Friday, September 24, 2010

the "a" word

Thank you all so much for the wonderful congratulations about my new job AND for letting me stand on my advocacy soapbox for a couple of days. I was hoping to write a lighthearted post today, but instead I decided to move from the soapbox to the snake pit. I have a feeling this post may get me into a little bit of trouble, but I can't ignore it. I have to discuss it.

Yesterday, my lovely blog friend Amanda posted a link to a controversial blog post comparing IVF to ab-or-tion. In it, and in the comments, ideas were thrown around about IVF-ers being murderers and IVF not being done out of love. There's no other word to describe the way this made me feel other than sick. I'm not going to link to the blog. The blog owner made it private this morning. Even if she hadn't, I don't think I want to encourage any more debate or frustration than I did myself by going over there and inserting my two cents.

I realize that everyone has differing opinions on the "a" word and religion, and that they are more than welcome to post those ideas on a blog or Web site. That's one thing. But it's an entirely different thing to accuse people of murder, people who don't necessarily practice your religion OR share the same radical beliefs about the religion as you do. I've posted this before, but I was born and raised in a very strict Catholic household, and I have never seen the kind of judgment that I witnessed yesterday - particularly in the comments.

I'm also appalled by the way they (in my opinion) twisted and bended the rules of the Church to fit their own, personal scenarios, while at the same time damning others for their methods of action against infertility. The blog owner admitted to using medication to induce ovulation yet criticized couples using IVF because it interfered with God's will. One commenter admitted to using a condom to collect her husband's specimen, but when I questioned her about the Church's stance on using contraceptives, she quickly replied that they would poke a hole in the condom allowing "life to flow through." Forgive me, but a condom is still a condom, no matter how you manipulate it.

As I posted in one of my comments yesterday, I believe that if you are going to argue religion as a reason for or against fertility treatments, it has to be all or nothing. Either you do something to interfere with God's will, or you don't. By ingesting hormones and other supplements, I believe that the original poster interfered with God's will. Whether she wants to believe that or not, that's her issue. But you can't "half ass" infertility treatments in that way. At least that's my take on it.

So, I'll ask all of you: What do you think? Do you think that IVF is comparable to the "a" word? Why or why not? I'm not trying to get into a political or religious debate here, or create more hatred, or piss people off. I just think this is a legitimate issue in the IF community, and I'd like to hear people's thoughts on it. I promise not to delete or censor any comments if everyone promises in return to keep it civilized.

70 comments:

Jennifer said...

I don't think infertility treatment is related to the "a" word in any sense. It bothers me even that the habitual "a" word is attached to me as a person who has had three pregnancy losses not by my choice. In the end though I am an advocate in choice for people in any troubling situation they are facing and infertility is one of them. I am very glad that we have infertility treatments available to us even though they haven't worked for me I am still glad to have them and don't feel I am "bad" for doing so :)

Audrey said...

I admittedly don't know much about ivf so I don't want to make a comment about the ivf=abortion argument. But the whole God's will vs. infertility debate is interesting. I have drawn so much closer to my God due to infertility. I feel like He is trying to teach me something. I suffered with a lot of guilt until I realized that maybe just maybe it was in his plan for me to endure this? Just my thoughts, not necessarily fact.

Marla said...

I've been waiting for you to post on this topic. :)

I can't believe she made her blog private. I found her, ummm, almost a year ago, and I followed her for only a month when I came to realize she's a bit "off" and stopped following her. Not to be insulting, but she seemed to be a bit nutty, and that's the nicest way I can say it. As I was reading her posts, I used to imagine her cackling as she wrote them. Eg. "Hahahahahaha." :::eyeroll::: So, I was surprised to find her pregnant when I read her post yesterday. Of course, it's the crazies like her who can easily reproduce without IVF. Although, as you mentioned, she was medically assisted in getting to that point.

I am Catholic and also very much pro-life. But, I don't agree with her stance, nor of those who support her. I believe if it's God will to get pregnant, whether it be by IVF or naturally, then it's God will. That is God's plan. I mean, just cuz someone uses IVF, that doesn't mean 100% that they're gonna get that BFP. Ultimately, there is not one single person who can say they got pregnant without a higher power, and that's my belief.

And also, I don't believe there's anything in the bible that encourages people to laugh at others (like that psycho did) nor treat them as cruelly as she and her fan-base did. I mean, they're all a bunch of hypocrites!

I'm glad she made her blog private, now that I think about it. At least her crazy beliefs will only be spread around her core group, who are already just as loony as she. Good riddance, Sew!

Rach said...

I read that post yesterday and I didn't agree at all. It's such a bunch of garbage. I was rolling my eyes the entire time. I can't stand people like that.

Right Said Red said...

Do you think the Catholic Church approves of IVF? I've seen it written in black and white in various church documents that the church does not approve of IVF. According to the church, creating life outside the womb in a science lab is a far cry from seeking medical treatments to heal the body of disease. You don't interfere with God's will when you use science to heal the body. But when you use that science for evil (say for example forcibly taking a kidney from a person who didn't want to be a donor), you move from using science for good to using science for evil. So the question remains, is it "good" to help infertile couples conceive via IVF. The church answers that it is not good, because life should not be formed in a lab, and the discarded embryos are people with rights to be respected. Whether you agree with this argument or not, it is sound from a logic perspective. It isn't a matter of use science or don't use science. Rather it is a matter of how you use science and whether you break the moral law in achieving your objective.

As for the "a" word, don't you find it frightening how many embryos are destroyed in the IVF process? If an embryo is a baby, and some of those embryos are discarded (not as viable, too many of them, etc.,) it is very troubling, and brings up many of the same life issues as the "a" word. I think it makes perfect sense that women would seek all sorts of fertility treatments to heal their body, but would stop short of creating life in a lab. That seems a big jump to me.

Just some thoughts from a woman observing this debate.

Gurlee said...

Abortion, ART, contraception, it all falls under the umbrella of REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE. An arena that I consider very personal, I thank our elected leaders for granting me the right to make the choices that I deam best for myself. Not being religous, although raised Cathloic, I do not believe the church has any business being involved with my body.
Interesting topic.....Sparks will undoubtedly fly.

Kim said...

Wow, I missed all the blog drama!!! Ok, I wasn't really looking for it, but I am still intrigued with the idea.

I didnt see her post so I don't know how they tied in the a word with IVF, but I wonder if it's because in some cause not all the fertilized eggs are not used?! Not everyone freezes them or donates them to science and so sometimes they are thrown away. I think the issue is what people consider to be human life and thats where the difference of opinion comes in. Some say when the sperm and egg meet- but we all know that's neccessarily true because the embryo needs the placenta to develop and grow a heart and so forth.

It really saddens me when religion creates a clear divide amongst people. It's one thing to have your own beliefs and another to respect people for having their own. perhaps Infertility was the only thing we had in common with her, and she somehow seperated herself from the rest of the IF community on the one thing that united her with some of us.

I do not believe IVF or any ART is comparable to the A word and I think it's not our place to judge each other. Leave that up to God. And I'm glad she went private with her blog , thats a blessing we don't have to be exposed to such hateful accusations any longer.

C said...

I took the unfortunate liberty of visiting that blog yesterday. All I will say is that in my humble opinion, you cannot compare fertility treatments, IVF, etc to the "a" word. Period. As for you Katie, I just adore you. I love that you are intelligent enough to read and listen, respond and challenge articulately, intelligently and honestly without manipulating, twisting, etc. I just wish there were more people like you. While it is acceptable for one to have his or her own opinion, I disagree with not allowing others to respond however they deem necessary as the writer yesterday did. That is all I will say about it.

missohkay said...

My two cents - God gives life through IVF. A technician uniting sperm and egg in a lab is not creating life. Those cells have to implant and grow and develop a heartbeat and limbs and other organs. That is a "life" and a miracle and a blessing. To me, anything else is just cells in a lab (and not a "holocaust of your offspring" as someone wrote yesterday on the blog).

Right Said Red said...

The interests of a woman and her baby are always intertwined. When we choose to end the life of a baby in the name of choice, we lose the inherent dignity God gave us as women, a dignity and a duty to protect the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak. I hope and pray we can create a society where no woman would ever want to harm a baby, and no baby would be at risk in her mother's womb. My body, my choice, is all too often a forced choice due to tragic circumstances, and even more frequently the choice of a misguided boyfriend (isn't it amazing how the biggest supporters of reproductive rights are men between the ages of 18-35!!!).

The reason abortion and IVF are put into the same category is because those pushing both practices group them together under "reproductive rights." See for example the comment by Gurlee. I see the connection, as does the Catholic
Church.

AL said...

I second everything Marla said. I believe that no pregnancy occurs without God's will, because as she said IVF guarantees no where close to a 100% success rate. As it is there's still that chance that it won't work so humans cannot completely control the process.

And yes here laughing at you in the comments section was about the most immature and un-Christian thing she could have done. ARGH.

Katie said...

Kim: For the record, she clearly stated in her original post that she felt this way regardless of what the person(s) intended to do with the remaining embryos (destroy, freeze, or donate to another infertile couple).

Secret Sloper said...

To be fair, while the stance on drugs vs. IVF/IUI may seem hypocritical, that is the Church's teaching. So those women were being consistent in their Catholic views, not bending things to suit their own situations. (I have my own opinions, as I expressed to you, about why I find it absurd that THIS is the issue on which American Catholics--both Church and laity--focus so much attention when there are EQUALLY important teachings on a host of social issues that are frequently ignored. Fortunately, I have found Catholic Churches in my community that do incredible work for good without the relentless focus on sexual morality).

I adamantly could not have an abortion. Yet I would consider IVF as a last resort (probably after adoption). I would take pains not to "destroy" any of the embryos we created, either donating them to other couples with IF (if our treatments were successful) or continuing to use them until they were gone. I would not consider myself to have sacrificed or killed any embryos in my quest to have a child.

But the important thing to remember is that, despite the Church's reputation as hierarchical and dictatorial (and the truth to that reputation), individual Catholics must always answer their own consciences and the call of God in their heart, in union with scripture and the writings of the Church. And my Catholic conscious is clear on the subject of ART.

Then again, I'm married to a Jew, so the women posting on that blog would probably call me a Catholic-in-name-only anyway. Plus I'm kind of mad at God right now. I think he's big enough to take it.

~C~ said...

"The church answers that it is not good, because life should not be formed in a lab, and the discarded embryos are people with rights to be respected. Whether you agree with this argument or not, it is sound from a logic perspective."

Only if logic means "whatever religious leaders say." That is not sound from a logic perspective. That embryos should not be formed in labs just because the church says so is not logic. It's dogma.

The playing God argument has never sat well with me. ALL medical intervention is playing God. So that means we should shun medical treatment? Uh huh. Ok.

The issue of potential discarded embryos is completely irrelevant to most of us. If I were so lucky as to actually *have* embryos to discard, I would thank my lucky stars. It's such a shame that Kate Gosselin and Octomom are the public face of fertility treatments, making people think that selective reduction is always proposed and that everyone has some 2 dozen embryos to "murder" after their cycle. The sad reality is that most of us turning to ART won't have a single embryo left over. And the unviable ones that are fertilized and just don't make it but aren't "murdered"? They would've been unviable if fertilized the old-fashioned way, too. Tomayto, tomahto.

For me, as a woman who gets pregnant very easily and then miscarries at the drop of a hat, IVF is the best chance to ensure I get an embryo that actually does survive. If I keep geting pregnant and miscarrying at the rate I've been going, my body is gonna kill off a whole lot more embryos than might be lost in an IVF cycle. But doing IVF, I have the best odds of actually saving one of those embryos. See, now this *is* logic. Logic that could be construed to mean that my choosing IVF is the compassionate, pro-life choice (if you're into judging and labels, which I'm not)

Rita said...

I think it's very convenient the way some people bend the rules to fit what they've already done. I know very religious people who truly believe in their hearts that ALL fertility treatments are wrong and against God's will. They would not buy these ladies' arguments that they've been able to carefully dabble in fertility treatments without interfering with God's will. Who are these women to draw the line of what's right and what's not?

I am particularly troubled when people claim they aren't being judgmental because what they are spouting is the "truth." Who's to say what the definitive "truth" is? Like everyone else out there, the best I can do is follow my heart and conscience to do what's right and any decisions I make are between me and the higher power I believe in.

As for IVF and IUI not being done out of love--well, anyone who's been through it could not agree with this statement. A couple suffering the heartache of infertility and going through treatments together has a tremendous amount of love for each other and for their future children.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Let me say, I grew up Catholic. 12 years Catholic School. Incidentally went to a Catholic College. Lots of Christians in my family. Me... I consider myself an open person spiritually, I try to respect everyone's beliefs.

I saw the posts as well. I do agree that people are entitled to their opinions and can do as they please as is their reproductive choice when it comes to how they want to resolve infertility. However, I don't think it's very Christian or... nice... to call people murderers or go down that path. I think that goes way too far.

I can see the concerns people have from creating too many embryos; it does raise some questions. But, that has never been a problem for me. There's lots of women who go through this who don't make 20-30 embryos and don't have anything left to freeze. I think it's unfair to gloss over everything like that. I have never had an embryo die in the lab. I have had embryos die within me, but none has ever been killed. I also think if we save these embryos and donate them to other people if we don't need them- that is still preserving life. And is still a form of adoption. For me, personally, I would never destroy an embryo. I would never tell them not to freeze them even if they thought they wouldn't make it and I'd never tell them to throw away rather than freeze. But, again, those are my CHOICES. I feel that others are entitled to their own CHOICES but they should tell others what to do. I do think there is way to go about discussing your beliefs and I don't think a lot of the comments were very appropriate at all and were very judgemental. And at times, were hypocritical, aka what you wrote about the condom.

I personally feel that the whole reproductive issue is not so easy as right or wrong, black or white. For example, my friend when finding out her twin babies inside her were dying, past 20 weeks, she could either a) carry around her dead babies for 2 weeks and wait for them to come out or b) induce labor. Well, she chose b for emotional reasons and guess what? She was labeled as having an abortion. In such a rush to consider things good versus bad- it was labelled something- so is she a murderer too now? But really? These are things we have to take on a case by case basis. Abortion isn't always bad. I think it IS overused in this country, and I think people should always look to other options first. But again, there's lots of gray area in there. Rape? Incest? My friend's situation? Who am I to judge? I can't. That's between those women/ their families/ their God.

Ashley said...

Oh man--here comes the crazy, hormonal, pregnant BY IVF lady's comment (that would be me):
To compare abortion to IVF doesn't even make any sense to me whatsoever. I didn't read the article, I'm not sure of exactly how the comparison was being made, but it INFURIATES me that I spent thousands of dollars, injected myself with 15 different kinds of drugs, cried myself to sleep for months on end trying to have a baby and some IDIOT wants to compare it to abortion. Hello--I am trying my damndest to create life here, and not to destroy it. God's will is God's will and no matter what amount of money or what type of science that you participate in, if God doesn't want you to have a child...you won't. Science does not defy God. People are faced with challenges to teach them lessons, some lessons are hard to learn and I for one struggle with the reasonings of God--but never once did I think I could get around what he wants for my life. Science doesn't trump God, not even close. As for discarding embryos--I understand that there is a debate over when life is technically created and my thoughts are that those fertilized embryos will NEVER become a life without a human body to grow in. What is the difference in discarding embryos or throwing away a condom full of sperm? And this is coming from someone who still pays $50 a month for frozen embryos in a lab that I did not discard and will not discard. I am getting off of the soapbox now, but I just want to say that people struggling with infertility have enough problems without having stupid, opinionated people trying to justify for them what's right or wrong. There is not a doubt in my mind that IVF was the route that GOD wanted my husband and I to take. Sorry for the outburst, I can't control these hormones. Haha! Thanks Katie for letting me rant on your page. :)

Glass Case of Emotion said...

part 2
I personally feel that the whole reproductive issue is not so easy as right or wrong, black or white. For example, my friend when finding out her twin babies inside her were dying, past 20 weeks, she could either a) carry around her dead babies for 2 weeks and wait for them to come out or b) induce labor. Well, she chose b for emotional reasons and guess what? She was labeled as having an abortion. There's lots of gray area in there. Rape? Incest? My friend's situation? Who am I to judge? I can't. That's between those women/ their families/ their God.

I think it should be carefully considered & life should never be taken for granted. In IVF, each of those embryos is loved and is not a "product" or an "item." I bristle at the Catholic Church's words, that children not born through "conjugal love" - it's immoral. (Look it up! Their words, not mine.) What about couples that are no longer in love or one night stands- babies are born from those all the time? Also, their wording once again gets very tricky about adoption- if we adopt a child and didn't have him through conjugal love- that's also a problem? Some of the stances just seem to contradict each other is all I am trying to say.

On a final note, I have a REAL problem with the whole God's will thing. If it's God's will- then IVF will or won't work same as reproduction wouldn't? Right. (Also, she made it sound like the IVF success rates are very low which is not true. )What about all of the people who brutally abuse their children physically, emotionally or sexually? What about the women that murder their children? Was that God's plan too? That's where they lose me. I am sorry, but babies are not "awarded" based on who is deserving. As someone who worked for years with abused children, let me tell you how much that is the case. If they were awarded based on deservedness, some of my blog friends would have their precious babies by now. Because such unselfish acts of love I have never witnessed before in my life.

I think what do with embryos/ life is very worthy of discussion. And not something any one should leap into lightly. I call into question Catholic rhetoric as a student of it for many years. But, if someone chooses to believe it and chooses to act accordingly with those beliefs, I am not judging THEM as persons. I just hope they don't JUDGE me either for choosing what fits my beliefs.

Sorry for the soapbox!

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Sorry my post kinda went all kind of haywire- I must have been too passionate and blogger was disturbed!

Right Said Red said...

Life should not be formed in a lab is a religious dogma. You are right.

Do not take a kidney from someone who does not want to give a kidney is also a religious dogma.

Are these dogma's right? That's an ethical debate. It is not playing God to try to decide what is right and to let other people know your thoughts. In fact, I would hope that if people started advocating taking kidney's from unwilling persons you would all speak up and state your opinion!

My point was that there is a logical distinction between seeking medical treatment for a disorder and using science to form a new life in a lab setting. These are two very different things and it is logical that one might support the one and oppose the other. I understand that people may disagree, but to say that if you oppose IVF then you must be against medical treatments is absurd. There is a logical distinction between the two.

I'm sorry to hear that discarded embryo's is an irrelevant issue to most of you. That is the reason IVF and abortion are connected in the minds of many. If those embryo's are human beings, why don't you care if they are discarded?

And just to be clear, when you get pregnant and miscarry you aren't "killing" anything, there is a huge difference between an involuntary miscarriage and voluntarily discarding an embryo.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

One thing that should be unacceptable to all of us is the misrepresentation of others. Please do not misrepresent what the Church teaches. You may not agree with it, but here is the Catholic Church's position:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on: The gift of a child

2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity. 163

2374 Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. "What will you give me," asks Abraham of God, "for I continue childless?" 164 And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!" 165

2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God." 166

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other." 167

2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children." 168 "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union .... Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person." 169

2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." 170

2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.



Let's all at least be honest in our dialogue. Thanks.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Sorry, I accidentally posted twice.

Secret Sloper said...

"Let's all at least be honest in our dialogue. Thanks."

I agree, and think that level of honesty should be granted on all sides. The majority people posting here have said they will not and have not destroyed embryos in this process (or that due to their diseases, there will not even be "leftover" embryos to consider destroying). This is hardly a wholesale declaration that the destruction of embryos is unimportant and irrelevant, as Right Said Red contended.

Further, I (and others) have already spoken up for the consistency of your and many of Sew's commenters' views with regards to Catholic teaching.

But it is rather bold to expect non-Catholics to follow esoteric Catholic dogma in their most intimate and personal matters.

Finally, I see the Church as a force for good and as religion that (for me) best expresses the mystery and wonder and beauty of life. And I also see it as an institution in a fallen world.

We're all just struggling--usually with good and open hearts--to be the best we can be in hard times. If God's standard is perfection, then we're all damned.

Katie said...

Perhaps I should clarify one point: I do think it's twisting the rules to consider condom usage as appropriate in the instance of masturbation to produce a semen analysis. As for the use of ovulation medications, I believe it's contradictory on the part of the Church to permit the use of these medications but to oppose other forms of ART. In my opinion, it's all ART. There's nothing natural about fertility medications.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Way to liven up a Friday! Such a response in just an hour. I ditto what missohkay posted!

Right Said Red said...

I apologize for misunderstanding, I read this,
"The issue of potential discarded embryos is completely irrelevant to most of us." by ~C~

If that is not the case, then my apologies.

Obviously, I think discarded embryos are a huge moral issue, and some of you ladies do as well. I wasn't trying to be "dishonest."

HG said...

I just want to know where in the world she came up with this number?
"More children are killed by abortion in the world then any other disease, catastrophe, illness, terrorism, etc....50 million babies DIE a year world wide"
The minute you start throwing made up data and misinformation, it is the minute I start to ignore everything that you say. If you are so right about what you believe then you should not have to make up numbers, data or statistics.
Don’t even get me started regarding the use of the word holocaust. Go search what it really means and why the surviving Jews used that word. Don’t go appropriating things that are not yours.

Also, there is a lot of privilege showing not only in that blog but in some of this comment too.

Kim said...

I agree on both accounts Katie. Whether we induce ovulation through a pill or shot, it's all the same. You can't call one ART and not the other.

I don't know what the conversation was about using a condom to collect a sample for testing, but I assume use of a condom is not permitted under any circumstances.

I understand your point, we can't bend and twist the rules where we see fitting....I think that's one of the biggest arguments against Catholics (well and Christians in general)and I was raised Catholic as well, so I am not pointing fingers.

Crossed Fingers said...

I read the post and then left the blog because I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was the most uneducated, narrow minded post I've read in a VERY long time.

She was twisting the rules to fit her situation so she wasn't sinning but everyone else around her was.

I had so much to say I couldn't even word it right if I wanted to. It was more like *head pops* from the pressure I was feeling once I was done reading.

Bottom line - everyone lives their life according to their own rules they have set up. If you want to follow what a book tells you is right or wrong, fine. But don't you judge those who don't follow your rules - I do believe that bible also says "treat others as you wish to be treated".

People cherry pick verses out of the bible to back up their stances on one thing or another - but then gloss over or ignore other parts. I have believed if you want to follow the bible - follow it - don't decide which lessons work for you and which are best to be thrown at other people.

I was disgusted with the post...so disgusted.

waiting and wishing said...

Such a touchy subject... but you write about it in a way that shows that you clearly have a passion and an educated stance. I admire that about you. You talk about hard topics and force me to think- it is always a pleasure to read your words!

~C~ said...

"I apologize for misunderstanding, I read this,
"The issue of potential discarded embryos is completely irrelevant to most of us." by ~C~

If that is not the case, then my apologies."

What you did not read, or perhaps did not connect, was the reason I gave, following that statement, of why the issue of discarded embryos is irrelevant to most of us. Because most of us will not have embryos to discard anyway. The idea that most people undergoing ART produce a plethora of viable, surviving embryos that must be dealt with somehow or another is propaganda.

And really, comparing fertility treatment to taking someone's kidney against their will is a poor analogy. Subjecting someone to IVF against her will, or - hey! - forcing her to carry a pregnancy to term against her will, would be a better comparison to removing a kidney against someone's will.

AplusB said...

I read the post and the comments. I hate conflict, so I don't want to say anything too specific here, but what really bothered me the most is how she used her religion to judge others and accuse them of murder no less. I am not a religious person and people like her are the reason why. I simply could not be part of something that creates such a black and white picture of the world and is so intolerant of different views. That said, although I disagree with her in every single way, she does have a right to voice her opinion. I'm just upset she did it in such a hateful and hurtful way. I'm glad her blog is now private. It would break my heart if a scared, newbie IFer stumbled on her blog to see that horrible image she posted. Good for it to be hidden from us.

someday-soon said...

No, I don't believe IVF bears any resemblance to abortion. And I agree with you that if the agrument of God's will is used in terms of treatment it's an all or none argument. I'm not a religious person but to my knowlege the bible doesn't encourage us to judge each others decisions, quite the opposite in fact. Good for you for throwing in you two cents, I didn't read the initial post but it must have been interesting, I've seen a number of religion posts today...

Lindsay said...

Very nice post. I wrote one very similar and then deleted earlier today because I just did not want to give her anymore space on a blog (just like you said).
I was appalled reading her post and all the comments. The amount of judgment thrown out was astonishing and personally I think cruel. How dare she compare the two? Life is not fair, we all know this, but if God gave us the intellect to further our abilities to produce then there is nothing wrong with it. If God did not want IVF to work or was against it, then why would it work?
I think that if she had not already been pregnant herself the post would have been completely different. I do not wish her ill but I wish she would learn that it is not her place to make any kind of judgment like that.

Dawn said...

Very interesting debate. I actually converted to Catholicism about five years ago. My husband was brought up in a very strict Catholic household and never batted an eye at the morality of IVF. I think that he may have been more freaked out by the cost. :)

I don't see any comparison between IVF and the big "a" word. I actually think that there isn't any difference between embryo adoption and adopting a child.

I think that many times Catholics bear the brunt of these debates, but my parents are not Catholic, and my mother seemed to have an issue with us pursuing ART. I told her that if I had cancer would she not want me to use modern medicine to try to fight it? Then why wouldn't she want me to take every opportunity out there to have a baby.

I'm THRILLED to be pregnant after and IUI, but it always makes me a little sad to know that our boy's weren't created by us being together. Do people honestly think that we wnat to take pills, inject ourselves, and having our kids conceived in a clinic, rather than by being intimate with our significant others after a bottle of wine? No, we do it because we want to have children. Something that most of these people take for granted.

Jennifer said...

When you blindly follow something such as "The Catechism of the Catholic Church on: The gift of a child" you are following what some other Man said. I say Man because women don't make up the rules in the catholic church. Are you trying to say that the above is the word of god? Not likely. I don't blindly follow what anyone tells me no matter who they are, I think and reason for myself.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Right said Red- If you look above, I do see I am against discarded embryos. I have never had any to discard. On one IVF, I had one which we put in. On the second, we had two. But this is simply not true. The average number of embryos across all ages is something like 5-6. And only average of 30% of those embryos are able to be frozen as the end up not making it in the lab. (Which I recognize may be an issue for some, which I understand.) I did read the church's position on it, and they state over and over again that women have excess embryos up to 20 or 30.There ARE cases like those, but in the vast majority of cases (like mine) there are no surplus embryos. So it's not that I don't care, it's that it's irrelevant in my case. If I ever were to have excess embryos, I would have them frozen and use them myself at a later date. Or, if I didn't, I would donate them to someone else so that the life could be preserved. I think that is what the other posters meant as well. I think it's hard to make broad generalizations of people doing IVF as cases can be unique.

womb for improvement said...

I read the original post after you mentioned it on twitter.

I thought about responding but after reading the comments I realised that there was absolutely no point. Nothing I said would make the writer, or her fans, say "Oh yeah, that is a good point, you are right". And frankly none of their arguments were likely to sway me.

The internet is full of extremists - arguing their crazy all over the place - far better to ignore them.

I left the original post feeling a bit smug. Anyone who uses the word 'liberal' as an insult is exactly the sort of person I actively don't want to agree with. I would have worried if there was any aspect of her post that I thought showed even a smattering of rational thought.

suchagoodegg said...

I have seen several bloggers link and refer to this post and to be honest, I couldn't even bear to go and read the real thing. I am relieved, actually, that the blog is now private....the words and subsequent comments are hurtful, often false and attacking. Pretty much the opposite of why I visit blog-land.

I really hate to get into this sort of conflict, so I will keep my remarks short. I was raised Catholic, and although I am not a regular church goer as an adult, it is ingrained in me. As my regular blog readers know I was prepared to do IVF. And I believe if we had gotten pregnant that way the developing life would've been blessed and ultimately created by a higher power that goes above and beyond the brilliant RE. And that is a beautiful, miraculous thing.

Arlyne said...

I absolutely, positively, can't find any similarity at all between literally destroying life, & using IVF to create it. Not all of us are lucky enough to put it "in God's hands" & I don't believe that we should be denied parenthood because conventional methods don't work for us. Why would God allow those methods to be developed if He didn't want them used??? Is the Catholic woman who failed to use birth control & repeatedly spits out kids she can't afford & maybe neglects a better parent than I am because she conceived naturally??? I think not!!!

Beautiful Mess said...

It's really too bad that I found your blog through all the drama and such, but I am glad I found it. That being said, I read the post you're referring too, (someone RT it on Twitter)and I haven't been able to think of anything since. I really enjoy seeing others point of view on anything, not just this particular subject, and having a debate. But I draw the line at ignorance and bending the "rules" to fit your situation. Someone said (apologize for not remembering)it's all or nothing, you can't pick and choose. I believe that to a point. Life happens and when it does, your point of view might change.

I grew up catholic and I was taught to believe that if one was to kill him/herself, that person was going to hell. I agreed with it, until one of my best friends in high school killed himself. I don't see how a confused kid or someone who wants to have children is evil. It's not like those that are going through fertility treatments are doing it for the fun of it. Nor do they have some sort of agenda on building an army of "supreme beings", it's done out of love. How is that wrong?

Great post! I love how everyone is being so respectful and having a healthy debate.
*HUGS*

Arlyne said...

...and just for the record, please for give me for saying this, but I've never been more happy in my life to NOT be Catholic after reading her BS post!!!

Joey said...

This is Katie's husband leaving a comment for once. I was raised Catholic also but have found myself believing in a higher power but not necessarily organized religion. I just can't fathom how someone can take the word of the Catholic Church to heart like this when they are facing problems like child molestation and money laundering. People like this lady will take what she wants from the Church and customize it to what works for her. Just my .02.

Kakunaa said...

First of all, I am really glad I don't know who or what this person is. Though I am insanely curious at this point. Anyway...

No, I don't think they are the same, or I didn't. But after reading comments and the fact that they both are related to reproductive choice...I see the link. However, I don't think EITHER can be construed as murder. We are not talking about sentient beings here.

I will say that my husband and I SWORE we would not do IVF a year ago, for our own reasons, not religious. More...ethical I guess. A year later we have an IVF baby on board. IF changes things. We have 3 frozen embies, fate as of yet undetermined, but donation is a strong possibility if we can't afford a FET. It is a VERY difficult decision, and incredibly personal, and not one of us should have to deal with guilt trips...it's hard enough as it is. All we want to do is create a life, just like anyone else. And I could go on and on, but I will stop.

Thank you for posting this and opening up a very real and safe discussion.

A said...

I read the post and it made me sick, too. I think it is awful how they phrase Ivf procedures incorrectly. The doctor cannot make an egg fertilize EVEN if they do icsi! And it is not the doctor or any selfishness that keeps that embryo alive. It is GOD. the doctor or weary IF patient cannot implant the embryos-they only transfer them and pray like they never have before that their little embie will stick around.

I was so mad about that post that I could barely think straight. It's a real shame that some people have to be so awful to others sharing the same cross.

Stolen Eggs said...

This issue has been on my mind a lot this week. But let me first say that I am not a religious person. And I am pro-choice. Although I've never been sure whether I could personally go through wit it.

I recently did IVF. And now I have to terminate the subsequent ectopic pregnancy. I am a jumble of emotions. Part of me feels like I mucked with nature (not God) and this is what I get. This is the price I pay. Another part of me feels more sure than ever that doing IVF, and subsequently having 4 embryos on ice, was the best decision ever. If I ever get past this experience I know I have another chance. Four more chances in fact. Those embryos are not unloved or disposable. They are my only chance at a biological family. They represent hope.

Amanda said...

I think the part of this whole mess that bothered me the most was that this blogger said that when you implant embryos into your body and they do not implant it is like abortion.

I had 2 embryos transferred into my uterus. One of them implanted and one of them didnt. She basically said that the embryo that died was like abortion. I have this quoted on my blog.


Believe me, I want all of my embryos to have a chance at life. The one embryo didnt implant....because it was God's will.

Oh....and Katie--thanks for calling me lovely! Great post! :)

Right Said Red said...

I don't think Sew has customized anything. She is actually following the teaching of the church with her choices. Her method of communicating her opinion could use a bit of charity, but her actual choices regarding fertility accurately reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Overall, it seems that people don't like a church that tells them what they can and cannot do. I thought that was one of the main points of a church? It's fine if you aren't Catholic, or don't believe in the teachings of the church, but to say that someone who believes in them very strongly, and makes personal sacrifices to follow those teachings (the lady in question did go through 5 years of infertility and was planning to foster children in lieu of IVF) is not honest.

Sometimes we aren't going to like the teachings of another religion, and that's ok. But don't accuse other people of picking and choosing their teachings when in actuality they are trying their absolute best to follow what the church teaches.

As a society we want what we want when we want it. Whether it is a child or a purse, we have no tolerance for anyone, or any organization that tells us No.

Secret Sloper said...

Red, I agree and have already agreed several times that Sew (among others) is not picking and choosing but following the guidelines of the Church. I'm picking and choosing, and I freely admit it. But that's between me and my conscience (and my confessor, I suppose) and not your concern.

But this statement: "As a society we want what we want when we want it. Whether it is a child or a purse, we have no tolerance for anyone, or any organization that tells us No." is the kind of facile dismissal of other people's DEEPLY held beliefs that gives your side of this debate such a terrible name. It's an utterly specious and inappropriate comparison to draw. (And it also betrays a total lack of any understanding of the experience and lessons of infertility and loss, primary among them the understanding of how LITTLE control any of us have over our lives and the need to relinquish so much of our dreams about how we would achieve our desires).

Implying that those whom you disagree with hold a purse and a child as equally desirable is not giving other people the honest consideration YOU request for your own beliefs. It's an absurd and demeaning equation, and to use it shows the disdain with which you consider those who do not already agree with you. Further, you ignore the fact that many of these women you consider part of a Godless society that idolizes personal will above all else are also women of faith--Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or otherwise--whose views on IVF may square fully with their religious teachings. How are they ignoring God or religion by using a procedure that is supported by their religious teachings? Why should a non-Catholic hold the Catholic Church's teachings on ART as any sort of guide at all?

I understand that you'll probably think I'm betraying the Church and sinning deeply by even considering certain ART procedures--considering them from a Catholic perspective that would seek to preserve any life created. But your opinion doesn't bother me. I don't consider you my moral guide or the arbiter of Church teachings. And I am not that for you (nor should you care what my opinions about the way you conduct your religious life may or may not be).

Unless all you want is to preach to your very small choir, I suggest you approach kindhearted, suffering people with the compassionate desire to understand and sympathize with their plight that you so far have entirely lacked. Then you can debate the theology.

S.I.F. said...

A. I completely agree with you. If you are going to use God's will as a deterrent to reproductive treatments, it really does have to be all or nothing. Don't go judging someone who has gone one or two steps above you on that basis. If that is your reason for judging it, than you better not be doing a darn thing to interfere with "God's Will" either.

B. Stop judging people anyway for Pete's sake! If those are your reasons for making those decisions, great. But who on earth gave you the right to judge another person’s choices? Not freaking cool at all!

C. I am actually pro-choice. I always have been, and my infertility journey hasn't changed that. I know this isn't an abortion discussion, but I just felt the need to clarify that. Never in my life have I ever been a girl who would ever consider having one myself (I've always known if I got pregnant, that was meant to be and I would make it work - no matter what!), but I have always strongly believed that it was not my choice to make for someone else... and I stand by that. Whole heartedly. I am not pro-abortion in any way, but I respect a woman’s right to make the choices she deems best for her. Abortion breaks my heart, but it is not my decision to make for anyone else.

D. Anymore than going to IVF is my choice to make for anyone, or anyone else’s choice to make for me! These people have NO IDEA what it means when you literally do not have any other choices. When there is physically NO chance for you to get pregnant naturally because of damage that has occurred due to diseases and circumstances outside of your control. To suggest that someone should simply seek out other ways to conceive naturally is asinine. I would like to know if they have the same opinion when they wake up from surgery with no tubes anymore due to severe damage.

E. It is now 2 in the morning, I was already having trouble sleeping, and you officially have me fired up! Katie, you have my mind running 1000 miles a minute! I just... I hate that people could be so cruel, judgmental, and stupid all at once. I hope you don't mind, but I am going to post a link to your post here on my community... It's something I would now really like to discuss with the women there! So, I may be sending some people this way!

Katie said...

Right Said Red: "Overall, it seems that people don't like a church that tells them what they can and cannot do. I thought that was one of the main points of a church?"

I have serious issues with this statement, because I DON'T think that telling people what they can and cannot do should be one of the main points of a church. In fact, this is a large issue of mine with the Catholic Church and part of the reason I no longer attend. If the Catholic Church tells you that you need to jump off of a bridge, would you do it? Because it's sort of the same thing - blind faith.

In my opinion, you should be following God blindly, not a church. I don't want to go to a church to follow rules. I want to go to a church to build my relationship with God, and to surround myself with a community of loving, supportive people who will encourage me in my spirituality.

Also, you say, "Whether it is a child or a purse, we have no tolerance for anyone, or any organization that tells us No." My issue here is with organization. No, I don't want an organization to tell me no. The rules of the Catholic Church are not created by God or derived from the Bible. They are man-made rules telling couples how to behave in every aspect of their lives.

By the way, I notice you have four children. May I ask if you were ever diagnosed with infertility?

Right Said Red said...

Katie,

It took me 4 years and a full term stillbirth to have my 4 children. Through that experience I befriended many women with a heavier cross than myself and came to pray for infertile women every single day. It was the adoption of a dear friends daughter than changed my heart in ways I cannot fully explain in a comment. I offer all my labors for the intentions of those desiring a baby, and while I realize that isn't comparable to what you all have been through, it's all I can offer.

I should be clear that my prayers are with all of you. Always. I only got involved here because I have a big concern about the baby's created in the IVF process. It is a major ethical issue, one none of us should take lightly.

As to what you said about a church, let me add that Jesus said to the apostles, "he who hears you hears me." Acts 15 or 12 (can't remember) shows how the apostles after the death of Christ resolve theological issues. If the church has no authority (other than when it agrees with your conscience, it is no more than a support group, not a church connected to a higher power). If the church has no authority, the Bible has no authority (it was the church who declared what books went into the bible). If as a Christian, the Bible has no authority, you are really just relying on your own conscience and nothing else. Our conscience is VERY important, and must be followed at all times, but it is our responsibility to form it, and to look for guidance when we have moral questions. I turn to the church for that guidance, and I trust that those teachings are true and good. If one of them doesn't make sense to my conscience, you better believe I think and pray about it A LOT! I have never felt the church told me to do something (like jump off a bridge), but rather they told me not to do things, (like abortion).

Of course I would not jump off a bridge if the someone from the Church told me too, and the church says we should never go against our conscience. The church VERY rarely tells us to do anything (other than love!), instead it tells us not to do things that the church believes to be sinful. There is a big distinction between positive obligations (Love), and negative prohibitions (Sin). The negative prohibitions are like warning or danger signs, a warning to my conscience that such an activity might not be ok. In that case, we should proceed with caution.

If the bible and a church has no authority to you, you are really just making up your own religion, which is fine, and I don't judge those who do this, but it then follows that church isn't any more than a social support group, so why call it church? I really respect my friends who have taken this position, as it seems logically consistent to me.

As for the purse analogy, which many found offensive, I apologize as no offense was meant. What I do know is that in our society, many, many people treat children as a right, their right, and we have gone so far that choosing the gender or eliminating a child with a defect is considered ok. There is a great miracle and mystery in the creation of life, and every child should be the result of an act of love (in the extreme case some children are conceiving in an act of rape, but that doesn't make the rape ok!). I think we all need to question our thinking a bit when we start to talk about freezing embroys or creating embroys that we will give for adoption later, conceiving babies in a lab, etc. The thought that you would create embroys that may or may not be used later starts to sound very much like the children are a piece of property, and that is very thorny, and the reason I compared it to a purse. There are major ethical issues here, which I'm sure you all know.

I wish you all the best on your journey to become a mother. May you form your conscience well, and may God Bless you all on this very difficult path.

Stephanie said...

Katie, I love that you posted this. I learned so much as someone who is relatively new to the IF world and as someone who is Christian but works in a Catholic school (where I've been advised to keep my IF journey a secret by my non Catholic boss - yes seriously). While I can understand where the Catholic church is making the connection between A and IVF (discarded embryos)- that is their view and those of us not of that religion shouldn't be labeled murderers. I didn't read the post and don't know who wrote it, but certainly from everything I've read and heard from my place of employment taking fertility drugs or using a condom also are against the Catholic beliefs (at least in my group of co-workers, peers, etc). No birth control means just that - don't use anything to stop life from being created, and don't use anything to help life be created.

I also agree wholeheartedly with those who discuss God's will. IVF isn't 100% successful, it takes God's hand to let the embryo(s) implant and form a heartbeat.

Right Said Red said...

The Catholic Church doesn't oppose fertility drugs. Let us speak the truth, even if we disagree.

Right Said Red said...

I meant to say 4 years and a full term stillbirth before I birthed my first healthy baby, sorry for that typo...but regardless, I am of course not qualified to rate, judge, or completely understand the pain of the infertility you are experiencing.

I am, however, able to have an opinion on the human life of an embryo, and on the creation of the next generation of human beings. Organizations are also allowed to have an opinion on this matter, and to have an opinion on an ethical issue isn't to judge an individual couple and damn them to hell.

And as for my background, I understand this is an emotional topic, but emotion often clouds the intellect. When my daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness in utero, I was urged to abort. My emotions were going crazy. I felt trapped, depressed, and very angry at God. Regardless of this, by the grace of God, I did what I knew to be right--I carried to term-- regardless of my emotions. While I have a deep compassion and understanding for any woman who chooses otherwise (I know what it feels like to be in that position and it sucks!), I can also say that to abort your baby because they are sick is wrong. I say this only to make the point that acting morally isn't the equivalent of acting on our emotions. While sometimes emotions act to change our hearts toward good, they can also act to change our hearts in the wrong direction.

Again, my prayers are with all of you grappling with these moral issues and the cross of infertility. It plain sucks, and I'm sorry you have to go through it.

Joy said...

Thank you, Red, for representing the church teachings well in your last few comments. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding going on here. The last comment by Stephanie is a perfect example of making an assumption that you know the teachings, when you have them very incorrect.

There is a lot of misinformation out there and it can be easy to hear one Catholic make a statement about this and that and then just believe it, without really investigating and finding out the true teachings. I doubt that many of you have read and studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I wouldn’t expect you too if you do not share the faith! I have not read the teachings of every church you belong to either. If you want to understand why and exactly what the Catholic Church teaches, it would be a good place to start. If I would want to learn more about your faith, I would want to review your specific church documents as well. Does reviewing and learning about them mean I have to believe them, of course not…. And the same goes for you as well.

I’m not writing these for you to say how they are right or wrong… just to clarify. Obviously, we all can believe what we wish.

To clarify a few of the big misconceptions about the church teachings:
• The use of condoms. It is true; the church is against condoms for the use of contraception. That is a pretty well known fact and an entirely separate issue. Seminal fluid samples can, however, be obtained from a non-lubricated, perforated condom after normal intercourse.

Now, you might say this is “bending the rules.” You can think what you would like, but that is within the guidelines of the church. The semen is not collected without the marital act, through masturbation. It does not disrupt the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual love. It still allows the couple to be open to life.

• The use of fertility drugs. Like it has been stated many times before on this and other blogs, the Catholic Church is NOT against fertility drugs. It does not say you should not treat an illness… whether that is PCOS, endo, cancer, the flu, etc. It is not an all or nothing approach.

The general rule of thumb: Any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral. Example… fertility drugs!

Procedures which add a "third party" into the act of conception, or which substitute a laboratory procedure for intercourse, are not acceptable. Examples would be IVF, AI, ICSI, ovum donation, surrogate uterus.

(Information from http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/treatment.shtml and also from http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/donumvitae.htm#intro2)

There is SO MUCH more to this. This is just touching the surface. Infertility is one of the hardest crosses to bear, for any of us. It is not an easy path!! It is so hard. Who ever thought that ANY of us would even be dealing with this?? NOT ME!! I am thankful that I have the church to help guide my husband and I. Do we want a children. Yes, so much. Do we feel entitled to a child? No. I, personally, feel that a child is a gift from God. While I will do whatever I can to restore my fertility through what I see as moral means, I will not go to any length and bend my beliefs to fit our personal situation. Many peopel do and have done just that. They throw our the teachings that do not fit their life. That is their choice. I cannot do that. Would having IVF be ‘easier’ (and I use that term VERY loosely) than sticking to my religious beliefs… maybe. But to me, my moral code and maintaining the dignity of my marriage and the unborn is worth all the suffering I would have to endure. That’s for me… I’m not saying or judging you for doing or not doing the same. This is my opinion on my life.

Jess said...

Oh my goodness, so many words surrounding these issues! I couldn't possibly relay all my thoughts, but some are as follows.

Abortion and IVF cannot possibly be put on the same level. Typically, abortion is a choice someone who gets pregnant, not wanting to be, takes- choosing to end a life, most likely because of irresponsible decisions, although sometimes for rape or some other horrible incident one has no control over.

IVF is most obviously a choice people going through infertility make in hopes of becoming pregnant.

Now, if there is debate over God's will for us vs. free will, well I believe that a little bit of both go into our lives. God has a plan for us, but the little decisions WE make daily, called free will, lead us either towards or away from God's will for us. But, either way, He already knows what we will choose.

Anyways, if IVF, or clomid, or other fertility drugs are sinful, so is tylenol, chemotherapy...perhaps even toothpaste??? Nah...I just can't believe that.

I guess, my end thoughts are that everyone sins- maybe we each have different thoughts as to what is sinful and what's not, but the Bible has the answers. Do some praying and reading through the Word.

By all means, don't persecute others for their decisions...we are not supposed to judge others and condemn them, God will judge us someday (directed towards whoever wrote those awful things, but we could all learn from this).

Marci said...

I've read through most of the posts and consulted with a dear Catholic friend and she affirms that the official position is that any out of body reproduction (IUI or IVF) would be contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church. (and they can't figure out why they're losing people.)

One of the arguments that kept popping up on the other site was the idea that IVF wasn't necessary to produce children, that cured a symptom, not a problem, and didn't all good and right thinking people want to cure the problem that causes infertility, not the symptom itself?
The interesting thing about that is whenever that argument was used, it was used specifically to point to WOMEN's problems. I don't know if that's a result of the poster(s) knowing the audience was primarily composed of infertile females, or a MFIF (My Fault, I'm female) bias.
Personally, I would love to have "cured" whatever problem was causing my infertility, but we never found a problem with either me or my husband during the course of testing. So to be able to point and say, "this! This needs fixing. Do that, and you're cured," wasn't really an option.
Reducing stress, eating habits, exercise, weight loss, weight gain, pills, and shots, ultimately didn't fix anything for me.
So while it's entirely worthwhile to say, "I'd like the fix the problem." that assumes there's a fixable problem that can isolated and treated. How nice it would be if life worked like that.
But regardless, the simple truth is that shots and pills as long as IUI or IVF procedures are not involved, are acceptable in the Catholic church (Would not be in the Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist, though). You can disagree with that position, and I think many of us here do, but that doesn't make someone evil for believing it.
The argument about IVF being equal to abortion is almost irrelevant, only because IUI is equally prohibited even though there's no element of discarded life. If the objection of the Church is based on the future of the eggs, then IUI would be okay, and IVF would stand alone as the rejected alternative.
Personally, I think it is a deeply loving act, a true act of faith and self-sacrifice to lock yourself in a room alone and masturbate under sterile conditions, or to walk into a room and lie down while a near stranger injects your husband's sperm into your nethers, or lie passively while eggs are retrieved and replaced on a 1 in 4 chance that this might be day G-d blesses you with the child you've been begging for since the day your got married in front of G-d and witnesses.
But maybe the Catholic church will recognize that with Vatican III.

Joy said...

Katie - I posted a comment earlier... it might be in your spam mail, it has not posted yet, but I got an email about it posting. Oh, blogger. :) So... this and/or the other one might seem a little out of order when it is finally posted. Sorry.

There are many moral implications in regard to IVF, that are often just pushed aside. It's not easy to think about what you would do in the worst case scenario. It's is wonderful to say that you'd never want freeze embryos or you would give them all a chance for life. I highly doubt that anyone wanting to create life so bad would want to destroy their embryos. I can't imagine from reading any of your comments or stories that that would be the case.

I wanted to share a personal story. Does this kind of situation happen a lot? I don’t know. Does it have the potential to occur often? Yes, I’ve seen it myself.

I knew a couple that went through IVF and have three beautiful children. Her last pregnancy was difficult and she was physically unable to carry any more children. The couple had frozen several more embryos to use for future IVF cycles. They were all produced during before her first successful IVF cycle. Due to a number of circumstances, they had to give permission for the lab to take them out of their frozen state and either use them for research or destroy them. It was horrible for both of them. Horrible! This is the part of IVF that people don't want to think about. She believed those embryos to be her children and she and her husband had to destroy them (embryo adoption was not an option at the time). Does she love her children she was able to have create through IVF -- of course!! More than anything!! Does she mourn the children that were created, that she wasn't able to ’use’ so to speak- YES, horribly so! She thinks about that everyday. She has so many feelings of guilt and anguish over her decision to do IVF, even now. Never did she think that the entire IVF process would lead to anything but a happy family. I can't imagine that pain! I would not wish it on anyone! I don't think any of you would either. It's like she got the best... and the worst of IVF. Very sad.

I truly do hope all of you find happiness in your quest to become parents and you never ever experience this kind of pain.

Obviously not all infertility or any other illness for that matter, can be explained or given a simple fix. How frustrating! I think that the commenters on the other blog were asserting that there are many medical practices and treatments (that often do not include IVF) that are often bypassed by many mainstream doctors in order to get a desired result - a baby. There are several fertility doctors, RE's, etc. that take the time to find out the reason behind the infertility, but an equal number of them, that do not. That can often be a true disservice to the couple. As many of you know, sometimes there is not a find, not a specific problem discovered. I imagine that to be a horrible cross to bear.

Just a side note (not really related to the topic at hand) to Marci, contrary to popular belief... while there are many individuals that leave the Catholic church and many other churches every year, there is currently a wonderful trend among young church goers across many denominations. It is a return to orthodoxy in what can often seem like an out of control selfish world, where people are often applauded for doing whatever they want to get whatever they want. It is a counter-cultural trend, often called The New Faithful, that is rapidly spreading and is predicted to impact future generations in a very positive way. :)

Siera said...

I will weigh in that no IVF can't compare to the A word as I am going to be an egg donor coming up, obviously I am for IVF. One thing I am not sure how I feel about if a desired number of IVF's and FET's are successful with my intended parents then what comes of the left over embryos. I thought that maybe they would be destroyed but it seems like such a waste to not donate them. Then you have to enter into the "adoption" of the embryos and wondering if a new set of IP's will live up to your standards. IVF is complicated for sure.

Michaela said...

I guess after all is said in done you have to decide whether or not you give crap about what the Catholic Church says! I for one do not hold any stake in their teachings. You are talking about the same institution that will deny rights to all humans beings. Human beings that are already born to this earth due to race, religion or sexual orientation. An institution that has killed more human beings in the "name of God" than any war...so, really does the church's opinion matter that much...if it does I suggest you find another church. One that embraces!!

lis said...

okay, i get it. YOUR church (which i used to call MY church) doesn't agree with anything past a condom assisted IUI. whatever dude. look, i DO NOT CARE what you think about what i do with my body. I DO NOT CARE what you say about me and my IF sisters and brothers who give ever piece of themselves to one day be able to call ourselves parents. just because you think we shouldn't doesn't mean we shouldn't-see how that works?
the desire to create and carry one's own children is innate. there is nothing unnatural about it. and look, i don't understand where so many of the posters get their moral superiority. i LOVE that someone posted that those of us who have exhausted appropriate attempts at conception should adopt and serve others. (btw, written by a man, not the word of god) um, so we're the only ones? how many of you have adopted a child in need? didn't think so. i bet you wouldn't get past the paperwork or the down payment.
because in the depths of your superiority complex you think YOU are the chosen ones and we are the poor little infertiles, relegated to pick up everyone's scraps. you can go ahead and shove your moral superiority where the blessed sun doesn't shine because i know no one so pious that they can afford to worry about my salvation above their own. and hiding behind the (thin) veil of christianity doesn't work. your intolerance and hatred is showing.
oh and if you forgot, WE DON"T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. so go and try and save someone else, perhaps your pope? or your priests?

i miss the days when i was proud to say that i was a catholic.

Lu said...

Aaaggghhh! I don't think these two words should even be in the same sentence (with the exception of you bringing this ridiculous notion to light).

Religion aside, they're not even close to being the same thing.

God said, "be fruitful and multiply." and some of us just have to try harder than others. Thankfully, he made scientists and physicians smart enough to figure out some of that stuff.

Of course, I'm now dying to know which blogger wrote that post...

Joy said...

Lis - It seems as if you might have some issues with the teachings of the Catholic Church and anger with church in general. I'm getting a similar vibe from Michaela. The teachings were posted as a means of clarification. There had been several misconceptions being posted in the blog world and they were posted to clear up some of the confusion - so people reading this post, could read them for themselves and get a SMALL snapshot of some of the teachings.

They were NOT posted with a mandate stating that everyone HAS TO agree with them or believe in them. I actually stated, "I’m not writing these for you to say how they are right or wrong… just to clarify. Obviously, we all can believe what we wish" and "That’s for me… I’m not saying or judging you for doing or not doing the same. This is my opinion on my life." I'm sorry if you felt that this was telling you what you have to believe. It was not intended for you, or anyone else to do so. As previously stated, you and anyone else entitled to their own opinion, which it seems you already have.

As for you statement on adoption, I would have to respectfully disagree and again state that there seems to be a misunderstanding of the original statement. The church does not mandate that all couples dealing with infertility adopt children. It is simply a suggestion on a way to grow your family. It is in no way saying that ONLY couples with infertility should adopt. I can see how you might jump to that conclusion. However, that is a bit of a leap and an incorrect one, at that.

I'm not clear on exactly who the 'YOU' is when you aasked, "how many of YOU have adopted a child in need?" Catholics? Catholics with infertility? Catholics who are fertile? Non-Catholics? Couples with infertility? Singles with infertility? Couples who are fertile? Jews? Muslim? Hindus? The population of the world in general? Gosh, I don't know ANY of these statistics. If you do, please share them.

My husband and I have discussed adoption and we are open to adopting as a means to grow our family. I guess, since we have infertility, we'd fall into the 'poor little infertiles" category, as you named it. Gosh, did you think I thought of myself as a "choosen one"? Again a name, you said -- not I, not the church. I don't. I also don't think of myself (and neither does the church to my knowledge) as a poor little infertile, either.

I believe that some people feel a call to adopt and some do not. I know fertiles and infertiles a like who have adopted and those who do not feel adoption is in their future. I sincerely hope that anyone that is called to adoption, for whatever reason, does NOT think of adoption as... how did you put it... "pick[ing] up others scraps"! I have NEVER heard one adoptive couple call their adopted child a "scrap". I more often hear terms such as miracle, gift from God, son, daughter, etc. I think many of you would agree with me on this one.

As for the exact numbers you asked for, I do not know. I can say that I personally know 14 families who have been blessed with the gift of adoption in the last year! I know many more who are waiting for this gift. They are families that have infertility and families that are as fertile as can be. They got past the down payment and paperwork. Amazing, huh? Yes, actually. Adoption can be amazing. I've witnessed it and it is beautiful (again, just my humble opinion).

I'm sorry you have such harsh feelings about the church. I believe I most likely feel the exact opposite. For some reason, as much as you say that my "intolerance and hatred" is showing through... it seems that you, and maybe some others as well, might possibly have a little of that of your own. That is your right. Granted, that is just my opinion -- and you have already established over and over that you do not care what I think.

All the best to you. :)

Joy said...

I think there may be a comment in your spam mail... :) Not sure why it does that! Sorry!

lis said...

Joy, first off let me thank you for keeping a calm head. And let me apologize for grouping you in with the many hatemongers who I have personally come across in this interchange and in many, many other conversations about ivf/art that I have participated in on the internet. Forgive me for misinterpreting your posted "teachings" and intentions for doing so. I can say for me, yes both infertility and the church are a sore spot. I spent 12 years in catholic school and now find myself cast out by my own religion because I have a disease that destroyed my fallopian tubes. I don't feel that I have any less of a right to build a family created of my husband than anyone else. I understand that others disapprove/disagree. For that, no I don't care. I don't believe that others have the right to preach intolerance and hate in gods name (not saying you, trust me, this is a daily occurance for many of us infertiles who pursue ivf. For me nothing else was an option, and I don't believe that anyone knows what they would do, regardless of their beliefs, until they sit in a room with a doctor who tells them that they will never conceive naturally. its easy for so many posters here to think that they would, but trust me, they wouldn't. And you may know, as an infertile, that many people will suggest "just adopt!" With a dismissive smile on their faces. I IN NO WAY mean to demean the process of adoption and the children or families that result from it. I agree that it is a beautiful thing. For many reasons, though, money, sexuality, age and tons of other reasons, adoption is not an option for some couples. I called it "picking up the scraps" because when people suggest it to some of us, it feels like the onus of saving the foster and adoptive children of the world is on us. That's just not fair. My husband and I will probably adopt a child or more even if we are successful with fertility treatments, but its not fair to assume that all couples are able to pursue it, its just not. And hey, my post was surely emotional. My babies would never have been here without ivf. Even though I couldn't keep them, I would never regret them. My husband and I celebrated and loved each embryo that we created. And we put each one back. Of course, we only made 6 in two rounds of ivf. Look, I was brought up in a church that taught me to love others, not to persecute. I have been brutally persecuted for my choices. I can handle it, but I just wish things were different. Where I worried about my judgement and others about theirs. I believe (hot headed comments aside, and really, it wasn't THAT bad) that I put only good into this world, and I plan to pass that on through my children, however they get here. I just wish people could see the 99% of things that they would approve of, not the 1% that they don't. I want to save my IF brothers and sisters from judgement, that's all. As you know, this life and this problem we both face is hard enough. Can't we find a way to help each other through it without being adverse? (Again, not to you, to all the meanies) I hope this posts, its v long!

lis said...

again to Joy (my firstborn's middle name, so how could i ever argue with you anyway!?)
i got my computer because after i responded to you on my phone something was bothering me.
i went back and checked and ill include the quote i was responding to:
"2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others."

so maybe now you can see how i felt like oh, well hey infertile, it's alright, just adopt some abandoned children and perform some demanding services for others and all will be well!! umm, isn't that what all good people should be doing if we have the means?

and you did not write that quote. i read your post earlier and i just re-read it again. i have to tell you that the first time i read it this afternoon, i thought the name said JOEY and i thought it was Katie's husband commenting again. i thought, "wow, he sure does know his stuff and is really well spoken and looking at both sides"
then you spoke of your husband and i realized the comment was written by JOY not JOEY. it didn't change how i felt about your comment. i understand and fully support your opinion. i wish i had the same understanding and support from so many others. see, i believe my god is wonderful enough to gift with intelligence and move the hand of my doctors. i believe that no human can make an embryo to implant inside of me. these are my beliefs and i won't outline all of them here, but i would hope that you and others would respect me and my beliefs and my own relationship with my higher power. judging from your comment, i feel like you would, maybe. im sorry that i didnt pick up the computer to answer you at first, i could have cleared this up then, but i hope you know that none of my earlier comments were directed at you.

here's to the best for all of us.

Beautifuleyes said...

No IVF is not murder and neither is ABORTION.
The church or any so called 'Supreme religious leader' is not a prophet or messenger of GOD. They are just human and can be wrong. We do not know what Jesus would have thought about treating IF because the medical treatments did not exist at the time. Using medical science to treat infertility is a way to do Gods work using the intelligence and hard work that God made us capable of. Falling back on the 'accept God's will' argument can and has been an excuse for laziness,cowardice and delusional thinking.
There have been reports all over the media with interviews of the first IVF children in different countries. They all think their parents were really cool.They know they were longed for,fought for, worked for and cherished because of how they were concieved.
The surgeries,the pain,the needles,the tears,the love and the prayers.
If this is not a loving conception what is?

Beautifuleyes said...

http://chancesour.blogspot.com/2010/08/faith-fertility-and-doogie-howser.html?spref=tw

Katie said...

"You can disagree with that position, and I think many of us here do, but that doesn't make someone evil for believing it." - Marci

My response: For the record, I never said (or thought) she was evil for her beliefs. And I never intended for my original post to come across as judging; if it did, I apologize to those of you who felt this way. I was (and am) simple upset that others are being judged.

Another point I want to make is that this post spawned from a post about the Catholic religion and IVF/"a" word. I'm not trying to single out or place the entire burden of this discussion on the Catholic Church. I realize that other religious groups feel similarly. The reason why I wrote about the Catholic Church was because it's what spawned this topic.

For the record, my family members - still incredibly strict, practicing Catholics - have supported and continue to encourage me in my journey with infertility. I guess I am lucky enough to be blessed with a family who is willing to overlook the rules of the Church in my quest for motherhood.

I think there needs to be tolerance. I respect everyone's choice in reproduction, but I also believe that you should respect mine and not categorize me based on your personal beliefs. It's as simple as that.

And I strongly disagree with the notion that children of IVF are not children of love. Children created through fertility treatments are the ULTIMATE children of love. They are created with more sacrifice, effort, and prayer than anyone could ever imagine.