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. stevie68a

    The only "souls" people have are on the bottom of their feet, "soles". "Prophet" means "Profit". Just a word game to get people
    to BE LIEve in nonsense. You can be a good person without religion, and use ethics for morality. Don't buy bull.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Dan

      You are right, you "can" have ethics without religion, not many do, but you can. It's funny though, you have your own BE LIEf, in the belief in yourself and nothing else. Some of us believe in something more, something greater, which enables us to strive for something more and something beyond ourselves. Part of being Christian is a call to be of service to others. Through that call, people have established the largest private hospital system in the world, the largest emergency relief organization in the world among other things. Without that calling, the need for those things still would exist. They either wouldn't be taken care of, or, more likely...taxes would take care of them for us. Perhaps you should think of YOU more often when you belittle what others around you believe so strongly. Because if it went away... it would seriously cost YOU more in taxes.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  2. Unknown

    It's funny to read the comments where people are stating how "wrong" this is. Clearly you have NEVER been through it and will never know the pain of being told you can't have a baby naturally, if ever. I'm sure if you were in a situation where IVF was your only option to have a child, you would do it in a heartbeat. For those of you stating how "wrong" this is, look at your children (assuming you have them) and imagine being told you couldn't have him/her unless you did IVF. Would you really say "thanks, but no thanks?" Just be thankful you don't have to go through this emotional, exhausting journey and that you were able to have your children when you wanted them.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Dan

      I have been blessed with children. And should we have not been able to have any of them, we would have dealt with it. Perhaps, just perhaps, those with the love to give a child that could not have their own, may have been called to adopt, or some other way to sharee their love.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Krys

      No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't spend $10K for each procedure. I'd adopt instead. You seem to feel that having children is what defines you as a person.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  3. CheechWeech

    It seems to me that you and your wife have left the path in life that God has laid out for you. Perhaps instead of having so many children, you were supposed to focus your energies into something else, and now will miss out on your purpose because of this error.

    IVF is against the doctrine of your church. If it is taken as a given that Gob imbues the fetus with a soul at the point of conception, what is the case then if the fetus is not conceived, but is instead manufactured in a lab? I wouldn't expect that God would bless that process, and that seems like a huge risk to take.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • BRC

      Interesting point you make there. If you believe that God imparts the sole at time of conception, and only when the conception is performed naturally (which is founded on a poor premise as it only requires that a swimmer meets the egg, it doesn't matter how it got there); then any child born of IVF is without a soul. Since there are very clearly living, breathing, fully functional people who were born from IVF; it means that either you're wrong and God is just as invested in the children of IVF, or that lots of people people are wrong and souls are either unimportant or non-existent.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Jessie - NYC

    "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 The sad reality is that the church is NOT outdated we're just not evolving to what the world wants us to be. Accept God's will ALWAYS- and know that HE IS GOD- don't feed your selfish wants....

    May 10, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  5. Derp

    IVF – totally unnecessary when there are thousands of kids that would love to be a part of your family that just need to be adopted. Guess passing on your own defective genetics is more important than actually being a compassionate christian and doing the right thing.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • ClaytonR

      Love this!!!

      May 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • rhymeorreason

      Don't be so ignorant. Not everyone who is infertile has 'defective genes'. I had a silent infection after my first child that left me mechanically unable to conceive. Also, adoption is great but NOT easy and NOT for everyone.

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

      If all the infertile people are so "selfish" for wanting IVF instead of adopting a child, what does that make all of you with more than one biological child? You could have adopted a child after that first, but you didn't. You CHOSE to have more bio kids and didn't adopt . Because you didn't have a MEDICAL CONDITION that was possible for you. So really, I think you're WAY more SELFISH in the grand scheme of things.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • steve houston

      You mean your type of compassion where someone who has a different opinion than yours has "defective genes".

      May 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Educatedbutnotperfect

      You've got some nerve to say this. You are not perfect but don't think for a second someone who's unable to conceive naturally is somehow defective and shouldn't have what you're able to. You know nothing about the heartache to long for something you're unable to have on your own. If you had a lethal form of cancer would you stand by without help? NO! You would ask for help. There are people out there who are educated and want to help obtain the dream of becoming a parent. It's the idiots such as yourself who shouldn't reproduce! At least people trying IVF WANT to become parents. Naive SOB's like yourself don't have the slightest clue to what actually goes on or what's involved with such procedures like IVF. If you knew, you might sing a different song.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Krys

      Why do couples feel incomplete if they cannot procreate? There are no guarantees that you are going to have a perfect child that never gets into trouble, that doesn't become addicted to drugs, that does well in school and goes on to become a a loving, caring productive adult. Be careful what you wish for.

      I have two children and am happy that I do, but knowing now what I didn't know when I was younger, it's not always good times; a lot of heartache comes with raising children.

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

      Since when does having a specific disease suggest a greater social responsibility? Since when does having a disease imply that a couple should not have the same choices as any other in how they will create their family? How have you come to the conclusion that appropriate medical treatment is totally unnecessary for someone with a disease because their happens to also be children out there in need of adoptive homes? Infertility is a medical condition, and one that is often treatable, so yes, to treat their medical condition, for some people, IVF is “necessary”. Adoption is not a treatment for a medical condition-nor should any child ever be viewed as a ‘solution’ to a medical problem. Any family that feels that adoption is the right thing for them to do, can choose to adopt, there is no prerequisite of having a medical condition to do so. Congratulations on your adoption(s) since obviously, you would never dream of having biological children yourself as you believe that being a compassionate Christian and doing the right thing for everyone and every situation is to adopt children right?

      November 23, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  6. JG

    A very interesting and loving story.

    I am a devout Catholic who loves God. All children are presents from God.

    I am the fifth of 13 children from VA/NC/TX/LA. I have one very smart and wondeful daughter. I wish everyone could enjoy such love and happiness as I have as a result of being a father. Until you have been there, you will never know the full meaning of love.

    Best wishes to you and all of your family.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  7. Mike

    Well, there might be another way of looking at this. You speak warmly of what you and your wife desire; is one left with the understanding that your final discernment of what God want's for you is IVF?
    One matter that seems to be missing in this Great Season of Mystagogy is your experience of what God IS doing for you and your family NOW. Religion is often seen as restrictive and confining. What is often left unsaid is what LIFE is found in faith in God. What occurs to one who leans in the direction of Spirituality and finds something unparalleled in what the world has to offer?
    Don’t give up on your view of God’s church just yet. The world of IVF is troubled … one has to allow for the loss of precious life in order for some to have what they think they want.
    Your sons and daughter will always be precious in the sight of God and you!

    May 10, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  8. tom

    "the female body aborts most pregnancies" Are you saying most pregnant women have miscarriages?? I do not think you are right. Who thinks most pregnacies end on a miscarriage??

    I am pretty sure most people die - that is the way the world works -- However it is still wrong to kill

    The fact of miscarriages does not make abortion OK

    May 10, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • T3chsupport

      Most pregnancies really do result in miscarriage. Often before the mother even knows she was pregnant.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • dom625

      Of course most pregnancies end in miscarriage. Otherwise, any woman who has relations with a man would be knee-deep in kids. The conditions have to be perfect in order for a fertilized egg to implant into the uterine wall; this rarely occurs, so most fertilized eggs pass out of the female body during menstruation.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • tom

      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 2:30 pm |
  9. Tric

    I tried IVF with ICSI for 2 years, I discussed it with my priest in the Arlington, VA diocese of the Roman Catholic church and was told that as long as we used all embryos retrieved, did not selectively reduce, did not use any donated eggs or sperm, we were not committing any sins or crimes against the church. I was also told that if the clinic made a mistake, I was not committing a sin because to be your sin it has to be an intentional act on your part. After 2 years of unsuccessful attempts, we moved on to adoption through Catholic Charities.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • tom

      Thanks for your response. I think you might help some people. As you can see most responses are from people with an axe to grind

      May 10, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • UpursBibleBeaters

      The bottom line is that because of so many not today standard rules, as Catholics we have to be realists, and IVF is a great option. The cycle has given me my first child. Growing up in parochial education K-12, and knowing many of my friends going through the process, I do not know anyone that has put religion first, myself included. Why...because all religion is nothing more than a business, and I saw it all during my upbringing in Catholic school, all 13 years. In fact, some congregations around the US could make the fortune 500 list with the amount of $ the pull. My private schools tied directly to the Diocese which was a cash cow.

      When God starts paying my rent and bills, claims me as a dependent on his tax returns, then maybe I will consider bs church doctrine that is not in line with modern times.

      Oh yeah, I would've adopted or taken in a foster kid but no Catholic boys or girls were available. Catholics are so perfect that there is a lifetime waiting list to adopt one.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Dorothy

      I should mention that I'm happy that you moved on to adoption – my mother-in-law and several friends of mine were adopted, and there are so many children in the world that are already here that need homes. I should also mention that I know how hard it can be to deal with infertility. However, the Church's teachings are there to guide us and set us free, not bind us is chains and miles of red tape. Sometimes it's hard to look at religion as anything but a bunch of "nos" and "cannots." It's just easier to list what not to do.

      You cannot create life in a petri dish and implant it.
      You can foster or adopt a child, be a doting aunt, volunteer with underprivileged children, become a teacher, work in daycare, and do a lot of other things that still allow you to be around children while enjoying things that would be difficult or impossible while being a parent (take impromptu weekend or longer trips, shop for groceries without having to pack 2 outfits and a diaper bag, have delicate, breakable or sharp objects on a table less than 4 feet tall, etc).

      May 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Seenthelight

    Ms. W.....adoption is not easy an easy, nor inexpensive process. And, it's not for everyone. Are you supporting someone adopting a child that they may feel no connection to at all? There's a psychological side to this too. Has nothing to do with being selfish. I wouldn't want to grow up with parents that didn't love me as one of their own. If you've ever been through the process, you'd be wondering where all these children are, because it sure doesn't seem like there are 150,000 children waiting to be adopted when you're waiting for 2,3, or more years!

    May 10, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Ms.W

      1. SeenTheLight~
      I HAVE been through the process... I am 26 yrs old,have two adopted children through the foster care system (No fertillity issues). As a Christian, I believe that if you have a desire to become a parent, but could only love a child that has your DNA, then you might want to check your motives/desires/heart with what the bible teaches about love.
      I understand the adoption process is not easy , neither is the IVF procedure. (But to adopt from foster care is virtually FREE). If you have been waiting 3+ years to adopt, here is a place where you can find about 10,000 of these kids: http://adoptuskids.org/Child/ChildSearch.aspx
      Good luck in your search and I hope you find your child soon. He/she is waiting.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • dnfromge

      You are right, it isn't easy or inexpensive. It's also a drain emotionally. I have a co-worker who has been on two adoption agency's waiting list for four+ years now and haven't had any luck – and I believe they paid $10K per agency to be listed as potential adoptive parents. They do not want to adopt overseas and do not want to adopt an "older" child. They are waiting for a baby of their same race and religion – this is important to them. They may have a narrow search scope, but, that is what they want. Children in foster care are not an option for them – right or wrong. So, adoption is NOT always the answer.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • ClaytonR

      dnfromge – guess what? I have a friend who has been pursuing IVF and IUIs for 4 years as well. That has been emotionally draining too. Point is... Neither of them are easy. But adoption isn't always as difficult as people say it is when defenses are needed for why they didn't adopt instead of pursuing IVF. Fact of the matter is most people use that as an excuse instead of saying they didn't want a minority child or a child that is not their blood. It is vanity. And I have adopted only. Never had a biological child. Adoption was our first choice. And our child is a minority. Has it been easy? Nope. But was it worth every single ounce of pain? YES!

      Once again I feel the need to say there are tax credits out there for those who adopt!!! While it can be expensive through the private sector, there are virtually free ways to adopt. Even if you pursue private, by time the tax credits come back, it is absolutely no more expensive than IVF.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  11. richunix

    Religion has never been part of science, it is in a world all its own. Over the past 200o years of Christian belief, they added, changed the story line in order a to make it believable and somehow acceptable within the scientific community. It does not mean I hate religion, never had, as to some it is very important part of their lives and I’m happy for them. But organize religion is about “power” and maintaining that power. Pope Clement III declared himself the “Vicar of Christ upon earth” and his successor have used it to influence Europe and the Papacy. They have always used “Hell” (even though the original Jewish belief does not believe in heaven or hell. However the Greeks/Romans do), thus it was added in the New Testament and used by the clergy to scare it parishioners into obedience.

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    May 10, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  12. Terry

    The Catholic Church certainly does not condemn the children that are born out of IVF, but merely the IVF itself, the author should stop twisting the words of the Church so it suits his decisions in life. The Church as a valid reason for it – the soul begins at conception, and through IVF many "souls" are born and died or living frozen in a science freezer somehwere! Look, if you feel you are a good Catholic otherwise, but want to go through IVF, then go ahead and live by your own rules, but you can't expect the Catholic Church to condone IVF while at the same time condemning abortion. Also, remember that this was not a childless couple desperate for one baby – they already had 2 beautiful children. Regardless, they did what they did and that is fine for them, but don't expect the Catholic Church to change the rules for them.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Pam

      they did use all the embryos – none were killed.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Teresa

      I couldn't agree more. For a couple who were so involved in their church and church school, why did they not know about church teaching ahead of all this? A basic knowledge of your catholic faith (catholic school principal?) could have prevented all this. When you go public with your story, as catholics, and condone morally unacceptable things, it is the bishops responsibility to make sure catholic teaching is known and not just what some want it to be. You can volunteer at all the catholic activities you want, it does NOT make you knowledgeable about your faith, it just makes you a great volunteer. To even suggest that the church change it's "doctrine" on this issue shows once again, you know nothing about your faith. Perhaps the Catechism of the Catholic Church would help you understand better what you condemn in ignorance.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • gerald

      Pam, you are clueless about IVF.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  13. Amanda Love

    There is amazing working currently being done by Catholic doctors to identify and treat the underlying causes of infertility. Unfortunately, too often Reproductive Endocrinologists do not both to diagnose their patients and simply label them with unexplained infertility and proceed to fertility treatments such as IVF. What the church and these doctors are doing to peeling back the layers of the onion to properly diagnose and treat so procedures such as IVF will be unnecessary. Please visit http://www.naprotechnology.com/ and http://www.popepaulvi.com/ncfwh.htm to learn more about the innovative and amazing approaches Catholic doctors are making to help couple battle their infertility and yet still conceive in natural course. IVF is not the only course or option. Endometriosis is very treatable if you get to the underlying causes. BTW their daughter is beautiful and I know they are wonderful, amazing parents and do not deserve the criticism they are receiving.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • cp

      IVF is the only option for couples suffering with severe male factor or blocked tubes.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    Sean, You are brave to write about this issue so openly. The hate and ignorance I read in so many of these comments are why I never share that my children were born of IVF. I admire your thoughtfulness, and that you are trying to reconcile this difficult issue with your Church. Best wishes.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  15. Marie

    I am too a cradle Catholic. I have Endometriosis, and pursued IVF to have a biological child. I have no sense of guilt in pursuing IVF. I believe that Science is a gift from God to enhance our lives, with IVF being a pro-life application of science. Nothing inmoral about it.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • tom

      "Science is a gift from God" Ask Opennheimer or Mengele

      May 10, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Raul

      A large part of Catholic opposition to IVF is the destruction of unused embryos. Did you use them all, or do you not consider them "alive". Either way, I never understood people who want the rules changed to fit them and want them changed by complaining. As a Catholic you know its not a democracy, there are a lot of other religions out there that you can be a part of, no one is forcing you to stay with the church.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • John777

      It is up to people to use science correctly

      May 10, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  16. musings

    And of course, that leaves out the whole question of how to talk the young woman into parting with her own child, whom she might actually love.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • musings

      This was a response to a remark about "just adopt".

      May 10, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • tom

      No one has to talk anyone into giving up babies for adoption - there are plenty

      We just have to convince women to give them up rather than killing them

      A man has to pay for 18 years whether he wants to or not
      A woman can get out of it b/c 9 months is too much to ask

      May 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  17. T3chsupport

    You can try to justify it all you want, but no matter how you look at it, this is counter to your religion. They're against creating babies in anything but a natural way, and very very against abortion, which is what most IVF results in. You already had 2 children, so it's not like you didn't have your chance. You got the chances that your god gave you, and now you ask for more, without doing the charitable thing that one would think your Bible would promote, and adopting children who have no one else. It's all about you you you, and not about what your god would want? Adoption isn't forced on you. IVF wasn't forced on you. Being childless wasn't even forced on you! What would Jesus do or say, eh? Probably to be thankful for what you have, and to help those who have less, correct?

    It was your choice, so live with it. Yes, you've got a child out of it, which is what you wanted, but you can't try to convince the church that it's OK. You have the right to your choices, and they have their right to condemn those choices.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Graben

      Back when the Catholic Church first started didn't anyone KNOW how to conceive any other way? God has made it possible for people to change & grow, why can't the Church do the same? By some of these replies maybe we should all still be walking around in barefoot in the desert? Maybe Churches should not use technology as they now do because that was not the way the Catholic church held their sermons back in the beginning.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • T3chsupport

      Or maybe you can accept the consequences of disobeying your religion, or even changing religions. Expecting others to change their mind is pretty stupid.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Ray

      I'm an atheist so all of this is hooey to me anyway. But, they are trying to justify their disobedience to their religion, plain and simple. If they were so strong in their faith, they should have adopted.

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

      It's not exactly true that fertilization can only happen "naturally" through the church's eyes. The church condones the use of hormones and various fertility drugs to aid in conception. The church doesn't condone IVF, as many have already stated here, because it destroys the potential for life in the many fertilized eggs that are discarded in the process.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Krys

      Excellent response!

      May 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Gabby

    I don't agree with any church or anyone trying to judge people for their actions. God is the ultimate judge. All these rules that man makes are meaningless...God has inscribed his law in our hearts...WE KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT AND WRONG. If this family wanted to do the "unnatural" to be happy than let God be the judge if they did the right thing. Science is man made and will always have imperfections because it's MAN MADE and yes their ways will always screw something up butthat which comes from God is PERFECT. I know couple who waited 10-15 years to have a baby and finally conceived. The problem is we are so focused in our wants and needs that we forget what God truly wants from us and as a result we get negative consequences. That's my 50 cents-take it or leave it.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Godless

      Lol... butthat...

      May 10, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  19. Brian

    While I sympathize with the emotional toll of infertility I cannot sympathize with your comments about the theology of IVF. It is clearly man using science to interfere with the natural process of fertilization and conception and the theology of the church is clear. Suffering is unfortunately a big part of the christian walk and we are all called to carry our crosses with grace.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • imissnumberthree

      Look out! It's been my experience that when I made such a "confident" statement, I am quickly humbled!

      May 10, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Dan

      Thank you for leaving this simple an succinct reply.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Neil

      Excellent excellent comment. Well-thought-out, calm, accurate. Thanks for the input.....

      May 10, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • nebraska

      So, by that thought, we should not be using science to keep people alive and treat illnesses or disease because it will "interfere with the natural process" of death? If you believe that God created everything then he also created the intelligence behind IVF, birth control, chemotherapy, anitbiotices, etc.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • steve houston

      Sure, as long as you're not the one doing the suffering. And BTW...man uses science everyday to "interfere" with the natural processes of disease(ie: cancer, you name it).

      May 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • anobody

      You misunderstand modern reality and progress. You should join a cult and go live in a high mountainous region someplace. it would be good for you.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Neil

      The Catholic church has doctrines that, for them, define the value, honor, and dignity of life – from its method of origin through maintaining The Temple (the body for those so very ignorant or unimaginative...) in a healthy manner all the way to measures that are and are not permitted to extend life medically. Consider: A Mormon is not allowed to smoke, consume alcohol, drink coffee or Cokes.... and is encouraged to keep a year's supply of food in each home. If ya don't agree/like that, don't join the LDS church. If you disagree/don't like Catholic doctrine, DON'T JOIN! We're talking doctrine here, not federal law! What are you? Republican?? You think you can determine right-or-wrong for my family? Sheeeeeeesh......

      May 11, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • cp

      Guess diabetics shouldn't be given insulin, cancer patients shouldn't have surgery, chemo, or radiation, etc because none of those treatments are natural and it is stopping the person's suffering. Heck while we are at it, might as well throw away your tyenol and advil because you need to learn to live with your pain to be a Catholic.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  20. justinPA

    These papers that the church released condemning IVF are not instructions from your god. They are the writings of close minded men in positions of power. This pope of yours was too busy shuffling pedophile priests around dioceses to be able to write a paper that isn't an all or nothing essay of ignorance. If your Jesus were here he would not be with these vile disgusting men. He would be out doing your god's work. Things like healing your wife. Spreading a message of love and tolerance and understanding that would be very unlike the church's message of closed minded bigotry. Maybe it's time you find your own faith and move on from being told what to do by the world's largest landowner, whose real priorities lie in shielding themselves from the law over some of the most heinous acts known to man.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Graben

      I agree, the Church preaches "God's will" but never thinks that maybe God's will is the fact that he gave people the brains to come up of varying ways to conceive for persons who can't traditinally conceive.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • imissnumberthree

      Profound comments. Thank you.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Robin

      Oh, Thank GOD, there are still smart people in this world.....I am feeling very releaved.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • gerald

      Ya and like Paul's close minded bigotry in Romans 1. No you do not know Jesus. All you know if hatred of the truth.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • gerald

      Ya and he gave people brains to come up with things like nuclear bombs and cocaine and gas chambers ..... Oh wait, everything that the human mind comes up with isn't good apparently.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Susan

      That's right gerald but it's also why laws are made and discussions on how we can all live together keep happening. It's about educating people so they can make an informed decision based on facts and not "because God said so."

      May 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • gerald

      Susan, maybe you need the education. Have you ever read JPII's Theology of the Body? I'll bet not. If you want to know thy the CC takes the moral stands it does I suggest you stop being ignorant and read it.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Artist


      Ya and he gave people brains to come up with things like nuclear bombs and cocaine and gas chambers ..... Oh wait, everything that the human mind comes up with isn't good apparently.


      including the bible..lol

      May 10, 2011 at 5:55 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.