they had been more aware of what their children were going through at the time so they could have helped.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 12:17 PM

What do you mean? It sounds like you're talking about suicide. I think you would be hard pressed to blame a parent for a child's suicide, obviously they weren't in their right mind. And so many times suicides are under psychiatric care when they attempt it.

If you aren't referring to suicide, just a falling out, assuming the father is not negligent often it's because the child doesn't want to hear the truth. In the case of drugs or alcohol for instance, if the father tries an intervention and the child won't do it should the father continue to support the child's lifestyle? He's doing his child no good doing that. Again, he knows what's best for the child and the child doesn't want to hear it, just like many in the Church.

Posted by: Kristen at February 4, 2009 3:53 PM


I think I would feel differently if she had a husband. These kids weren't conceived in love, they were made in a lab to make the mother's dreams of having a huge family. Not to even mention the huge practical difficulties of raising 14 (!!!) kids alone. I don't mean that a single mom is automatically a bad mom -- I know too many strong women to think that for a second! -- but babies need a family, not a media career.

Posted by: Meg at February 4, 2009 4:04 PM


Ahhhh....God has his hand on his chin, he's looking at us and saying "they just don't get it!"! If God has allowed these children to be born, they already have been planned by the Great Almighty himself. If he didn't want them to be born do you not think he has the power to not allow them to be born! Praise God for these beautiful little lives. I pray for strength and courage and God's blessings to their mother, their extended family and these precious new lives. Matthew 7:1-6 says it all....starting with "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you.

Posted by: Mary Ann at February 4, 2009 6:27 PM


Kristen, I wasn't talking about suicide.

You don't want to enable your children to do something wrong or harmful, but you also don't make them stop stop talking with you and being honest and feeling that they can come to you for help.

That's what I meant.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 6:36 PM


IVF does not diminish this life, but rather attacks and slimes its inherent beauty and worth. Because humans are so special/valuable in themselves, they ought never be conceived in the unloving confines of a glass petri dish.

Okay, I pretty much understand the "natural law" idea, and I can understand opposing IVF because of discarded embryos or even a distaste for the perceived issues of entitlement (which I find hard to buy as a motive for most couples because of the huge financial and time investment), but I really don't get the paragraph above.

The whole point of IVF and pregnancy is to start a new human life. What's with the scorecard? It reminds me of the old stereotype from women's movies about the woman who had a child because she wanted to fulfill all her "possibilities as a woman."

Conception and pregnancy are necessary steps on the path to life, but they're a pretty small part of who you are. It's what you do with your life that matters, not how you're conceived.

Posted by: Terezia at February 4, 2009 6:38 PM


Years and years ago, when my parents were trying to get pregnant with me, they looked into IVF. My mom told the doctors she just wanted to create two or three embryos and implant all of them, but they wouldn't consider it. They wouldn't do it unless my parents created a whole bunch of embryos, more than they wanted to implant. If everything is supposed to be about "choice", then why the heck wouldn't they let my parents choose to just make a few embryos?

Posted by: Marauder at February 4, 2009 7:27 PM


How come the IVF families cannot adopt children, like Chinese girls who would be aborted or killed, or kids in Africa abandoned by AIDS? IVF can lead to abuses (including designer babies) and is another form of narcicism...I am 47 and have no children, but we have 3 autistic members of the family, and if I were married, I could have justified by society's standards testing and implanting "normal" embryos...Just a cleaner form of Mengele...Children are not a right. George Washington never had any.

Posted by: EMC at February 4, 2009 8:49 PM


Banning IVF isn't realistic, but some modest restrictions that are common in other countries would go a long way toward curbing the practice. One is to prohibit payment to "donors" of sperm and eggs. Another is to end their anonymity. In other words, children begotten with third-party gametes should have the right to know who their biological parents are, just like adopted children do.

Posted by: HuckFinn at February 4, 2009 9:00 PM


That's the way to go Huck Finn! I'd suggest strict guidelines on the number of embryos that can be implanted at a time, particularly if none are going to be aborted if they all "take". That would avoid another case like this woman's.

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:15 PM


Terezia, even though I wrote the paragraph you mention above (at 6:38 pm) as puzzling, I sympathize.

To some extent this may be one of those areas in which we have to say, seemingly inadequately, that it's just something that you either see or don't see.

I am not saying this is entirely the case, but, I do think there is an element here of the mystery and sublimity of the human person that at some point reaches beyond what we can nail down firmly with our meager words. However I'll try to add a little bit more, admitting that this is probably still inadequate.

Constitutive of my attitude toward the dignity of human conception and that it should not be done in an artificial way that separates it from the marital embrace of a husband and wife, are the following points. This may help a little bit to understand more where I am coming from:

1. The human being begins its life--and thus gains full possession of inherent dignity as a unique human life--at the moment it becomes a new and unique human organism distinct from its mother and father. This is a matter of biology (not theology), and describes the formation of the human zygote--the single-celled, new human being that results very shortly after fertilization. So, in my view, the presence of the inherent dignity of every human being during his life on earth spans from the beginning of life as a zygote, to the last moment before death (whenever that may be).

2. The source of this inherent dignity that makes every human being--simply because he is a human being (no matter what age or condition)--worthy of the highest reverence, respect, esteem, protection, and care--is God. All human persons (from the first moment of existence) are created deliberately by God. The mother and father, through their sexual union, participate with God in what is ultimately His creative power to bring new human life into being. All human persons are created by God because He loves each of them uniquely as His children. All human persons are created in the image of God. No other creature on earth has this special dignity. We are spiritually "stamped" with a divine mark, as coming from, tending toward, and reflecting (in some ways not in all) God; nothing can take this away.

3. As I hinted at in no. 2, human beings are unique on earth in possessing the dignity that we have as images of God, created by Him with a special care and love that is unique to us as human beings. All of creation, indeed, is loved by God. But, among His creation, only persons (and among earth's creatures only human beings are persons) are loved by God in the full and complete sense of what love is.

4. Every human person is the sort of being who, given adequate time and nurturing, along with the help of grace, can come to personally know and love God and desire to be with Him forever. Rocks and plants are not capable of knowing and loving God as human beings can. Indeed, the deepest yearnings and desires of the human heart can only be fully satisfied by union with the love and life of God Himself. ("Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee" --St. Augustine) This thirst for the divine present in our souls is another manifestation of our awesome dignity as human beings. The living seeds of this desire are already present in a one-celled human being. It's just that each human being has to be at a certain stage in his lifelong development before he can become personally cognizant of and appreciate the greatness of this God-inspired and God-directed desire that lies within the core of our being. (The flower, in a real sense, is present in a germinating seed even before it comes into bloom)

5. The ultimate purpose of all human life (of all human beings individually and corporately) is given to us by God, our creator. We do not give ourselves our own ultimate or final purpose. Corresponding to this, is that we are created by God with genuine free will and the ability to reason (and thus may truly understand and own our own personal human acts). This, again, provides an incredible depth and substance to human dignity, for it is a more sublime dignity to be able to freely embrace and return God's love, than to merely receive it without the possibility of actively accepting it and returning it in freedom as an individual person who truly owns his own human acts.

6. God arranged the world in such a way that every human being--this creature with such high dignity and transcendent purpose--should come into existence in a context worthy of the nobility He has given to human life. This context is: that human beings should appear on the stage of existence through a loving spiritual-and-physical union of a husband and wife, and, further, that the only physical place adequate to the special worth of each new human life as it begins the earliest stages of its fragile life is the womb of its mother.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 9:21 PM


Ideally, we should limit the number of embryos created (not just impanted) at one time, but that would be a hard sell in our consumer culture.

Posted by: HuckFinn at February 4, 2009 9:22 PM


And also not everyone has the same beliefs Huck.

(I like your name BTW)

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:27 PM


I believe, with all my soul that The Lord, the ancient of days, the one who sits on the throne, (because WE DO NOT,)will grant children to those He wishes, and if He does not then that is His will. IVF shouldn't be legal. It is one more way to "go around" God. If the desire of your heart is to have your own children, and you have no way of having them naturally, even if you have no uterus, and God wants to grant your prayer request, then He will. He can, he is God. If He doesn't, submit, His ways are higher than yours.

Posted by: Natasha at February 4, 2009 9:29 PM


I am not going to say a word.....

Posted by: asitis at February 4, 2009 9:35 PM


Thanks, Scott, for the thoughtful and well-written explanation. I appreciate it.

I think you're right that one either sees it or doesn't. I'm agnostic and have a hard time fully understanding a lot of Christian beliefs, even when I follow the logic.

Mostly what I see in this situation is that you just hope your baby reaches birth as safely as possible, which is when the real living and experiencing for them begins. Being in utero is just a small time along the way and is probably the least interesting time we experience in life, no matter how we were conceived.

Posted by: Terezia at February 4, 2009 9:52 PM


All of the above (at 9:21 pm) is relevant to how I think about the inherent dignity of every human being.

So, perhaps this could be boiled down to say that we are uniquely special creatures on earth because we are God's in a special way--a way not shared by any other earthly being. And, we ought to take seriously the special manner and place in which God designed that human beings begin their life. Because He is our creator, He gets to say how we are to come into the world. And what is this? We can see it if we look at nature because it is God's design. He wrote His preference into our nature--the marital embrace is the manner; the human womb is the place.

And please note that just because we have been able to use our minds to figure out how to make medical technology and processes that enable us to conceive human life in a manner and place outside this original design of God written into nature, it does not follow that it is morally good to do so. This is clear when we recognize that there are lots of things that we have figured out how to do by our mental ingenuity that are, nevertheless, evil. The mere fact that we have discovered how do so something by the use of our human intellect is not a sufficient basis to call something morally good. This point should be obvious without listing many possible examples to illustrate. God allows us to do many things--evil as well as good--because He made us free. He does not approve of immoral acts, yet, he permits them if we set our minds to do them (and there are always painful consequences to immoral acts, realized sooner or later). We are not unself-possessed automatons; We are self-possessed persons. With true personal freedom comes the real possibility of acting in ways that contradict our inherent dignity as well as in ways that correspond to it.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 9:52 PM


Virginia,

Why should IVF be permissible? Not as a follow-up to any other posting, but you are asking us to defend why something wrong is wrong. However, since IVF is not the normal, natural state, there must be an argument or philosophy that explains why this experimentation with human life, which is what IVF fundamentally is, is okay. Do you have any explanations? I'm not asking for a six point explanation like Scott's or Bobby (though that would be nice), but I would like to hear your thoughts on why the steps between A (natural conception) and Z (IVF) are permissible.

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 10:13 PM


I hope whoever is still monitoring this thread will forgive me for one more comment. . . .

Sometimes Christians are accused (agnostics or atheists seem most likely to do this) of a kind of inappropriate womb-worship because of the way some of us privilege the womb as the only place proper for the beginning of human life.

I want merely to note that we do not worship the womb (to do so would be a pagan thing not a Christian thing) when we point out that the womb is the place God designed for the particular role of bringing new human life into the world. God loves human beings in a special and privileged way among all the earth. He would not provide anything less than a very special place for the hidden realm wherein He would lovingly "knit together" (see Psalm 139) the fragile and beautiful beginnings of every human being. There is no impropriety in drawing attention to this beautiful truth.

Indeed, without being inappropriate, I think that the womb certainly is a part of creation worthy of particular reverence because it is literally a three-dimensional living canvas in which the master artist of the universe lovingly forms and brings to life His greatest and most cherished creations. Would it be strange to suggest the womb is like a specially designed studio, perfectly suited for what the master artist who designed it intends to create there?

Only one place was made by God for the purpose of sheltering and nurturing nascent human lives. He could have made various other places. But he made only one: the womb. This is the place He made in which He might reach down and bestow His divine creative power upon the spiritual-physical union of husband and wife. It seems almost crazy to me to suggest the idea that an inert, non-living object such as a glass dish in a lab is just as appropriate a canvas for God's creative power to touch as the living womb of a woman, who is herself precious to and beloved by God.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at February 4, 2009 10:53 PM


I think if IVF is banned than eye glasses should be also. Both use technology to get around a natural disability.

And to those who say people should just adopt instead of seeking treatment. I suggest they try to adopt instead and see the pain of having to shell out thousands of dollars and spend years on waiting lists only to have the birth mother change her mind.

I'm also a bit shocked to see conservatives condemn the free market. The US has the most effective egg donation system in the world because the government stays out of it. Outlawing compensation to women who donate would cripple it. If Europe's ban on compensation worked better people wouldn't come from all over the world to the US for donor eggs.

Posted by: Ava at February 5, 2009 12:04 AM


Ava,
Conservative also means realizing things like children and human eggs should not be bought and sold.

Posted by: truthseeker at February 5, 2009 12:29 AM


Why should IVF be permissible?

Posted by: Michael at February 4, 2009 10:13 PM

In a nutshell, I see no reason why it shouldn't. Certainly there are religious reasons why people oppose it but those don't apply to all.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 6:34 AM


Virginia,

So anything at all is permissible? Why can't you drug someone and steal one of their kidneys? What makes it wrong?

Posted by: Michael at February 5, 2009 7:31 AM


Michael, (sigh) that's obvious.... because you are taking the kidney against their will. Quite different from me giving a kidney to someone. Quite different from IVF.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 7:35 AM


I'm not trying to be ridiculous. I'm trying to see why, in your view, X may be wrong and Y may be okay. "I don't see anything wrong with it" is frankly a pretty shallow rationale to permit a technique that is manipulating human life. Most of us here who oppose IVF has offered a constructed defense originating from our views of the meaning and purpose of human life and its origin. I would like to see the pro-IVF equivalent.

And Ava @12:04, you aren't even comparing apples and oranges. Glasses, which involve neither the creation, manipulation, or destruction of human life, and IVF? Even should we start from your ridiculous premise that the end is the same in both purposes (to get around physical impediments), ends do not justify the means.

Posted by: Michael at February 5, 2009 8:38 AM


Michael your defense, constructed as it is, is based on religious beliefs.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 8:41 AM


http://www.parentdish.com/2009/02/02/octuplet-mom-looks-for-tv-career-as-child-expert/

Posted by: Pansy Moss at February 5, 2009 8:51 AM


Most of us here who oppose IVF has offered a constructed defense originating from our views of the meaning and purpose of human life and its origin. I would like to see the pro-IVF equivalent.

@Michael: Perhaps that's because there is no equivalent. IVF is a totally mercenary procedure. It meets a need - the need to have a child at all cost - even when the cost might be injuring the very child they so desperately want.
I think we belong to a time where everything, every action is directed towards a person's self-fulfilment regardless of the consequences to others. We never ask ourselves why or should we. We pretty much do as we please, and the devil take the hindmost.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 5, 2009 8:52 AM


It meets a need - the need to have a child at all cost - even when the cost might be injuring the very child they so desperately want

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 5, 2009 8:52 AM

Patricia M., your comment was really directed at me so I will take the liberty of addressing it.

That's a crock. There is a risk of "injuring the child" if you have multiples just as there is with natural multiples. That is why there need to be restrictions placed on that.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 9:52 AM


XPPC: Be fruitful and replenish the earth. It doesn't need to be all at once.

Ha! Made me laugh there.

Posted by: Doug at February 5, 2009 10:02 AM


Doug: I think it's suppose to be be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth!
But I think we get the gist of it! :-D

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 5, 2009 10:04 AM


=====Michael your defense, constructed as it is, is based on religious beliefs. =====

Only because faith and reason are directly tied to each other. 99% of the defense is based on natural law- knowable through reason. The fact that the Catholic Church's teachings are directly tied to natural law does not diminish natural law. By the way, your response to why drugging a person to steal a kidney is wrong is also directly connected to natural law.

Your response is essentially that my rationale is based on religious view and is therefore automatically to be discarded. That still builds no explanation as to why it is okay.

I'm 100% serious here. Offer a proof or evidence that proves IVF is morally permissible. Attacking my philosophical leanings does not prove a thing. Defend IVF if you can.

Posted by: Michael at February 5, 2009 10:44 AM


It should be permissible quite simply because there is no reason for it not to be.

Your reasoning is based on the beliefs that God exists, he id the one who creates each individual life and that he doesn't want you messing with that. Not everyone shares that belief.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 10:51 AM


Only because faith and reason are directly tied to each other. 99% of the defense is based on natural law- knowable through reason. The fact that the Catholic Church's teachings are directly tied to natural law does not diminish natural law.

In fact this is one situation where our faith which tells us that this using of IVF might be wrong is actually supported not only by reason but by observable data!

If you read JP II he states that reason NEEDS the guidance of faith in order to consider pathways to truth that might be ignored.

Michael: have you read "The Genius of JP II" by Richard Spinello. It's very good. I think you would enjoy it.

Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at February 5, 2009 10:51 AM


Toostunnded, I have not read it. I will see if I can find time to pick up a copy.

Asitis, I don't even know where to begin with your answer. It's almost circular reasoning, but it doesn't even complete a loop. Anyone else want to try to build a defense of IVF?

Posted by: Michael at February 5, 2009 11:16 AM


Michael. It is not circular reasoning. Maybe that's why the loop is incomplete. Oh......

If you are not going to permit something there has to be a reason to not permit it. There is no reason.

Yes, it's THAT simple.

Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 12:42 PM


I'm also against ivf, however that doesn't make me wish people who were born through ivf to not have been born. I'm all for people having babies, I just think it's a disorderly way to have children. It's very much like my beliefs towards having children before getting married. I think it's a disorderly (not how God intended it to happen) but that doesn't mean I want those mothers to abort their babies! Either way I'm happy when despite the way it happened, the innocents aren't harmed. Also, I love and hold very dearly several people who were born out of wedlock, and one who was born through ivf. Jill, you're not alone and you make sense.

Posted by: Germaine at February 5, 2009 3:11 PM


Pardon me, but could someone tell me how to space out my future messages so that I have separate sentences/paragraphs such as the person before me posted? Thanks!

Posted by: Germaine at February 5, 2009 3:13 PM


hi germaine (lovely name btw). Just hit your return or enter key to jump lines.


Posted by: asitis at February 5, 2009 3:44 PM


IVF is terrible because it violates the natural guarantee of a child's right to be born to his or her parents loving each other in a marriage relationship where both parents are committed to the child's welfare. IVF opens up not only the probability of the murder of human individuals (embryos selected for termination), it also opens a horrible can of worms in terms of "marketizing."

I can picture a future where young men and women desperate for college funding sell their cells.

I can picture a horrific future where "snowflake babies" are produced (and "sacrificed")for anything from organ and tissue harvesting to being "produced" like livestock for a sick trade in child sex slavery. Sickos with money the world over salivate over the notion of a child at their mercy. And who would care about that child? Talk about exploitation of the orphan (very antithetical to bible teaching.)

IVF was one more sliding of the bar unlocking Pandora's box.

The days are coming when the artificial womb will be the norm, to spare women the "burdens" of pg/childbirth. And then we shall say to the mountains...

Posted by: Linda C at February 5, 2009 10:47 PM


Only God can create a baby. Doctors do not "implant" embryos into the womb. They TRANSFER embryos. If any or all of these embryos actually implant, it is God who has done the implanting, not the doctors or the mother or anyone else. Likewise, when sperm and egg are combined, either naturally or in a petri dish or even when a sperm is injected into an egg, all eggs do not fertilize. Only God causes fertilization. This woman has 14 children now? So what! There was a time before contraceptives when most families were quite large. Most of us probably would not be here if our ancestors did not have very large families.

Posted by: Linda at February 6, 2009 2:03 AM


Bobby and Michael - you guys are smart, and your comments give me great talking points to convince the millions (it feels) of people I encounter every day who rail against Catholic or similarly-oriented ethics.

Posted by: Francesca at February 6, 2009 3:27 AM


Thank you Asitis!

Posted by: Germaine at February 7, 2009 7:01 PM


Wow, What ignorance here! There are too many people on this planet creating too much polution. Stop breeding! This woman should have her children all taken away from her. It is entirely irresponsible to have additional children when you can't properly take care of the 6 that you have.

What does the Bible say about it? Who cares? The Bible is a bunch of stories that are over 2000 years old. Some of the laws and advice in there might have been fine for the people living in the Middle East at that time, but they bear little relevance today. Please people wake up! The Catholic church wants you to multiply so that they can keep their vampiric/cannibalistic/messiah cult alive and collect more money and keep more power in their hands. People, we live in the 21st Century!

If you can't conceive your own children then adopt some. There are plenty of unwanted children and orphans in the world.

Posted by: Mike at February 9, 2009 9:39 PM


I think it's sick the way the staff that delivered the octuplets are all going for *their 15 mins of fame..all smiles,cutesy poses...get real.It is not about them!They're all accomplices in it if they're going to behave that way.

Posted by: Sondra at February 10, 2009 12:35 AM


I'm an only child too, but I'm waiting for marriage and would want to have babies the normal way. I'll pray for your family though, that your children are taken good care of.

CCC 1652 "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory."

"Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: "It is not good that man should be alone," and "from the beginning [he] made them male and female"; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multiply." Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day."

CCC 2271 "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."

CCC 2368 "A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart."

"The gift of a child

CCC 2373 "Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity."

CCC 2376 "Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."

CCC 2377 "Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children."168 "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person."

CCC 2378 "A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.""

Posted by: voice4life at February 12, 2009 8:01 PM


Nothing gives you THE RIGHT to bear children. Things happen: people break legs, people are born with brown eyes not blue, people marry men who have a Ph factor that prevents them from becvoming pregnant. DEAL WITH IT. thousandsd upon thousands are girls and women abort perfectly healthy babies each year...in countries all over the world, children die of starvation and disease who would live in this country. Yet, in this country, spoiled brat women prefer to have these babies die instead of adopting them and spend MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on unsucessful fertility treatments -- often producting more children that are then killed -- excuse me "redacted" is the "scientific" term. This is insanity. When did a fetus become the same as a carrot or a radish that is to be "thinned out" if there are too many -- and who allowed there to be "too many"? Only the crazy doctors and scientists who care about NO ONE and NOTHING but their own egos and getting their names in medical journals and record books (I know, I was engaged to one and spent a year and a half with a man who ran a residency at UCSF -- caring nad morality weren't even in their vocabulary -- it was ALL ABOUT THEM and making a name for themselves.) No one cared about what would happen to Suleman and her babies --all they wanted was to deliver 8 healthy babies so they could make the record books. End of story. it is WRONG. I have an adopted brother and sister (older than I). What do you think the odds are that, if they had been conceived today, they would ever have lived? I am "pro-choice" -- women hae always had unwanted pregnancies and found ways to terminate them. But it is tragic in a time when we have birth control that abortion should be used as birth control -- and that people no longer even bat an eye when they hear it. The moral issues have not gone away -- they will always be there. And this abuse of this clearly unstable woman is appalling. Their licenses shoud be revoked.

Posted by: sfinsf at February 14, 2009 3:49 PM