PRO-LIFE BASICS: Does in vitro fertilization violate human dignity?

Science and technology have made enormous contributions to our lives and society. But because a certain procedure is technologically possible does not make it ethically right. In vitro fertilization is a process whereby human life is generated in a laboratory environment, such as a glass or petri dish.

The process of IVF 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 fertilized. 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.

IVF kills

The Jones Institute, one of the pioneers of IVF, reports that only 10 to 20 percent of the human embryos produced by IVF ever result in a normal pregnancy. As for the other 80 to 90 percent, researchers at Yale School of Medicine recently estimated that over 5.7 million human embryonic children have died as a result of IVF.

Many die during the transfer process since they are fragile. Some embryos are unwanted and eliminated because they are deemed “inadequate” or “defective.” Some embryos are stored alive in freezers, while others are simply killed when they are washed down the sink.

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 are totally coordinated from within. 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?

No one has the right to a child—even the most loving of couples. IVF turns children into commodities. When a couple undergoes IVF, 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. Cooperating with God’s plan for human procreation ensures that all children are accepted as gifts. IVF is wrong because it separates human procreation from marital union.

The acceptance of IVF is also a slippery slope. Once IVF is embraced, there is no substantial reason to oppose cloning. Let us do everything we can to end this wicked practice.

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About the author

Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president of American Life League and served 15 years as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.