Unbearable: IVF Still Isn’t Accepted By Everyone, Including The Catholic Church

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Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

IVF is often a touchy subject. I always assumed that this was because the person choosing to do the procedure might be emotional and anxious about the outcome. Or maybe they simply don’t enjoy talking about the quality of their reproductive system in public. I can understand that. But it honestly hadn’t occurred to me that I should keep my foray into fertility treatments to myself because others would be disapproving of my choice.

Obviously, I don’t read Catholic Insight. But they were pretty clear on their beliefs about IVF:

Pope Paul VI has taught that there is an “inseparable connection, willed by God, and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.”

IVF violates the rights of the child: it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personality. It objectively deprives conjugal fruitfulness of its unity and integrity, it brings about and manifests a rupture between genetic parenthood, gestational parenthood, and responsibility for upbringing. This threat to the unity and stability of the family is a source of dissension, disorder, and injustice in the whole of social life.

In summary, the Catholic Church condemns as gravely evil acts, both IVF in and of itself, and stem cell research performed on IVF embryos.

 Yea, that was pretty clear. So why would a non-Catholic woman care about the Church’s stance on my reproductive choices? Well my grandparents are Catholic. And my mother-in-law attends mass everyday. And the owner’s of my company are very involved in our local diocese. And some of my best friends are raising their children in the Church. And we’re considering sending our daughter to Catholic school.

I’m not here to argue that the Catholic view on in vitro fertilization is wrong. It’s their belief and I accept their right to feel that way. For the most part, all of those amazing people listed recognize that I also have the right to feel differently and to pursue my own path to having children. But that doesn’t mean that they have to agree with my choice or that they feel comfortable discussing it in detail.

Up until now, I’ve looked at IVF as a means to an end. The struggle to get pregnant has so far surpassed any struggle I might have felt about the morality of using a certain method to have a child. Maybe that speaks to the all-encompassing nature of infertility or maybe it simply means that I’m narrow-minded. In this case, both are viable options.

For me, IVF is a way for doctors to assist in the fertilization process, but that doesn’t mean that it is any less natural. You can ask that your doctor only remove or implant a single egg at a time. Many couples use their own egg and sperm, not that it should matter if you use someone else’s. And for many couples, it’s still a partnership working together to have children that they will love and care for for the of their lives. For me, it’s a way to help build families and I’m thankful that it’s an option.

While others may not share my view, I hope that we can all agree that any and every child born is a miracle. The procedures can be debatable, but the outcomes can’t. Whether my in-laws agree with my choice to a child through in vitro or not, I would expect them to love the little one that comes from it. Surely caring for a child isn’t against anyone’s beliefs?