BLOG 1 BY MARCO MANALANG
Hello, my name is Marco Manalang and my series of blog posts will be focusing on a number of ethical issues which relate directly to the topic reverence for life. My first topic is primarily on the issue of IVF.
IVF, or in vitro fertilisation, refers to the process in which various treatments are undergone to remove the eggs from the ovaries (in a woman’s reproductive organ), in order to fertilise the eggs outside of the womb.
IVF was first introduced in order to provide a non-Orthodox solution to women who were suffering from complications in conceiving a child naturally.
In the perspective of the Catholic Church, IVF is completely disapproved and looked down upon by the Church’s beliefs and teachings.
It is an act by which the plan for God’s people is overthrown and manipulated, as God intended for mothers to be given the gift of life when their time has come. This has been changed through the introduction of IVF.
Firstly, what is IVF? In simple, in vitro fertilisation is the length process by which eggs are removed from the ovaries and mixed (or fertilised) with sperm in a laboratory dish.
There are 4 major steps that comprise of IVF; ovulation induction (taking medicines to create more eggs much faster), egg retrieval, fertilisation and implantation. Each of these steps are crucial in enabling the conception of the baby to occur, it is the exact same process which happens in the natural conception of a child but the process just occurs externally.
There are different variations of IVF, but all forms of IVF are not accepted by the Catholic Church regardless. More importantly, there are certain factors involved within IVF that are completely against the Church’s teachings.
For example, God’s plan for all mothers is to grant them with the gift of life inside of them. By undergoing IVF, women (and men) are essentially betraying God and being selfish about their own wants in life.
In addition, IVF can involve third party donors, in others words complete stranger who can donate sperm to fertilise the ovaries in IVF. This is obviously a blasphemous act, as humans are deciding what should and should not be created.
Another factor which is against the Church’s teachings is the process of IVF. It is a known fact that during fertilisation, there are several eggs (or possibly babies) which are killed off and not given any chance of life.
Human dignity is taken advantage of, and the Church strongly stands to believe that the natural conception of a child is the best way of respecting human dignity.
The Catechism teaches that is it not the worst form of sin, yet it still remains as something which is morally unacceptable.
The conception of a child begins through conception, and this is not exactly achieved in IVF. Although the Church celebrates the gift of life, in the Church’s perspective, IVF does not fulfil the conception of the child being a gift from God.
Pope Benedict XVI has said “The Church pays great attention to the suffering of couples with infertility, she cares for them and, precisely because of this, encourages medical research”.
Through this, the Pope is trying to send a message that the Church is not actually against the medical advancements that scientists to solve infertility.
But, the Church does not want these medical advancements to exist and disturb or interfere with the dignity or life of a human person. This is a key aspect of why IVF is not accepted by the Church, because it is taking advantage of both a human person’s dignity and life.
The foundation of the Catholic Church’s stance on IVF is that the conception of a child is a gift from God, and it is not a right for humans. More importantly, is it not something that we should be taking advantage of for our own selfish needs.
The Church’s teachings are not in support of IVF and the processes which are associated with it, for example the act of masturbation in order to obtain the sperm to fertilise the egg (this is an immoral and sinful act).
IVF does take advantage of a human person’s dignity and life, it is something which is recognised yet not prevented otherwise. Hence, the Church does not oppose the children that are being born through IVF, but more focused on opposing how the child is conceived and why.