16 April 2024

The Chasm of Life and Death

At least seven fertilised embryos, that is CHILDREN, are killed for every 'successful' IVF pregnancy. The wages of man playing God.

From Crisis

By Christopher Bell

So many conservatives, including many pro-lifers, focus only on the political ramifications of opposing IVF. We need to instead focus on the lives lost.

We, the pro-life community, finally fell into this great chasm, one that was always right before our eyes.  

The obvious judicial decision by Alabama’s Supreme Court that frozen embryos are in fact children, and their accidental death warrants a wrongful death lawsuit to proceed, puts the light on this Grand Canyon among all those fighting to stop abortion but not exactly protect every life from the moment of conception. 

Shocking, but expected.

At the outset, it has to be stated, every child conceived by in vitro fertilization is fully human and welcomed for who they are: a child of God. Whether one wishes to ascribe that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God or not, it is an appellation to explain that you have infinite value. You’re not just on top of the food chain, you’re on top of the material universe in intellect with a free will.

Now that free will is what created children through IVF. 

Scientists and parents made the decision to take from the tree of knowledge and start a life outside the natural means, the conjugal relations between husband and wife.

Parents and those who are participating in the practice of taking, at great physical and emotional risk, human ova and spermatozoa may not know what they are really doing on a material, spiritual, or psychological level. They are very likely solely focused on the end: giving birth to a child.

Here’s the rub Shakespeare couldn’t have written better:

To die—to sleep.
To sleep—perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.

The rub: the child born leaves behind full-blooded siblings—yes, brothers and sisters who will be “asleep” in a frozen state. Would they dream? Or will they die in time? Or be born years hence? Or experimented upon?

This must give us pause.

This pause is most notable among those who are saying life begins at conception, as certainly science is proving by the very act of fertilizing human eggs and implanting them knowing full well these conceived children are babies that need nourishment from a mother’s womb until strong enough to be fed by mouth. Quite amazing and wonderfully made, we know—as the psalmist sang millennia ago. 

How interesting to see that science and religion are quite aligned on this, at least in the art and beauty of the process which brings human life into the physical world. Religion will add—but here, too, another chasm among believers as much as unbelievers—at some point, a human soul enters into the corporal frame. 

We have new human life and have been “successfully making” such life since the conception during 1977 and birth on July 25, 1978, of Louise Brown. 

Uncounted millions of children have since been conceived. Most of those conceptions have been discarded, purposefully killed, for various reasons. The next largest group of conceived children have been put on ice, cryogenically preserved as scientists say, awaiting a fate worthy of Shakespeare again: “Our wills and fates do so contrary run, that our devices still are overthrown; our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own” (Hamlet).

Those cryogenically frozen may be used for experimentation, or implanted later, or thrown out, if not accidentally unfrozen and dying a “natural” death.

What is it we want? Many more live babies at the expense of many more fertilized and extinguished babies? 

As the case before the Alabama Supreme Court explained, it was an accident that crushed the conceived children of several couples, and those parents sought reparation. While the defendant in this case, The Center for Reproductive Medicine, sought to have the case tossed out—like most of the children they’ve help to conceive—the State high court read the law and said parents have the right for redress for these children as no exception is made in the law for how children are conceived. They are, as we know, children after all, babies actually before birth, no less human than babies in utero or ex utero.
Then why are those who seek to defend and protect life from the moment of conception in such a quandary? 

There are several groups here. First, there are those who are pro-life and see no immorality or inconsistency in conceiving children outside the womb for the purpose of bringing forth a baby. They see this as a way to overcome infertility, albeit an expensive and risky one. Maybe the loss of the siblings is considered a sad side effect of the wonder of a new life. Some say that seven conceived children are not brought to life for every one that is. That’s the conservative number.

Another group is considering the political tide. Many Americans have used IVF, and it is estimated 8 million babies have been born in the U.S. through this assisted reproductive technology. The general population has little understanding of the tremendous and grave physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual repercussions in the process and the outcome of every single IVF act. 

In our world of relativism, the end is much more important than the means. These means are generally underwater—unseen and unspoken. Politicians and those advising them see this as a simple going along with the flow, a yes or no vote. This is a strong current to go against and takes lots of explanation, and most people don’t have the time to dive into such a discussion. After all, you might hurt someone you don’t even know. “How were you conceived?” 

Now come the pragmatists. The genie is out of the bottle. This has been going on for 45 years. Some 10–12 million people have been born using IVF worldwide, and even if there are possibly a million babies frozen and perhaps 100 million that have been discarded, no one is going to stop this now. Let’s just regulate it. Let’s trim our losses. Limit the number of babies conceived in a petri dish, place all of them into their mother’s womb, and have no leftovers.

The pragmatists using Augustine and Aquinas make the case that laws cannot stop all vices nor enforce all virtue. Certain acts, along this line of thinking, may be contrary to the natural law but tolerated as much as they can be limited lest worse evils come about. One example of this is to allow fewer embryos to be conceived and implant all into the mother immediately or shortly thereafter. 

All this has a solipsistic attitude still focused on a desire, no matter what, to have “my child”; as if this God-given privilege is actually a God-given right, no matter how many lives may be lost or affected. 

There’s no one arguing in the groups above about stopping IVF. 

Let’s give the benefit of the argument that the families and even the practitioners of IVF have done what they thought right. We’ve walked down this path for decades, and millions of people have been involved and children are walking around thanks to the results of this effort. But the Alabama Supreme Court has shown that there’s this divide, and let’s use this time to reassess and consider that we can’t undo what we did or unknow what we know, but might we take a step back and think: Is this really what we want to continue to do?

Also, there are many other roads to having children which are natural, moral, less costly, and without the high medical and psychological risks involved with IVF. These paths are less known, scientifically sound, and yet denounced by the larger, more profitable industry which the baby-making machines of assisted reproductive technology have become. 

Natural Procreative Technology, more commonly called NaPro Technology, uses medicines and surgical techniques to overcome certain inabilities to conceive a child or to assist the body naturally to achieve conception. Doctors have a 30-year-plus track record with scientific research understanding the fertility cycle better than any IVF clinic. 

One outgrowth of NaPro are smaller centers of physicians expanding on these treatments and techniques to assist either men or women, as infertility is not solely a female burden.  

The Gianna Center for Women’s Health & Fertility is one such center in New York. The center offers “successfully-proven natural approaches to help women and couples who are struggling with infertility.”

Other scientific studies also show the efficacy of herbal medicines to help achieve a pregnancy when there is an apparent infertility issue.

All these methods above don’t present a great enough financial incentive to medical personnel and have been shunned by the larger medical community.

Alas, this is where capitalism loses its moral base. More profit does not make something more right or less wrong.  

Just because we’re able to build bombs and viruses that can decimate the world doesn’t mean we should keep doing it. 

And yet we continue to make bigger bombs and gain-of-function research.

If the pro-life community can’t coalesce on when to save lives at conception, how can one expect the wider, relativistic, conflicted community of Americans to come to a better conclusion?

Free will allows the choice for better or worse. Would Augustine and Aquinas agree to continue but limit the cost? 

Me thinks, 
How Our wills and fates do so contrary run…
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come…
The rest is silence.

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