A few of the bloggers have broached the difficult subject of in vitro fertilization recently, and I am glad they did. It needs to be talked about. People today are oblivious to the fact that there might be any moral problem with it at all ("Hey, we want a baby, so we will do whatever it takes to get one" is the mentality), and yet it is a moral quagmire!
Imagine the wrenching dilemma of a faithful Catholic priest who is asked by a contrite couple what to do with their many frozen embryos left in limbo after IVF. Embryos which the wife is unable carry to term, and which the couple cannot afford to keep frozen. Here is an excerpt from an article by a priest in our diocese, Fr. Pete Rossa, who faced this very dilemma:
One Sunday morning I was approached by a married couple who wanted me to meet their beautiful twins. The couple was elated that after many attempts to conceive they finally had received twin gifts from God. Still, they were troubled. After a few minutes they revealed that their twins were conceived through multiple attempts at in vitro fertilization; they loved both children and beheld them with pride and joy.
Not until after their children were born did the couple discover that every human embryo is a child according to the Church. They now faced terrible new dilemmas; their first dilemma was that “selective reduction” was utilized so that their twins would survive-- an abortion had occurred. And, without knowing, they incurred excommunication. Their second dilemma was that the wife no longer could carry children to term; yet they had 15 embryos in a cryobank. They didn’t know what to do and asked me for advice. Their strong desire for children led them down an unexpected slippery slope. They felt trapped. They are not alone in their quandary: In 2002, more than 400,000 embryonic children were being stored in the cryobanks in the United States, according to a Rand Corporation study.
The couple I spoke with that Sunday also mentioned that they had suffered severe financial difficulties because of the extreme cost of the multiple in vitro procedures but wouldn’t relent on their need to pay the storage fees as they couldn’t abandon their embryonic children. They were experiencing severe financial difficulties due to the debt they incurred. They expressed concern that if they declared bankruptcy or were unable to pay the storage fees, they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves; they might have to cease paying the storage fees and lose what remaining control they had over the rest of the frozen human embryos.
Physical, economic, spiritual and moral torture is what they were experiencing.
To find out what Fr. Rossa ultimately told them, and to read a deep and detailed analysis of the role IVF in the present Culture of Death, read the whole article here. It is long, but it is so important. Nobody seems to know this or speak of it (outside the Catholic bubble), yet it's a situation that needs to come screaming into the light!
You know, it always astonishes me that even pro-life Christians, who know that life begins at conception, will go the IVF route and not seem to have any problems with producing dozens of embryos (their children!) and then disposing of them. Can someone help me with that? Is it just a mental block? I really want to understand it, because it troubles me greatly.