It’s good and normal to desire children – but at any cost?
9. IVF isn’t a cure for infertility. A healthy woman ought to be able to conceive and bear a child. If she can’t, something is likely to be wrong with her medically or physically. While she may have any number of conditions that can be diagnosed and treated, IVF won’t help since it is solely focused on making babies. It won’t restore fertility, lead to healthy future pregnancies, prevent miscarriages or help a woman realize long-term health benefits (whether or not she becomes pregnant).
10. IVF objectifies women and children. IVF objectifies women because it treats them as a means to a child, rather than as a whole person. The attitude behind IVF is to get the woman a product – the “baby” – rather than to approach her with integrity and holistically as a person entitled to good health care. The multi-billion dollar IVF industry combines the worst aspects of technological proficiency and a consumerist mentality and preys on the very natural (and good) desire for children. It also objectifies the women who are exploited to donate their “healthy” eggs or who are enticed to become surrogates. And the child “produced” through IVF is objectified, treated from her conception as an interchangeable, fungible and ultimately disposable commodity, rather than as a unique and beloved human person.
If you have concerns about IVF, like we did, what are your options? Couples facing infertility have better alternatives. NaproTechnology, for example, approaches infertility from a holistic perspective and focuses on diagnosing and treating a woman’s (and man’s) underlying health issues that may be causing infertility. Bonus: it also has a higher success rate than IVF. And of course, there are other ways to build a family, such as adoption, which do not involve the reckless or intentional disregard for human life.
But, what if you have exhausted medical treatments and don’t think adoption is for you? What if IVF holds out your last hope to conceive and bear a child? In the end, it may be difficult to accept that this might never happen. But, in seeking to do so through IVF, one must wonder at what cost.
Elizabeth Kirk, J.D., is a Resident Fellow at the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University and former Associate Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture. She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband and three children.
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