The Ethics of In Vitro Fertilization, Part 5, by Stephanie Gray


The beginning of this series can be viewed here.

With IVF being an unethical response to infertility, how can a couple, struggling to conceive, achieve parenthood?

First, they could investigate whether there are conditions of either the man or woman that can be corrected at their root.  After all, if there is an ailment or pathology, it is good to treat it so as to restore the body to the healthy state God designed it to have.  In the Scriptures we see Jesus healing peoples' ailments: the man blind from birth who Jesus gave sight to (John 9:1-11), the Centurian's servant lying paralyzed who Jesus healed (Matthew 8:5-13), and Peter's mother-in-law who Jesus removed a fever from (Matthew 8:14-15), to name a few.  In Matthew 9:35 we are told that “Jesus went about all the cities and villages...healing every disease and every infirmity.”

So if, for example, a woman who should be ovulating is not releasing eggs, then she could take a pharmaceutical that would prompt her body to ovulate.  Doing so would restore her body to the normal, healthy function it is supposed to have.  Doing so would aid the sexual act in achieving a pregnancy but not replace the sexual act like IVF does.  Note: It is important that where medicine is administered to help a woman ovulate, that it only be given in a dose that would cause her body to release one or two eggs.  To hyper stimulate her ovaries so that an unnatural amount of eggs be released could result in all the eggs being fertilized from an act of sex.  If she conceives, for example, four children then that becomes a high risk pregnancy with great cause for concern for both her and those children.

It is worth pointing out that because IVF has become so commonplace, because it is a money-making business, and because some people think it’s easier to ignore an underlying problem rather than address it, remedies that address health problems at their root are often overlooked.  There are stories, however, where couples who failed at IVF, or avoided IVF, had later success with achieving a pregnancy through an act of sexual intercourse.  This can occur unexpectedly or when they pursued medical interventions that corrected the ultimate cause of a couple’s infertility.  Consider stories here, and here, and here, and here.

Consider these organizations that get to the root of a couple’s infertility issues and can help patients successfully conceive naturally: National Gianna Center for Women’s Health & Fertility, FEMM, Bella Natural Women’s Care and Family Wellness, Neo Fertility.

The next thing a couple who wants to become parents can do is look into adoption or fostering.   There are children around the world who are in need of temporary or forever homes, and the Scriptures clearly command us to “care for orphans” (James 1:27).

The third thing a couple can do is focus on spiritual parenthood.   Love, by nature, is fruitful, and a couple can look for ways that their love can bear fruit in the lives of people around them.  They can draw out their spiritual maternity and paternity by being actively involved in the lives of their nieces and nephews, volunteering in the formation of children at their church, signing up to be a big brother or big sister to a child from a broken home, etc. 

This latter approach, while bringing fulfillment, doesn’t take away the pain of infertility; it doesn’t take away the good desire to bear a child with one’s spouse.  We can’t always understand why certain desires go unmet.  It is a real suffering.

Click here for part 6 of the series.