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. Just me

    The hypocrisy of Catholics never cease to amaze me.

    You condemn every woman that considers abortion. You want to force her to give birth and put the baby for adoption instead. Yet, here you are, God has given you infertility and the desire to have another child, but you choose IVF instead of adoption. Trust me, there are enough people, you not reproducing will not endanger our species. Kids grow up unloved in foster care, but you don't do anything to change that. All you can think of is conceiving another child. Is not like you didn't enjoy the joys of parenthood already, you have kids.

    You want the church to accept IVF because you want a big family and this affects YOU. Yet you push for the elimination of birth control and take away the rights of those women that do not want big families or babies at all.

    Excuse me while I throw up. Your hypocrisy is disgusting. I hope you raise your children to have free will and have an open mind, not brainwashed zombies.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  2. Artist

    A Catholic

    Thank you, I will consider another religion. Would you like to suggest one please? Maybe one that is more in line with your sense of reality perhaps? Or maybe one that bends to the whims of culture? Maybe no religion at all? Whatever YOU prefer.
    While I prefer religion to be vanquished, we are not ready to take that step. I would say stick with yur dark ages if it is working for you. In the end it really doesn't matter if mankind as a whole cannot move forward. Enjoy your life, poke fun at people and be merry.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • A Catholic

      @ Artist: Let's see...I live in the Dark ages, yet, I'm poking fun...that's not hypocrisy though because you're not a Christian right? There are no standards that you live by, so you can't possibly be a hypocrite, right?

      May 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Katie

    What concerns me most about this article is that CNN would publish an article with such poor characterization of the churches position. I find that there's cloudy representation of both the author's opinion of ethical IVF procedure as well as why the church will always oppose IVF. I think the fact that the author continually states how he and his wife wanted more children, they decided it was best for them, they decided what they thought was a moral route regardless of what the church teaches shows where there priorities lie.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  4. John

    You've got to love the reasoning in this article: "My wife and I brought all our IVF embryos to full term. Therefore it is right." What he's not talking about here are the thousands of soul that are created and then destroyed when a couple freezes and thaws these embryos, or injects several at a time into the woman knowing that most will not survive.

    In short, he's saying, "I played Russian roulette with a bunch of embryos and they all survived! So you should do it too!"

    Ridiculous. This isn't respect for life; it's selfish evil.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  5. Alicia

    As a practicing ob/gyn and a Catholic, I feel it is paramount to explain the process of creating and implanting embryos, which is fraught with practices that undermine the value of life from the time of conception.

    1. Fertilization may be through mixing sperm and egg or via ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI, by nature of the injection, damages the egg and increases likelihood of embryo loss. This is unacceptable.
    2. Determinations of sperm quality for ICSI, egg quality for fertilization, and embryo quality for implantation are performed by lab PhD's. The worthiness of a life to be implanted is made by a lab scientist. This is unacceptable.
    3. The decision of "which blastocyst looks the best" dictates which lucky one or two or three will be put back. The others are expected to grow out and see who looks good enough to be frozen. Those that don't make it grow until they can't anymore, their potential is spent of a counter top in a lab.
    4. Whether implantation is done on day3 or day5 is controversial – they do better in the womb, so we want them back in ASAP, but the selection at day5 usually means those are better qualtiy. So frequently they are left ex-utero until day5. If they make, they get implanted. It's survival of the fittest. This is unconscionable practice to judge life potential in this way.
    5. Freezing embryos can destroy them. The likelihood of surviving the thaw is about 30-40%, so 7 of 10 may die. It is morally reprehensible to subject the embryos to a process that will likely destroy them.

    The Church has never wavered on its stance – life begins at the moment the sperm and egg meet, to believe otherwise is an affront to the dignity of the human person. To say that because a family wants to have a baby justifies the above risks to the lives being created is wrong. There should be no discussion about this. Destroying countless lives in hope of achieving pregnancy is inexcusable and morally corrupt.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I hope you refer your infertile patients to someone else.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Alicia

      @nominus – of course I do. As a physician, I provide education and care to people from every belief system imaginable. I can honestly say that I withhold judgment and counsel on ALL available options – up to and including abortion, IVF and procurement of these services in secret from spouses and significant others. It's the most difficult thing I participate in on a daily basis.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      Alicia, "Destroying countless lives in hope of achieving pregnancy is inexcusable and morally corrupt."

      I had a neighbor who had 7 or 8 miscarriages -that she *knew* about – and who knows how many others that were too immature to identify. She never did successfully carry a child. Was she morally corrupt to continue conceiving these 'souls'?

      Would a "God" really create these 'souls' in tissue, only to destroy the tissue a few days or weeks later? Would an omnipotent "God" even need bodies to host these 'souls'?

      May 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Alicia

      Just because a positive pregnancy test occurs does not mean that a life has been created, look up anembryonic gestation. But, to answer your question, no I don't think she was morally corrupt because I assume her intent was founded in hope of receiving the gift of life and by no fault of her own, through process or DNA, she was unable to do so. It's when a process which knowingly, through process implementation, wastes life is employed to create life that I find the tragic coincidence.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Your biggest fan

      Alicia YOU ARE MY HERO!! My wife and I have been looking for a Catholic OB/GYN for a while who has the same convictions as we do. Please tell me there's a way to find someone like this in our own city. A website, something?

      May 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Kate

      And as I'm sure you are aware, that process you described is what happens in the human body when conception occurs naturally as well.

      Sperm and eggs that are unfit don't become embryos.

      Embryos that are unfit don't become fetuses.

      Fetuses that are unfit don't become live births.

      Nature is tough like that. Nature wastes a LOT of life, all the time. In fact, nature itself destroys countless lives in the process of natural conception. (Or should we call it God rather than nature? If so, we have to attribute a whole lot of homicides to the guy, leaving us with a difficult logic puzzle. If God thinks it's so wrong, how come he does it himself? Hmmmm.....)

      Allowing the process to happen outside the body is simply that. I have no idea how that gets twisted into some kind of moral issue.

      I find it quite morally acceptable that beautiful, dearly desired, much loved children can be born that otherwise could not.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Alicia

      Kate – It's true that reproduction in humans is extraordinarily inefficient, though I wouldn't say wasteful in regard to life. Afterall, women are born with about 500K eggs and ovulates about 400 in her reproductive life, assuming a natural ovulatory cycle. Men typically have 20 million sperm per ejaculate. But to compare the process of IVF to a natural cycle, in numbers and amounts of embryos lost grossly in error. A woman will naturally ovulate 1 egg per month 99% of the time. A good yield at an egg retrieval for IVF is 15, egg donors can have upwards of 30. Almost all are fertilized, but the amount that "grow out" is extremely variable. Your suggestion that natural conception is just as wasteful is simply incorrect. The likelihood of a perfectly fertile couple conceiving is about 25% per cycle. They are not having 15 eggs fertilized and then 14 sequentially die out. To imply that natural reproduction and IVF are on par with embryo loss is fallacy. All you have to do is read the paper to see how many "extra" are made through IVF. Furthermore, IVF has higher rates of zygote splitting, which leads to identical twins, which is another increased health risk to mother and babies all in itself.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Alicia

      Your Biggest Fan – Thanks for the support. There is an overwhelming positive response when people find a Catholic ob/gyn in the neighborhood it seems. To find one in your area, I'd first try your parish, they seem to know which active parish physicians are in line with church teaching. You can also try your local guild of the Catholic Medical Association. Here's hoping for a trip to the ob/gyn that isn't fraught with eye rolling and cynicism when you decline contraception because you're a Catholic living out your faith. Best of luck!

      May 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Nick

      Alecia, you may want to do some reading on the subject, because embryo thaw survival rates are on the order of 90%+, especially when using vitrification techniques. This makes me question all of your claims. The clinic where we received our donated embryo has a 50%-60% take home baby rate (for a single embryo transfer). The truth is that all of these embryos can have a chance at being born.

      May 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  6. gerald

    Everybody on here who is Catholic but denies IVF is immoral, why do you care if the Church reverses it's position or not. You evidently don't accept its authority anyway so you should just leave. Then like the army of guideon, which started with 10,000 and was whittled down to 300 by the Lord will be strong and will rely on the Lord rather than their own corrupt natures and lack of understanding.

    Obey and submit to your leaders who have concern for your souls...Heb 13:17

    Obey and submit to your leaders who have concern for your souls...Heb 13:17

    May 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Hitch


      The days of asserting X as wrong or immoral by fiat are long gone. Only by evidence, logic, & reasoning can a conclusion be made if such an action is ethical, moral, or not.

      By what evidence, logic, or reasoning is parents who are not able to conceive & opt for the act of IVF immoral?

      May 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  7. Mike

    Instead of putting the Church on the defensive, how about dissenting Catholics defend their position? Since they obviously have a better grasp of theology, please explain how the process of IVF – including the destruction of embryos – is consistent with God's love for mankind? How does it reflect God's relationship with the Church, his bride?

    Children conceived through a natural union communicates Truth and offers an analogy for God's love for the world. How does IVF do this?

    May 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Two loving, committed people attempting to bring a child into the world raise it with love and teach it to be a responsible productive member of society.
      How could that possibly be against a loving God's wishes?

      May 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Mike

      You omitted a ton of information from your description. Again, I'm not talking about "intent" I'm talking about a process. How is IVF, as a specific process, analogous in any way to God's love for mankind? Volumes of books have been written, including Scripture itself, detailing how married love and children conceived, naturally, reveal God's love for us.

      Please be specific.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I guess I misunderstood the question, how does procreation reveal God's love for us?

      May 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Mike

      Theology of the Body – Pope John Paul II

      May 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  8. Bruce

    Some day the Catholicchurch will joing the 21st century. It may take 100 or 200 years...but someday they will wake up. They should spend more time weeding out peophile clergy.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  9. tim taylor

    maybe you should adopt

    May 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • CJ

      Adoption is not that easy. We are friends with several couples who have adopted. They all went through years of waiting lists, rollercoasters, bureaucracy and tens of thousands of dollars per child. One couple had to wait almost four years to adopt their first child and over SEVEN years of waiting to get their second. Another couple tried to adopt domestically and after almost $40K and five years was no closer to having a child than when they started, though they did have their hearts broken a few times at the last minute.
      Put yourself in the shoes of a couple who wants children but can't conceive. Keep in mind that when a woman is over 35, her chances of successful IVF start to decline and by 40 are much lower. If you really wanted a child and were a good candidate for IVF, what would you try FIRST?

      May 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  10. rak

    I am a Catholic and what surprises me most and what makes the least sense to me about the Church doctrine on this issue is that, as Catholics, we are taught to believe that God is all-powerful and life-creating. And therefore, why does the Catholic Church reason that humans have some how been able to trump the will of God? Wouldn't it stand to reason that if God did not want life to be created through science, He would not allow it to be so? To say that humans can create a life that so defies the will of God, to make something happen that clearly is taught to be an act that only God can do – to create life, to give a soul – is really to say that humans overrule the will of God with the regard to this most basic gift that we're otherwise taught that only God can give. Because of that, as a Catholic, I have to believe that God works through the hands and minds of modern medicine to give humans the ability to heal and allow us to bring all of His children into this world.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Alicia

      This is flawed logic. It's like saying, "if God didn't want Hitler to murder those millions of people he wouldn't have let it happen." The most wonderful and terrible gift He ever gave is free will. The full course of actions, with ALL repercussions, must be allowed to play out, otherwise we will never learn the fullness of our actions. We are victims of one another, aborted babies and embryos are no exception.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • James

      There's something delightfully funny and frightfully terrifying that you can defend for religion by using, of all words, "flawed" and "logic."

      May 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Alicia

      @James – there are three traditional ways to appeal to a person – ethos, pathos, and logos. I am only commenting on her deficiency in logos. But I appreciate your attempt to be witty.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • bp

      @ Alicia
      Your assuming that such a thing as free will would even exist given a higher creator who posses omniscience. Free will is a oxymoron when trying to make it compatible with an all knowing deity. And you've yet to prove the deity even exists.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  11. dinean

    I am a Catholic and although I love my church, the church does not have the right to judge. If you feel that you are doing what's best for you and your family than I think you should do it. There is only one who can judge and we know who that is. This family should be supported not humilated. Carolyn I support you and your loving family, from a Catholic family in Houston.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  12. John

    Surely the author realizes that the Catholic church discriminates against the vast majority of the human populaiton, not just people with medical problems.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • batteryinme

      All religions discriminate.....its their nature....its how they set themselves apart. That they are all constructs of ancient peoples (save the new religions we have made up) requires them to not understand the human condition in the light of the progress of time and science.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  13. Patricius

    My wife and I went through infertility for several years. We saw a "world renowned" fertility specialist who in the end basically told us that our only option was IVF. Being Catholics we knew that this was not a moral option and sought out the Church for some hard answers. The Church was very sympathetic to our situation and very charitably explained to us the position on IVF. We basically already knew the answer, but we just wanted to be sure so we weren't missing out on some opportunity. Next came the adoption process. I went in support of my wife to Catholic Charities to talk about adoption. I have no doubt that adoption is very pleasing to God, but my wife and I just didn't feel like we were ready for it. Then came the part were we had to accept our fate of a life without our own children. Depression set in for while and we turned even more toward the Church for meaning in life. We finally came out of depression and were learning to be happy and it really wasn't that hard because we were in love and we had each other. A few years went by and as we continue to grow in our faith we started praying for children rekindling a ray of hope. I won't go into great detail, but we prayed a novena for God to bless us with a child. A novena usually last 9 days and if it is God's will you will get what you asked for, but either way you will get what you need.

    On the ninth day of the first novena we received a call from one of my sister-in-laws asking us to be godparents. It was a blessing.

    Then we decided to pray another novena asking for a child. On the ninth day we received another call from a different sister-in-law asking us to be godparents. (We have a big family) Another blessing and slightly comical.

    So we decided to try once more. This time, there were no young babies that we need baptism so there was no chance of the same thing happening again. Ninth day of the third novena. A call from another sister-in-law saying that they had finally decided to get their children baptized into the Catholic faith at the ages of 11 and 13 and they wanted us to be godparents. I almost couldn't believe it. Another bittersweet blessing from God.

    We decided to lay off that novena for a little while since our spiritual family was getting very large. Shortly after we were talking to my uncle who recommended a Catholic fertility specialist. We were a little hesitant at first because we didn't want to go through the emotional process again, but we made an appointment.

    Before seeing the doctor we had to take classes on how to chart my wifes fertility. Our teacher was so optimistic but we were cautiously optimistic after all we had been through. We finished the course and started charting. We brought the chart to our new Catholic doctor and had a consultation. After a minor surgery to clean up some endometriosis and some blood work, the doctor identified a blood mutation. This blood mutation was the cause of us losing three children shortly after conception in past pregnancies. The prescription was over-the-counter vitamins to combat the blood mutation.

    Two months later we were pregnant. We now have two children and are stronger than ever in our faith in God and the Church.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Ak

      You mentioned a Catholic fertility specialist. How does that differe from a regular specialist. I am asking because I am Catholic and a Dr told me I may have difficulty becoming pregnant. I would like to now what my options are/

      May 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • stacey

      I am very pleased about hearing about your pregnancy. I am happy for you. I am a Catholic as well. If I would have continued with my Catholic Fertility Lady and Charting, I would not have become pregnant. I needed hard core fertility drugs to ripen an egg. That is just me and I followed my path and you followed yours. I commend you on your faithfullness. I would never reccommend the Catholic Method to anyone. I wish you all of the best in your pregnancy.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Kelly

      Thank you for sharing your story. You honor God and help strengthen the faith of others who suffer infertility.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Patricius

      @stacey: Thanks your for your comments. There is no "Catholic Method" as you said. The only Catholic method of infertility is don't do anything immoral. Charting did not get us pregnant. Charting helped the doctor get a picture of my wife fertility signs. Drugs and surgery were required in the end to get her pregnant. Sounds like you may have used the Catholic method too and not realized it.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    As someone who has recently been through a 2 year stuggle with infertility I must say that I am boh repulsed and angered by some of the comments I have been reading. Infertility is a challenging road filled with heartache, emotional turmoil and physical strain and I do not feel as though individuals who have never had this struggle can truly understand. The idea that IVF is a sin is absolutely absurd to me (and I was raised Catholic). Furthermore, to hear people say that having children naturally is the only correct way to proceed is maddening. What is so wrong with wanting to have a child, born of myself and my husband? What is so wrong with wanting to bring a child into this world as a result of the love we have for one another and the respect we have for our marriage? Adoption has always been an option for us and was definitely something that we would have considered further and may still consider in the future. But because it was not our first choice does not mean that we are selfish individuals. We were lucky in that we succeeded in getting pregnant after 2 years of trying both the "natrual" way and with medical assitance. I thank God every day for that miracle and truly believe that He had a hand in it.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  15. Ralph

    Every Tom Dick and Harry thinks they know better than the Church herself what the Church's positions should be. If the Church had jumped to every criticism thrown at her in the last 2,000 years she would not have lasted 200 years.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Paul Falduto

      And if the church doesn't wake up and realize this is no longer the 14th century, it won't survive another 200 years.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Matt

      Paul Falduto
      "And if the church doesn't wake up and realize this is no longer the 14th century, it won't survive another 200 years."

      That's what your anti-catholic ancestors said 200 years ago. They were wrong. You know what they say about apples and trees.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Paul Falduto

      My ancestors were practicing Catholics on both sides. I was an altar boy at 6 and went to Catholic grade school and college.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  16. Francisco

    While I do not agree with the Catholic Church's stance on either position, I do want to commend them for maintaining a consistent view on the issues and surprisingly, not becoming hypocritical here. In Vitro fertilization cannot be viewed as part of "God's plan". This same rule already applies to abortion. I don't think you have can be for one, and against the other. These two items really good hand in hand.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • ScottK

      "In Vitro fertilization cannot be viewed as part of "God's plan"." Ah, and miscarriages, unwanted pregnancies, birth defects, pregnancies that risk the mothers life and pregnancies from r a p e are all part of his plan then? He's up there doing the calculations like "Hmm, this homeless 16 year old had s e x so I'll make her pregnant even though the risks are much higher for both she & the baby, it will really build charachter, and this stable married couple who have been trying to concieve for a while, well, I just don't want them to procreate..." Makes perfect sense, if you worship a sadist.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  17. tom

    Duplicate Len - about 50% of blastocysts do not implant - this natural failure rate does not justify intentionally destroying fertilized eggs.

    100% of all people die - but it is still worng to kill one
    why is it OK to destroy a fertiled egg, just b/c most fertilized eggs do not make it

    some science from UC Davis
    By the time a fertilized egg reaches the uterus, usually a few days after conception, it has already divided many times and has become organized into a hollow sphere of cells technically called a blastocyst, but also known as an embryo. It is the blastocyst that implants into the inner surface of the uterus, the endometrium, and initiates the development of a placenta.

    During the period of embryonic development that begins with fertilization and ends with successful implantation of the blastocyst–known as "preimplantation development"–up to 50 percent of human conceptions fail to survive, says Lynn Wiley, professor of obstetrics and gynecology. One reason for this high failure rate is the inability of an embryo to implant. "Only certain cells within the embryo can implant and form a placenta. Without these cells, or if these cells are not healthy, implantation will fail," she says.

    Please try to respond without a wiseass comment if you can

    May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Jeepers

    Maybe the error is in following a religion that tries to tell you what you can and can't do down to the way you make babies.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Isabel

      the Catholic church does not tell you what you can or cannot do. one thing the Catholic church does is inform you of God's commandment's and plan for each one of us. you make the final decicion and choose God's will or your own will. Viva Cristo Rey y su iglesia Catolica!

      May 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  19. Diane

    I have a wonderful 9yr old daughter but was unable to conceive due to endometriosis after. My husband and I spent thousands of dollars and tears and dr apts trying to add to our family. After many yrs, surgery and lots of supports from friends and family we were successful. We have 2 beautiful twin boys age three via IVF. I have always felt that adoption and IVF are folowed through by couples that are seriously dedicated, loving and committed to eachother and the delevopement of a family. Congrats to all IVF parents and children!

    May 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  20. Rose

    It's still does not cease to amaze me that educated free people still don't acknowledge that religion is a product of human society to control crowds. This couple clearly proves that all they want is to be recognized by a crowd of others like them, they want belonging to something! And god? If they feel they are right in what they did that's fine. Just because a bunch of so called religion leaders says or don't say "Its ok" – it makes no change what so ever in the eyes of god. I assume they believe in god – not church 🙂 People, wake up and stop believing in fairy tales, live your life and stop wasting good energy of religious bs. You can still teach, volunteer and do a lot of good to the world, no need for branwashing, unless your motives for good work are base on selfish need of recognition by others.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • bob

      shut up. your opinion does not matter. the only opinion that matters on earth is GODS! God is the God of ABRAHAM. He speaks to the heart of all man kind so none are with excuse come judgement day. you really think you can just live your life for yourself and not have to account to anyone for what you have done? Faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that will save anyone from an eternal suffering in hell.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Gs018

      Hey Bob... tell that to all the muslims, buddists, and all OTHER religions in the world... see how far it gets you.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • ScottK

      @bob – "shut up. your opinion does not matter. the only opinion that matters on earth is GODS!" Hmmm, sounds more like your opinion to me. You have no proof of your God's existence, your religion is a hollow shell of lies and falsehoods. If God exists he certainly would not be using any of the flawed religions of today to reach people.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • COLady

      @bob, there is NO god.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • emily

      Bob you sound incredibly ignorant with your "shut up" bit. Wow...how old are you anyway? The fact of the matter is some people try too hard to have children. Maybe they should adopt..what is wrong with that? OH! They want the child to LOOK like them "because it IS about THEM after all and not about the CHILD or the population (and CLIMATE) problem we are having here. Furthermore the Catholic Church was, is, and will always be hypocritical and changes with the wind to suit it's needs...most of it's adherents are small minded too...pay no heed

      May 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ben

      Hey folks, doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that bob's post was a fake...get over it. Emily I was right there with you until the last sentance and a half. Hypocracy, well all people are guilty of that in one way or another. But it sounds like you're not fully in touch with what the Church teaches...and always has... I'm wondering how a person can single out an entire group as "small minded". Is that an open minded way to act emily? That used to be called prejudiced or biggotted. In fact I think it still is...unless you're bashing Christianity then it's obviously ok. Give me a break!

      May 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.