Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Understanding IVF

We decided to post this article that we read about IVF to help you all understand why we are not choosing to go this route.

IVF Violates Human Dignity
Science and technology have made enormous contributions to our lives and society. But the fact that a certain procedure is technologically possible does not make it ethically right.

What is in vitro fertilization?
"In vitro" literally means "in glass." In vitro fertilization is a process whereby human life is generated in a laboratory environment like a glass petri dish.

How is in vitro fertilization carried out?
In vitro fertilization begins when fertility technicians administer hormone treatments to a woman. The hormones hyper-stimulate the woman's ovaries to produce a number of eggs at one time. The eggs are collected from the woman's body and then combined with sperm. The resulting embryos are nourished in laboratory cultures and inserted into the woman's body with the hope that one embryo will successfully implant in the lining of the womb and develop. The process is very controlled and involves numerous trips to the in vitro fertilization center.

How does in vitro fertilization cause the death of human embryos?
The Jones Institute, one of the pioneers of in vitro fertilization, reports that only 10 to 20% of the human embryos produced by in vitro fertilization ever result in a normal pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that in 1998, 28,000 babies were born through in vitro fertilization in the United States. This means that 140,000 - 280,000 human embryos are missing from the equation for that year alone.

What happens to the rest of the embryos?
 -Many embryos die in the transfer process since they are fragile.
·-Some embryos are unwanted and eliminated because they are considered genetically inadequate.
·-Some embryos are stored alive in freezers.
  -Some embryos are simply killed as they are washed down the sink.

Why is this wrong?
It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception/fertilization. From conception, a human embryo has a complete genetic code and his or her growth and development is totally coordinated from within. Human embryos are human children--sons and daughters!
"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person."
When this fundamental moral line is violated or obscured, categories of people become devalued and they become easily used for utilitarian purposes.

What about infertile couples who desperately want a child?
No one has the right to a child. Even for the most loving of couples, there is no right to a child through either normal conjugal relations or reproductive technologies.
In vitro fertilization turns children into commodities. When a couple undergoes in vitro fertilization, they are saying, "We want a child no matter what," and the child becomes an object. This evolves into a selective mentality, whereby couples choose the kind of child they want.
Above all, a child is a gift. Gifts should not be controlled or manipulated. Cooperating with God's plan for human procreation ensures that all children are accepted as gifts.

If in vitro fertilization did not bring death or harm to human embryos, would it be okay?
In vitro fertilization is wrong because it separates human procreation from conjugal union. In the process, couples make themselves the masters of human life instead of its stewards.
Conjugal union has both a unitive and a procreative purpose. In other words, conjugal intimacy is meant to express both love and fruitfulness.
Because the human person is a unity of body and spirit, both the unitive and procreative meanings of the conjugal act must be expressed spiritually and physically. The Biblical notion of "two in one flesh" (cf. Gen 2:24) has a concrete significance here.
Spousal union is expressed both spiritually and physically. And at the same time, the procreative dimension of conjugal union yields both spiritual benefits and physical fruits. When conjugal union is physically fruitful, a couple participates in God's creative act instead of dominating it.

What is the fundamental principle?
Any reproductive technique that replaces the conjugal act undermines the meaning of conjugal union and is an affront human dignity. Any technique that assists the conjugal, such hormone therapy, is not a violation of the dignity of procreation.

How does marital integrity protect human dignity?
Maintaining both the unitive and procreative meanings of conjugal union guards against the demand for children as a right and the use of spouses for sex. Respect for love and life as essential aspects of martial integrity helps ensure that spouses and children are appreciated as gifts. On a profound level, marital integrity is needed to protect human dignity.

Sometimes an embryo will die in normal conjugal relations. Why is it a big deal if embryos die in the process of in vitro fertilization?
In normal conjugal relations, no one makes the intentional choice to cause the death or harm of embryos. With in vitro fertilization, there is an intentional choice to carry out a procedure whose consequences are known in advance.

Isn't adoption the same as demanding a child?
Adopting a child is accepting someone who, because of some unfortunate circumstance, needs a loving home. Adoption is a generous act focused on a child who already exists.
Using in vitro fertilization is not accepting a child as a gift, but rather manipulating a child into existence.

What about the children that come from in vitro fertilization? Do they have less dignity?
God allows children to be conceived through in vitro fertilization because He respects human freedom. But this does not mean that in vitro fertilization children have any less God-given dignity. Every child is made in the image of God and deserves to be protected and loved.
However, this does not mean we can condone in vitro fertilization. Analogously, children are born outside of marriage. These children have no less dignity, but that doesn't mean we should promote the practice.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Beginning

Our journey began 4 months ago when we both felt we were ready to have a baby in our lives.  Three months later we learned that there was a good chance we would never be able to have our own children naturally.  We began to pray that God would show us what our purpose was in life.  I knew it would be hard to accept never being pregnant but I also knew that God could use us for something very special.  As we prayed God began to comfort and lead us through His word and other places.  One verse that really stuck out to me was in Psalm 113:9 “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.  Praise ye the Lord.”   It helped me to realize that with God all things are possible and even if we couldn’t have our own children He would make our joy full with children in some way.   More recently we have visited with doctors and found out our options.  We had two practical options to choose from.  The first was IVF or In Vitro Fertilization and the second was adoption.  After leaving the doctor I think we both felt overwhelmed and a little unsure of what to do next.  We really wanted to have our own children to see their resemblances and to have the pregnancy experience but on the other hand we felt a little guilty going to all the medical work of creating our own children when there are children in the world who do not have loving Christian homes and families.  That night Jesse researched IVF a little to learn exactly how the process took place.  I then read the article he found and I felt a little uneasy about the process.  I looked up online why IVF was wrong from a spiritual standpoint and found a very interesting article. (read article in post titled "understanding IVF")  After reading this article and talking with Jesse we both felt IVF was not something we wanted to get involved with.  That left only one option for us to become parents…adoption!  We are thankful to feel Gods direction in this that He will be with us as we look deeper into the adoption process and what would be the best adoption options for us.  We know this could potentially be a long journey ahead of us but we are trusting that God will provide as He has in the past and that if this is His calling for us we must joyfully attend to it!  A recent sermon we heard really touched home in our lives.  It talked a lot about the fact that our lives on this earth are nothing for ourselves.  We are put here for a purpose and sometimes what we want with our lives and what God wants are two different things.  We must be willing to surrender our will and be used of God to do exactly what we were put here to do.  We can be thankful that God can see the whole picture and that if we trust in Him we will never be lead astray.  We would appreciate your prayerful support as we begin this joyful journey in our lives!  We know that whatever the outcome, God will lead us all the way.