In Vitro Fertilization—A Pro-Life no-no or a way to finally let some have a family?
Here is the IVF process in a nutshell: The woman receives a round of hormone injections that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This stage involves frequent visits to the fertility clinic, about five in ten days, while the ovaries are regularly monitored by vaginal ultrasound. After roughly a week or two of hormone treatments, the eggs are retrieved. After this, eggs are fertilized and cultured for two to six days before being implanted in the uterus or chilled for further procedures if the first implementation doesn’t produce a zygote.
There are more reasons than infertility that women undergo this treatment (check out Apple and Facebook’s new policy of offering egg freezing to their female employees), but that is a large reason for it. When this process is undergone, there is more than one egg fertilized for the treatment. So, what happens to the other embryonic babies that come from this procedure? They are frozen and stored and stay this way for as long as the parent(s) want to pay the storage fee (which isn’t cheap—about $40 a month), and this is the part that isn't so pro-life. A recent estimate states that there are at least 600,000 leftover frozen embryos stored in fertility clinics across the country.
Since life begins at conception, in the womb or outside of it, what is the ethical thing to do with these babies once their parents have conceived with the other embryos and don’t want more children? Currently, the options are the embryos can be thawed and implanted to give them a chance at life, either in the mother’s womb or an adoptive mother’s womb, they can be turned over to labs where they will be destroyed and used for embryonic stem-cell research, or can simply be thawed and discarded as “biohazard waste.” Obviously, the first scenario is what pro-lifers fight for, but it isn’t what is always done because giving embryos to adoptive couples can be a lengthy and expensive process. Fighting for the parents to be able to give life to their other embryos is something we can all do.
The IVF process isn’t perfect, and there are complications within the procedure itself even before implementation which also causes some concern in the pro-life community (like the killing of embryos for genetic issues) and these are complications that parents need to be informed of before undergoing treatment, as well as ALL the options for their babies. In the long run, each pro-lifer has to decide on their own if IVF is acceptable or not.
Do your research.
Know your facts.
Always fight for life.