In my last post about Infertility Ethics, I explained the main two stances Christians take on this issue. Here I plan on going a little more in depth about a few other issues to consider. (For Part I see Theological Thursday’s post from February 2, 2017.)
Other Issues to Consider
- Does life begin at conception? Or does it begin once a fertilized egg is placed inside a woman’s body? If a foster child is not taken care of for 20+ years, they become an adult. However, if a frozen embryo is not “given life” by being placed inside a woman’s womb for 20+ years, it supposedly has not changed. Therefore, it seems like a greater urgency should be placed on those children whose growth is already en route as opposed to those whose growth has been stalled or “frozen in time.”
- Some are against IVF because of how it got started. I have heard varying stories on how IVF got started, but that’s momentarily beside the point. If it got started through something like abortions or something you disagree with, the question then becomes, “Well, by participating in it now, am I supporting that original evil?” If you think yes to this question, you might want to look into how IVF got started. Personally, I think many things got started for wrong reasons and are now used for good. So I do not see the problem ethically for this point. Conversely, I believe many things also have been started for good reasons, but are now participating in evil. So origins do not matter as much to me as current practices. Origins definitely matter, but not as much as what currently happens as a result of our actions.
- Others are against IVF because it involves the porn industry. While yes, the way the typical male is suggested to get sperm is to be placed in a room with screens of pornography, there are ways around this. Christians have been known to work together as loving couples and can easily together get sperm needed in a condom.
I am not against IVF or frozen embryos because I have seen the Lord use both for good. However, I think we need to approach it with a few realizations first.
- I believe God has given us (being women) our biological clocks for a reason. I agree with the point that while obviously it is possible for God to give an older woman a baby, we should not expect that as the norm. It’s normal for fertility in a woman’s life to dramatically drop off at a certain point.
- While that does not mean that people unable to bear children should not be allowed to have them, I also think those unable should not feel forced to have children. I think the church should value couples despite how many or few children they have and allow all couples (and singles) to be used of God in the lives of children. One’s ability to work with children should not be based on how many children they personally have.
- Adoption is obviously an option for couples struggling with infertility. I believe this should be considered as much as any other option. Beyond the struggles that infertility surfaces, we have to wonder about this desire to have our own biological children as opposed to having children by another means (such as adoption). While there’s nothing wrong with having that desire, we must take it to the Lord, and ask Him what to do about that, just like any other desire (Psalm 37:4).
- Ultimately, the question couples struggling with infertility need to ask the Lord is not “please enable us to have children,” but “Lord, what do you have for us? We’re open to whatever You have for us. We definitely desire our own biological children, but we trust You with that desire and are open to whatever Your will is for us—even in this.”