My Take: Catholic Church should reverse opposition to in vitro fertilization
Carolyn and Sean Savage with their kids.
May 10th, 2011
09:28 AM ET

My Take: Catholic Church should reverse opposition to in vitro fertilization

Editor's note: Sean Savage is coauthor of "Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift" and a cradle Catholic who lives in Sylvania, Ohio, with his wife and three children.

By Sean Savage, Special to CNN

According to the Roman Catholic Church, the only moral route to conceiving a child is through sexual intercourse. As a Catholic, I find the church's position to be discriminatory against couples who have medical conditions that prevent them from conceiving in that manner.

I never intended to challenge the church when my wife and I pursued in vitro fertilization in an effort to expand our family after a decade of unsuccessful infertility treatments. We loved our two boys and we'd always wanted a big family. After a successful IVF procedure in 2007 brought us our daughter in 2008, we tried again so that we could fulfill our commitment to give every embryo we created a chance at life.

When a fertility center made a critical error by transferring another couple's embryos to my wife, we were thrust into an unusual pregnancy and eventually found ourselves at the center of an intense media storm. On September 24, 2009, the day Carolyn gave birth to a very loved baby boy, who was immediately turned over to his genetic parents, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo released a statement to The Toledo Blade condemning IVF as "morally unacceptable."

Because we were the focus of the news, we felt as though the diocese was really condemning us.

The statement hurt Carolyn and me tremendously. We had hoped for the church's support and prayer on one of the hardest days we've ever faced.

Carolyn and I have always believed in our stewardship responsibilities to the church. I'd given thousands of hours over the years to coaching youth through my local parish, have raised funds for Catholic churches and schools and have given charitably to church causes. Carolyn had dedicated her career to teaching and working as a principal in Catholic schools.

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Instead of support, the church branded us in a very public way with the apparently shameful letters IVF. Why couldn't the church recognize our journey for what it was - an affirmation of the sanctity of life? Their negative response motivated me to look closer at the issue.

I believe there is an ethical path a couple can take when pursuing IVF and I ask the Roman Catholic Church to consider adopting a new doctrine that provides moral guidance for Catholic couples on how to do so.

While I share many concerns with the Catholic Church about abuses within the science of IVF, I disagree with a number of points the church makes on the issue. The church spelled out its stance in Donum Vitae, a 1987 doctrine on biomedical issues released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - an office then led by Cardinal Joseph Ratziner, who is now Pope Benedict XVI - and in 2008's Dignitas Personae, another influential church document.

The original doctrine states that "even if it (IVF) is considered in the context of 'de facto' existing sexual relations, the generation of the human person is deprived of its proper perfection; namely, that of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act." Dignitas Personae echoes this position by stating "human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution."

I am personally opposed to the intentional destruction and discarding of unwanted embryos and understand why this is condemned by the church. But to state that a child born of IVF is less perfect than a child created through sexual intercourse is absurd. Is the church truly claiming that our beautiful and innocent daughter, conceived through an IVF procedure, is somehow "less" because of how her physical life began? In her, Carolyn and I see God's precious creation.

Of course, the creation of a child through a conjugal act is the preferred method because it is the most natural, least expensive and least stressful. But that shouldn't mean it should be the only acceptable route to conception.

What about Catholic men and women who have legitimate medical conditions, like endometriosis, which Carolyn has and which caused infertility despite efforts at surgical intervention?

Carolyn and I would have been happy to save thousands of dollars and a decade of emotional ups and downs by conceiving the "old-fashioned way," but that wasn't possible. We turn to medicine for a litany of medical maladies and impairments, but infertile Catholics are supposed to avoid treating a medical condition which prevents them from building or expanding their family?

Yes, adoption is a wonderful option for the couples who decide it's right for them, but adoption should never be forced on anyone.

The Donum Vitae doctrine also states that "in vitro fertilization is in itself illicit and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union even when everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo."

The term "illicit" has such a grave connotation and to use it in this context seems quite out of place. Should a couple that seeks a child through IVF, and that does so with a commitment to allow every embryo a chance at life, be considered to be participating in an illicit activity?

The most perplexing and pejorative language from Donum Vitae is that "marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child... the child has the right, as already mentioned to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents and has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of conception."

Babies born of IVF are here because their parents loved, respected and longed for these children well before conception. These children could not get here through the conjugal love of their parents and it took a very deep love, respect, and commitment to pursue the medical treatment needed to conceive through IVF. There is no doubt in my mind that God is working through loving parents and ethical doctors to allow these children to come into this world.

Now for the ironic in Donum Vitae: "Scientists are to be encouraged to continue their research with the aim of preventing causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that sterile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born."

So although there are solutions for sterile couples today, those should not be sought because they are outside of the conjugal act? If Carolyn and I were to wait until the scientific advances described in this statement before pursuing additional children, we would not have our daughter - or the opportunity to welcome two more children into this world this August.

If science can advance to the point that all procreation can happen within the confines of the conjugal act, that would be incredible. But what do couples do while waiting the years and probable decades before these advances come to fruition?

The challenge for the church is to see the beauty in the science and that there is a path within IVF that is worthy of God's grace and approval.

The church's presence in this field could help limit abuses and disregard for human life through advocacy, education, and support. Perhaps it could provide counselors as couples pursue IVF and face many technical and nuanced decisions. And maybe the church could help couples navigate even more complex situations, like embryo adoption.

Carolyn and I were victims of the worst IVF mistake on record. But we remain proponents of the science and understand the good that is done by God through ethical physicians in this industry. We value and support the sanctity of life, even if it's created with the help of IVF.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sean Savage.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Opinion • Pope Benedict XVI • Sexuality • Technology

soundoff (1,281 Responses)
  1. Luthien

    IVF should NOT exist. If they want a child, adopt. Period. There are countless homeless children around the world. Give one of them a home. They are selfish in wanting to have a "genetic" children ONLY.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Joe Schmoe

      your a f@#ingg idiot. Its not like adopting a Dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Michael

      Adoption is not an easy process; it's more akin to having a root canal while cutting the grass.

      Did you know that if you want to adopt from overseas, a lot of agencies have income restrictions? I have friends and family who tried to adopt and discovered that the numbers of parents who want to adopt enable the agencies to be very picky about who they'll let through. There are family members who thought that they had a done deal, only to have a foreign government or an agency pull the rug out from under them at the last second.

      So spare me the adoption argument; if you don't know, don't comment.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  2. SheRa

    What would Jesus do?

    a.) spend thousands of dollars on IVF treatments to get the perfect, photogenic, cute white baby

    b.) adopt a needy child who would benefit tremendously from a loving home

    I think we all know what the answer is. IVF is costly, selfish, and almost laughably vain - as if the world won't go on w/out YOU getting a mini-me. If you're so vain that you "need" a child that looks like you, you shouldn't be having ANY children at all!

    In addition, there's this little issue called "overpopulation" that's currently destroying our environment and our economy. There are more than enough people in the world...for God's sake, adopt!

    May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Joe Schmoe

      Your a F@#KING idiot as well!!!!!

      May 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Joe Schmoe

      So I guess someone who lost a leg through Gods will and gets a prothesis is laughably vain ! What an idiot

      May 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Don

      Your comment reflects the lack of understanding you have about the article. You lost ALL credibility when you brought race into the argument. The argument for adoption does not make sense either. More importantly, why do people say, "if God wanted you to have a baby, you would have had one naturally, now adopt!!?" If God didn't want them to have a baby, why would adopting one be any better? Adoption is bending the rules and getting a baby that God did not intend for you to have. Furthermore, why is it up to infertile couples to do all the adopting?

      May 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • SheRa

      Still waiting for one (non-selfish) reason why these people can't exercise their Christian charity and adopt....


      May 11, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  3. Islay

    "Carolyn and I were victims of the worst IVF mistake on record." Not true. Not even close. All the hundreds of thousands of abandoned or culled embryos the 'worst IVF' mistakes. I'm surprised a Catholic would miss that one...

    May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  4. ForLife

    He opposes the destruction of embryos through the IVF process, but fails to mention if his process resulted in the destruction of any.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mike

      I would not suspect that someone who fails to research the Church's understanding before rejecting it would apply different scrutiny to another process.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Mj

    While I am not a Catholic, I have to say that I think you are trying to justify your "sin" simply because it is your desire to have children.

    I struggled when I found that I couldn't naturally have children without intervention. I don't see how a person can morally say it is wrong to prevent pregnancy by using birth control, but ok to take medication, or have a surgical intervention, or create a life simply because you can. Basically the issue with both preventing pregnancy and creating pregnancy outside of normal procreation is that you are attempting to override God's plan.

    You want a child who is from you and your spouse. You had two, but that wasn't enough, you wanted more. If you have that much love to give, why not take a child without a home. People who go to the extreme lengths of IVF are, quite simply, spoiled. They want, so they must be given what they want. Why should they wait on what God has in mind for them. Why should they adopt a child without parents, when they can create one of their own using the miracle of science.

    God gives us the opportunities to do what is right, but he also gives us the free will to choose between right and wrong. If you want to believe that it is ok to do IVF, then do so, but don't blame your own church for not making that choice simply because you have.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mike

      Precisely! The real question is: "do WE control human life?" If we can control when human life begins, why can't we control when it ends or anywhere in between? It's a slippery slope.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Don

      "Basically the issue with both preventing pregnancy and creating pregnancy outside of normal procreation is that you are attempting to override God's plan."

      This argument is weak, try again. If you apply this argument to something else in life, say cancer, it sounds a bit silly. "Basically the issue with both preventing cancer and trying to cure cancer outside of normal procedures is that you are attempting to override God's plan." Is it God's plan for everyone who has any illness easily cured by modern medicine to not accept that medicine? Should nature just take its course? Should a Catholic who needs a stint in his/her artery to prevent another heart attack refuse the treatment because it is God's will that that person die that way? Just as we shouldn't pick and choose which sins we want allowable in the Catholic Church, we should not pick and choose which scientiffic treatments are allowable or not.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  6. Joe Schmoe

    I grew up Catholic and currently go to a Methodist Church. I still occasionally go Catholic services and I intend to have my children ( once I have them ) to receive the sacraments in the Catholic Church. My wife and I are currently going through fertility struggles. If we are forced to go through IVF it is not something that anyone will know other than very very very few friends and family. It is certainly not something I would ever allow my Church to find out about. No religion has the right to tell you what to do. You certainly cannot go out and steal and murder and adulter but on an issue like fertility no church has the knowledge or moral authorithy to comment. No church has the knowledge to comment on any scientific, moral or social issue for that matter. If the Church didn't deem it necessarry to tell us about the thousands of children it was molesting then I deem it unnessecarry to tell them about anything I do not want them to know. If a church is anything less than excepting of your lifestyle then you should find a different church. A church by definition is a place where people go to find acceptance and peace. Let us allow God to do the judging.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • gerald

      And so men, left to their own moral authority with their corrupt natures call good evil and evil good. If you receive the Eucharist in the CC you are committing a sacralidge against the Lord. What we are left with with people who want their own right and wrong is relativism.

      [22] What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

      For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

      [24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
      [25] In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
      [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

      Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Amy

      " If we are forced to go through IVF "

      You won't be. It will be your personal will to do so.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  7. frank

    IIVF, as currently practiced, often involves the abortion of multiple children conceived by the process so that the mother may choose one to live. And we all know how the Catholic Church feels about abortion

    May 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • gerald

      Great point. These people care nothing about the little souls who are trapped as byproducts of IVF, frozen and locked away. Eventually to probably be destroyed.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Ray

    The Roman Catholic church's absurd position on IVF is one reason why my wife and I are now members of the Episcopal church. They actually believe in inclusion, not exclusion.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • gerald

      Ya, the Church that allows gays in their clergy, despite the condemnation of scripture in Romans 1 on gay activities.

      women exchanging natural relations with men, with other women and men as well doing the same. The Episcopal Church stands for nothing.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • gerald

      Ray, apparently you care little about the little souls who are byproducts of the IVF process.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Dan

      The Episcopal Church is one of the fastest dying Churches in North America.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Stevie7

      And people are leaving the Catholic church is record numbers. A majority of those that say disagree with several church teachings. So if the Episcopal church's views aren't valid because its membership is dwindling, what does that say about the Catholic church?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Artist

      Is that your assumption or do they have machines now that can detect little souls entering? Amazing is how we let people's assumptions rule our lives and impose upon others.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Lisa

      @ Ray.......yah, let's just include everything........gay marriages? So you went from a child molester church to a gay marrying church. Way to stand by the word!! Found this in an article, just sick.....................Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington made the announcement Thursday, a day after gay and lesbian couples began applying for marriage licenses.

      "Through the grace of Holy Baptism, there are no second class members of the Body of Christ, " Chane said in a statement. "We are of equal value in the eyes of God, and any one of us may be called by the Holy Spirit into holy relationships as well as Holy Orders." WOW........everyone is caving. It's no different than parents being afraid to parent. There are friends instead and the this religion is folding to make everyone happy.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Lourdes

    In response to Mei: say the prayer that Jesus said, "Gods will be done..." not "my will be done."

    After many surgeries and IVF treatments, I – as a Catholic, can clearly testify that it is God's will that is being done. Only those that have no true knowledge of the biology of conception can be so arrogant to think that the patients will is being done.

    As to Morally objecting – I am of the school of thought that the church should then also object diabetic medication, heart diseases, neuro-surgery, cancer treatments on the same grounds. Isn't all those procedures and treatment "my will being done" too? Ridiculous.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • gerald

      You need to read John Paul II's theology of the body. Everyone wants the Church to changes its theology on their own particular sin. Gays, abortoinists, contraceptors, etc. etc.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • DC

      No, it's not the same thing. Conception of a child is not the same as life-saving medical treatments.

      You have reduced the creation of new life to nothing more than a medical procedure, and that is exactly why the church opposes such things. As for the child born from IVF, they are perfect and human...the church will view them no differently. Condemn the sin, not the sinner (or in this case the result).

      May 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Amy

      Pregnancy and infertility are not life-threatening diseases. It is this misunderstanding that has led to the culture of death we live in today.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  10. Michael

    I've read in several places i the Bible that God says to be fruitful and multiply, but I am not familiar with the passage that says which methods of conception are acceptable.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • gerald

      The bible is a book of principles. Not a book of dictates. Individuals have corrupt consciences. Christ left a Church to protect us from our corrupt natures. "upon this rock i will build my church". If we have individuals making up their own story of what is right and wrong we are left with relativism.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Actually, there are a ton of dictates in the bible, much of which is largely ignored. cafeteria Christianity is not just limited to American catholics.

      And one can easily be moral without the bible. And plenty have used the bible to defend highly immoral acts. The bible is just a book, some of it's good, some of it's bad and since it largely relies upon interpretation it's quite ... relative!

      May 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  11. gerald

    Yes, everyone wants the CC to change it's position on their particular sin.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Dan

      Very true.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Stevie7

      It has in the past, so why not now?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  12. montana supporter

    I am not Catholic, but my husband and I are looking into various ways we may be able to have children following a diagnosis of infertility. I heard your story on NPR and the amount of love that it took for you and your wife to carry another family's baby with the intention of giving it back to them, is simply amazing. Sending congratulations and prayers to your family (and your upcoming arrivals). Thank you for your amazing gift to an infertile couple.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • gerald

      My take, the Church in fact is putting candidates for the priesthood through much greater scrutiny, including screening out those with disorders toward hmsxl behavior.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  13. MisterPL

    IVF isn't just a crime against God, it's a crime against nature. We already have too many people on the planet and we want to allow more for the sake of vanity? We should take care of the kids already born before abusing Science this way.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  14. PEGGY

    Well educated couple, well researched, and well written. I agree with the writer.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  15. Tim

    My Take: Catholic Church should reverse its position to letting child molesters in their ranks.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • grnmstg

      awesome, way to contribute to the discussion . . .

      May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Tim

      Your welcome.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  16. KM

    I am a moderately practicing Catholic, and I firmly believe that Man has no place judging whether a life is created or a life is taken away. As a result, I do not believe in IVFs (or other unnatural ways of conceiving), abortion, war or the death penalty.

    Only God should be the giver and taker of life. If you want to be a Catholic – you should not be trying to change their system of beliefs, but your own. Catholicism is not a government where you can try to elect politicians who feel the same way you do. It's the opposite – you stay or become Catholic as long as you can agree with their beliefs.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Jason B.

      Hence the problem with Catholicism: Believe like we do or you're wrong.

      Besides, didn't God give us the ability to learn and create the IVF treatment? What if it's all part of "His plan" for couples to have children this way? Would you not be denying His word for your own selfish reasons?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • LDP

      I'm curious what your stance is on medical care. Since you feel that only God should give or take life, how do you feel about medical treatment for cancer & other diseases? Should a cancer diagnosis not be treated because God is indicating that he is going to take that person's life? God created us with full knowledge of the potential of the brains he gave us. Do you think that he didn't realize where our brains would take us in terms of medicine? While the Catholic Church is against IVF, there is NO proof that God is against it. Obviously the creation of life must be treated with respect and every embryo should be given a chance at life. Some people choose not to do that, just as some people choose to murder the babies that were conceived through traditional means. God will judge us for those choices.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Amy

      Right on. I understand this family must have gone through terrible pain in their inability to conceive, but that is a cross they were meant to carry. Only God should decide whether a life begins or ends. IVF is man's attempt to cheat God.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Amy

      LDP: "Since you feel that only God should give or take life, how do you feel about medical treatment for cancer & other diseases?"

      Pregnancy or lack thereof is not a life-threatening disease, therefore there is nothing to "cure." When one is afflicted with true disease, the treatment of it is a way of cherishing our own lives.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Lani

      If only G-d decides about giving and taking of life, then howdy you explain the doctors and treatments being provided for all sorts of medical ailments. Is it your stance that if someone has cancer then it is G-d's will and they should not bother to see an oncologist? Look at it this way, G-d helps those who help themselves. A person must look for what they need. Legal matters, a lawyer, medical issues, a doctor, taxes, an accountant etc.... Technologies were made available because G-d allowed it, doctors learned the techniques because G-d made the school, teachers, and brains. Therefore IVF would not be around if G-d did not want it. Children created through IVF are incredibly wanted and cherished by their parents and families.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • KM

      Yeah, it's hard to figure out where to draw the line with sickness and illness. It's one of the areas I find most difficult and thought provoking. I don't agree with euthanasia, partly because dying naturally is, in my opinion, God's plan. Illness and inevitable death should be made as pain free as possible – I don't want people to suffer. But when is it right to outright stop treatment, in the case of something like Cancer? I can't answer that question. What I can tell you is – it's something I've thought about a lot.

      May 11, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  17. Bernadette

    If you would only read the Bible and see the problems that arose out of Abraham and Sarah's disobedience to God by involving Hagar to create a son, your eyes might be opened a little wider. God knows what He is doing. If you trust in Him, then trust completely that He gave you what He wanted for you. But no, you wanted immediate gratification and took matters into your own hands. In addition, just because you volunteered thousands of hours and are employed at the Church, that does not give you any special favors to get what you want. You are being selfish and disobedient to the Lord Yahweh. In addition, perhaps He wanted you to spend more time on your knees before Him that you wouldn't have with a huge family. God made things so simple. Why do people like you have to make them more complicated to satisfy their own desires?!

    May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Artist

      And you should read Harry Potter *rolling eyes*. You speak as if the bible is relevent, which was written by man. lol

      May 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Artist


      Patrick, did you know that some mailmen are child molesters? Do you refuse to have your mail delivered than to prove your moral high ground? Molesters are everywhere, not just in churches. And they are not true Catholics.
      Does the Post Office protect them and move them around to another post? Your dead pope supported, condoned and contributed to the raping of little children. He was no more a man of god than a turd on the ground.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  18. OpenlyAgnostic

    So what will the Catholic Church do if they find out a child of one of their parish members was conceived via IVF, refuse to baptize them because they're "imperfect?" Is a "test-tube" baby unfit to go through the Seven Sacraments?

    May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The real question is, do test-tube babies have bellybottons?!

      May 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tova

      As a 'test-tube' baby who grew up in a Catholic household before leaving the Church, they allowed me to. Though my priest cousin told my parents my soul was damaged.

      Also, we do have belly buttons. Thanks.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Heather

      The Jackdaw – test tube babies are conceived in a test tube, not grown in them! I truly hope you're not serious.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Not the first time for these types of questions. How about illegitimate children?

      Of course they have belly buttons... they're just made out of Pyrex.

      (Honestly, no offense intended to anyone conceived by IVF.)

      May 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • A Religion Teacher

      Actually, the Church would still baptize the child, and that person (for he or she is entirely a person) would be eligible for any other subsequent sacraments. THE LIFE IS ALWAYS GOOD, regardless of how that life is made. To Tova, I am sorry to hear that your cousin who was a priest seriously misrepresented the Church's teaching on IVF and test-tube babies. Your soul is fine, and the only thing that can mar any soul (yours or mine) is sin.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  19. Mei

    There are very good MORAL reasons why the Church opposes IVF. I invite others to read HUMANAE VITAE on the Vatican website, as well as the writings of Christopher West who talks about the "marital embrace" and what it all means. It will make more sense if you get BOTH SIDES to the subject. If someone is truly religious, they say the prayer that Jesus said, "Gods will be done..." not "my will be done."

    May 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • habberdash

      I thought God was omnipotent. Could he not stop IVF from being successful? It's only a fool who thinks he understands God's will.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Kris

      God's will will be done after I've had my IVFs and pursued adoption and they have both have failed. Then I will know I was meant not to have children. I have a right to pursue all means available to me. No one has the right to force there opinions on me.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • buzzwindrip

      Mei and KM, you said it for me– thanks. As a returned Catholic I know it's easy for people to find excuses to leave. For most of my life I thought the Church should change. Then my heart changed, and I am grateful for that.

      Practiced unconditionally, it is an amazing faith but that "seamless garment" of life, dignity, and service is not for those who want a "cafeteria" approach to living their religion. Sean's "victim" status (he calls himself one in his last paragraph) is self-inflicted. No one is forcing anything on him. I wish him and his family the best, regardless.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  20. Tony

    This guy is selfish. "I wanted ... we wanted"...etc. If he really believed in God, he would believe that God has a plan for him. That may be having "only" 2 of your own children. Infertile couples would be right to be angry at him for not being content with "only" 2 children.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Kris

      Perhaps, God's plan for this family is what actually happened.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • mstelzman

      If God didn't plan for them to have the third baby via IVF then it wouldn't have happened. Don't speculate to know how God works or for what reasons.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Ray

      I agree...and I'm an atheist! For these religious couples who turn to IVF and then "thank god" for their "blessing" is such a joke. Hello???? You have science to thank and only science.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • PRat

      Wow Tony, you are walking around with blinders on. How can anybody that wants a baby, much less "a large family" be called selfish. This couple clearly has love to share and to call them selfish is ignorant.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.