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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Can Understand the Allure of In Vitro Fertilization

This past week I was on a blessed and relaxing vacation with friends and family. Part of the holiday weekend was spent with my husband's family for a family get together. Over the past few years the family joke was that someone was always pregnant. This was apparent by the 6 children present under the age of 5.

My younger sister-in-law had just given birth 2 months ago and no one else was pregnant. My in laws looked to my husband and I for a surprise announcement but we didn't have any news to share. The secret we had only shared with our respective parents was that we had suffered a miscarriage in November, I would have been about 7.5 months along this past weekend.

Over this past weekend I met my newest niece and the child of my best friend, both these beautiful bundles are less than 4 months old. I have never seen their mothers happier than I did seeing them holding their children, at the same time I have never been more ashamed of how much I wished to have a child.

In vitro fertilization is the combining of a sperm and egg outside of the act of sex and replacing that egg back within the mother. Extra eggs and sperm are combined and saved in order for a higher rate of pregnancy or to try again for additional children. This practice is condemned by the Catholic Church because of the undertaking of playing God by all parties involved. It is also condemned because of the reckless wasting of life through the mingling of sperm and egg. Each of these zygotes also contains a human soul which regardless of implantation or not, means they are still humans. There is a waste of life because of the low implantation rate and that many of these children will not be "utilized" for a pregnancy.

However even with the cost I can see the allure, the desire and craving that parents seeking IVF as an option see. The chance of having a beautiful, biological, child of your own out weighs a lot for many parents. If I did not have the beliefs I did, IVF would be a very tempting option indeed.

However I look inside myself and know IVF is never an option for my husband and me. Let's go through a couple reasons here.

1.     I am not God.

Sex as a marital act requires both husband and wife and including God as the author of life. It is because of this relationship that heterosexual marriage mirrors both the relationship of Christ and his Church as well as the Trinity. By removing God as the author of life we are attempting to play God. Medical science would simply say that they are working to overcome a natural deficiency of the body, we are eliminating the need for faith and trust. We are coping the choice of Adam and Eve's first sin, trying to be as God.

Secondly, I don't always know what's best for me. Just as the parable of the parent who always gives good gifts, I may be asking for the wrong gift to fulfill what is best for me. So as my spiritual father, God will not give me a gift at just because I asked for it. There may be a greater wisdom in asking us to wait.

2.     Delayed gratification over instant.

There is no doubt that our modern society places an emphasis on what I can receive now without waiting. Once a woman finds out she's pregnant, she still has to wait 9 months to meet her child but, it doesn't make her any less of a mother. Because my husband and I are still waiting for a child to be born from us, doesn't make us any less of parents, but how joyful will we be when we are finally able to hold our child and have them safe in our arms.

3.     I have other places to put my time.

My Nephews
There are mother's who can do it all. They work full time, take care of their children, volunteer, keep their home running smoothly and more that I cannot imagine. I have met these women and stand in awe of them. At this time in my life, I don't know if I can ever be one of them. As it stands, I have other children that are in need of my time, they are the students working to grasp and take ownership of their faith, my nephews learning to save the world and friends who are beginning their lives with their children. I am allowed to work crazy hours and take time to delve into other passions. While I still crave and long to be a full time parent, I understand that there are other needs that I can devote myself too in the meantime.

With these reasons, it is still hard to wait. I have prayed very choice words in frustration, heartache, and humility trying to find answers. The biggest answer I have received through prayer is "wait and see." I fully acknowledge the desire to want a child, but are incapable of having one, yet. However, until the answer I have received changes, I will wait and see what the Lord has planned for me.