The media is celebrating the fact that several famous women in their forties are pregnant and announcing their joy. They have dabbled in the techno-baby business of in vitro fertilization and, at least so far, all is going accord to plan. While it is a blessing for these couples to have the opportunity to bring children into the world, we wonder if they realize that they are proceeding along a route that is fraught with danger and death.
In the case of each of these expectant moms, John Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, Celine Dion and reportedly Mariah Carey, one realizes that they are probably unfamiliar with the Catholic teaching against IVF, have not learned of all the problems that confront the IVF baby and his mother and are only focused on how much they want to have a baby.
That being said, our concerns are profound and our commitment to spreading the truth about this dreadful business more steadfast than ever. Some of our concerns are highlighted here, others have been documented in such articles as “In-Vitro Fertilization Undermines Human Dignity,” physician Chris Kahlenborn’s “Artificial Fertilization and the Christian Response” and “Say What? Human Personhood Primer.”
There are ethical and moral quandaries that accompany this practice that are routinely ignored. As an example, Elizabeth Marquardt and her colleagues have delved into the problems confronted by young people who started their lives in petri dishes with sperm-donor dads. Unlike the celebrities mentioned above, these children have fathers whose identity will never be known. When asked about self-perception among these young people, Marquardt explains, “[They] grapple with speaking to what it means when children are not seen as gifts from beyond to the world but exist because they were birthed through the will of their mothers. The human will of one person, your mother, is the reason why you exist. She could have easily aborted you, chosen not to have you, but she did, so, you made it, barely; you slipped though. Rather than the idea that we are all here because of some surging life force more powerful than anyone can understand and that some people call God.”
Writing on the same subject of the sperm-donating dad, Michael Cook describes the practice as “high-tech child abuse” that “rob[s] children of their biological heritage.” His analysis points out that the lucrative three billion-dollar industry (in the United States alone) has been created by those who truly believe that man should have it in his power to technologically create human beings, weed out the imperfect and move ahead regardless of the physical or emotional consequences that may affect these children.
In a set of statistics just released in the United Kingdom by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, we find that “dozens of women are aborting babies conceived by IVF because they have changed their minds about motherhood.” These mothers, “in their teens, twenties and early thirties” had grown uncertain about their desire for a techno-baby and subsequently wanted the child killed.
Practitioners admit that, no matter how hard they work with couples who want to employ IVF technology, only 50 percent of their efforts actually succeed in producing the much-desired preborn child. And then, to hear that 80 surgical abortions occur annually on babies created using the technology, mainly for “social” reasons, shocks even the practitioners. They “will choose to end this life [they] took so much trouble, and in many cases spent so much money, to create.”
The bottom line is clear: IVF is a practice fraught with danger and death.
While we are happy for parents such as Celine and the Travoltas, we are saddened that such publicly acknowledged miracles of science are eclipsed by a gruesome underbelly of truth, which never sees the light of day.