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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. Jay

    I consider myself deeply Catholic. I do not agree with some of the teachings of the Church and I'm sure there are some who would say that I am not a "true" Catholic. But that's my private struggle, a part of my personal faith journey and ultimately between me and God. I don't feel that it is appropriate for individuals to try to change Church teachings to suit their experiences or their chosen lifestyle. Truth cannot be determined by democratic vote; doctrine isn't the same as legislation. I think the author of this article is courageous for sharing his story, but I do not think that the Church should have to change it's position to make him feel more comfortable at Mass.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • CM

      That's exactly what the Catholic Church did at the Council of Nicaea. They voted on which doctrines they would incorporate into their Church! There were 30 gospels to choose from and they only used 4. There were 5 sects and they chose the beliefs of 1. They excluded any allusions to reincarnation or the seven levels of heavens or the power of God within! Your church has been picking and choosing for hundreds of years!

      May 10, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Germain

      @CM. You are very misinformed.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • CM

      Germain, oh please inform me! That is if you are not brainwashed!

      May 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  2. Justin

    This article is a contradiction in and of itself. The reason that the church is opposed to IVF is, in part, because of the exact mistakes that the author describes.

    Further, it seems that author is unable to realize that maybe his and his wife's medical condition IS God's plan. Maybe they weren't meant to have children in the first place. He is trying to manipulate nature. Just as some people aren't meant to have children due to them being single, some people aren't meant to have children who have medical abnormalities that prevent it.

    Maybe the author should realize he has no intrinsic natural right to procreate and just deal with the adoption process. As he "chooses" IVF, he missed out on numerous opportunities to adopt beautiful children. Just think, there is a child out there living in temporary shelter because this guy wanted to play mother nature against itself.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Gina

      Sure, and if you get cancer, it is God's plan, and you shouldn't do anything medically or created out of human science in order to treat it. By this line of thinking, doesn't the mere fact that God allowed humans to discover this technology indicate that it is His plan for us to use it?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • ConcernedPerson

      Please PROVE to me that god is anything more than just a belief or your self delusion.
      Since you cannot prove if there is a god or what this supposed god "thinks" is correct, THEN you have a lot of self-ego nerve to tell anyone that they should adopt over trying to have their own genetic offspring.

      WHO DIED AND MADE YOU GOD FOR THE DAY?

      May 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Jim

      Justin, is cancer God's plan? If so should you seek treatment or just wait to die.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • ClaytonR

      Agree. As a parent of an amazing child who is adopted I couldn't agree more!

      May 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Paula

    I'm glad you did not choose adoption. You sound too shallow and selfish to love a child that does not have your "own" genetics. Good luck in your perfect narcissistic life.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • mkjp

      and just how many children have you adopted? Why is it only people who need to use IVF to have their own child are selfish? If they are selfish for not adopting, then every single fertile couple who has children naturally are JUST AS SELFISH. geez, I wish the Catholics would stop judging the rest of us.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • ClaytonR

      I tend to agree with Paula.

      There are so many children out there in need of homes. Our world is over populated as it is. Adding children through IVF is not the answer.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  4. Germain

    Everyone here has it wrong. The problem with many people is that they believe the only reason religion exists is to make a bunch of rules and restrictions that prevent us from doing many of the things we want to do. This is especially the case with how the American population and others view Catholicism. The point of the Church telling you that you can't make children through IVF or any other process besides intercourse is not an attempt to restrict what you can do; rather, it is an attempt to show you how to discover truth and love. As corny as it may sound, it's absolutely true. The child this author had through IVF is no "less perfect" than any other child, the process itself is "less perfect" however. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU, and sadly people don't seem to understand that.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Stop hating

      Why did the Catholic church harbor child molesting priests by relocating them to other parishes? I have a problem with people who attack children. PLease help me understand. I wouldn't want my child to be victimized. Why did the Catholic church lieto parishoners and protect the priests?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Jay

      Amen.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Stevie7

      So why, then, has the church changed position on divorce? And why does it always seem that wealthy, influential parishioners seem to get annulments the easiest? The church changes positions all of the time – not because god has somehow redefined love, but because the church can evolve (even if its usually quite behind the times) and for political gain.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Stop hating

      I am not wealthy. I paid $500 to get an annulment because it was important to my current husband to be married Catholic. And before anyone critisizes, my ex because abusive, adulterous and was an addict after the marriage started.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Stop hating

      No spell check. My ex BECAME abusive, adulterous, and was an addict.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I know several family members that have attempted to get an annulment. In cases where there was abuse and neglect, but where the person wasn't wealthy or didn't have much influence, the annulment was denied. In other cases where the marriage was totally valid, lasted a long time, produced kids, and the split was amicable, and the person was wealthy and influential, the annulment was easily granted.

      I'm not saying this happens every time, but money and politics plays an important part in many operations of the church.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  5. Adrian

    Sean, what about all the other kids? The ones IVF needs as backup... The 20 something other lives used in order for one to survive... I don't think its fair, conceiving 20 kids (probably freezing some of them) when you know that 19 if not 20 will not survive or be discarded. That's the moral issue I see in this case, regardless of what the church says.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Todd

      ...You do realize that about 80% of embryos conceived "naturally" don't make it to birth, right?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Jessie - NYC

      AMEN!

      May 10, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • dxp2718

      If you try naturally, and don't get your baby on the first try, then you likely have "discarded" an embryo by having it fail to implant. If you miscarry or have a stillbirth, you have "discarded" an embryo or fetus. There are many "discarded" embryos in nature – maybe there are more via IVF, but it depends on how long you've been trying naturally.

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

      You guys are all right.

      Can't it be argued that, if anything, you've increased the odds of those embroys becoming children via IVF?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  6. CM

    Well, I'll play devil's advocate. I believe that parents should be able to have in vitro. But... the Catholic Church believes that birth control is unnatural and goes against God's design, so therefore having in vitro would also be considered unnatural and against God's design. If God wanted you to have children He would have made you fertile! You can't have it both ways and pick and choose your beliefs. At least, that's what all Christians say, so why should this be any different. I'm not religious and I believe that people should be able to decide to become parents or not. Just playing devil's advocate and the Catholic Church's view. Maybe they should think about changing their doctrine to include responsible parenting.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  7. raberyleti

    How sad that people feel that "the church" a man led organization is actual the final authority on anything. I am Pentacostal by faith and from my childhood on have seen way too many discrepancies in what "the church" felt was right or wrong. The men themselves that led "the church" are falliable – that's right – they do wrong just like everyone else. But God is faithful and just to forgive everyone. In keeping with those thoughts, God is the final authority, not us, and certainly not the Catholic church that is filled to capacity with both outed and closeted pedophiles, child molesters and deviants some worse than we currently find in our society! If we are to enjoy eternal life and peace, we had all better realize – Catholics and Protestants alike – that God is God. The Catholic priest is not God, the Pentecostal pastor is not God, the Jewish rabbi is not God. God and God alone is the final authority – God is sovereign – God is God. Get to know him for yourself!

    May 10, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Germain

      Do you hear God in your head telling you all the rules then? God just speaks to you and tells you exactly what to do. Awesome, please teach me how to do that.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Stop hating

      Hey Germain, Raberyleti has a great point. The church, any church, is made up of people who make rules and that people make mistakes. Do you really think the Pope calls or emails God for answers? Did God tell the pope to protect child molesting priest?

      May 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Christian Mom

    I have three beautiful children, gifts from God, who were conceived using donor embryos. There are scores of children conceived this way but many parents don't want to admit their children are not genetically linked to them. As far as adoption goes...good luck! Unless you look great and have a large back account, forget it! Believe me. We tried to adopt and we weren't picky. We would have adopted an older child, a child with disabilities whatever.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  9. DropDeadGorgeous

    For those of you condemning all religion because of the Catholic Church, I'd like to remind you that not all churches or religions or denominations of Christianity are this way. For anyone feeling ousted by the Catholic Church, there are other options for you, Lutheranism being the closest to Catholicism but without all the exclusions found in the Catholic Church. If you do not agree with your church's doctrine and you cannot change it, then it's probably not the right church for you. There are other viable options in religion, just as there are other viable options in conceiving children. God bless your beautiful family.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Jay

      You make a great point. There is more than one right way to live, to worship God. God is too big to fit into one religion anyway. So if you can't respect the Catholic Church, its history, traditions and teachings, then find a faith community that is a better fit for you and helps you to be a better person.
      "The purpose of religion is not to build beautiful churches or temples but to cultivate positive human qualities like tolerance, generosity and love." ~ The Dalai Lama

      May 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Agree but you are partially incorrect. The Protestant Episcopal, (Anglican) Church is the closest to the RCs, without all their BS.
      In the US, the majority of Episcopal congregations are comprised of a combination of ex-Catholics, and ex-Lutherans.
      Ironic that a couple weeks ago during the royal wedding, the choir sang the "Ubi Caritas". I'd be willing to bet 99.9 % of Catholics watching didn't know what they were listening to, or where it came from.

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

      Yeah, good idea. If you're a disgruntled Catholic why not join a protesting sect. In fact, why not just start your very own sect. Seems that is what every single Christian should do – follow the lead of such characters as Henry VIII, Luther, and Calvin. I'm sure God is open-minded and willing to accept a couple of billion different versions of his Church. What harm could become of it?

      May 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  10. KA

    My husband and I also suffered from infertility. I have a "diminished ovarian reserve." I'm also a practicing Catholic. My husband and I looked into adoption; however, going the adoption route isn't as easy as fertile couples seem to think it is. At the time I was in my mid 30's and my husband was in his early 40's. His age was an issue with several adoption agencies. Then there is the cost issue. Adoption would have cost us upwards of $40k. I'm a school teacher and my husband is a manager for one of the major airlines. He is making less money now then he was prior to 9/11. IVF at $20k was the less costly option for us. We spent our life-savings to get our beautiful little boy and he was worth each and every penny. My IVF miracle is a true gift from God. IVF babies are some of the most wanted and cherished children. IVF was originally developed to help women without Fallopian tubes conceive. God put those doctors here for a reason. Fertile couples will never understand how infertility can make a couple feel and the stress it puts on a marriage. Unless you've walked in the shoes of infertility, you cannot truly understand what IVF means to those of us who are infertile.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • mkjp

      Amen! I didn't realize IVF was actually cheaper than adoption, but since that is the case, if the Catholic church and all its fertile couple members want the rest of us to adopt, they should make it cheaper and easier.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • rocketscientist

      Congratulations on your little boy KA!

      Thanks for pointing out the issues with adoption. It is definitley not as cheap and easy as many people think it is. I know, one of my best friend adopted twin daughters (my god daughters).

      May 10, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Jim

      God bless you!

      May 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • ClaytonR

      As a parent of a child who is adopted, you can find options that are a lot less expensive and there is a large tax credit through the federal gov. Some states have credits too. We got back nearly $20000 if our adoption expenses between feds and state. Although I don't think adoption is easy at all, I don't want people to think it costs $40,000 all of the time and there are no other options. There are plenty of good agencies and ways to adopt.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Krys

      sure, it's all cute now – wait till that little bundle is 14; sorry, just had to interject some humor into the conversation.

      May 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  11. Corinne

    . . . or you could just ADOPT. Sheesh, people. You knew what you were getting into when you signed up with the Church: why are you crying foul now?

    May 10, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Todd

      ...That would be mistake #1, absolutely.
      That's why fewer and fewer people are making that mistake these days.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Stop hating

      I don't think we "signed up" to be Catholic. We were baptized in just after birth. But your brain washed into thinking that the Catholic church is the only correct church.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  12. dxp2718

    This is essentially an evolutionary argument, which is kind of weird for a church that denies evolution exists. You don't want to artificially create offspring that can't naturally create their own, because eventually the population will be full of people that cannot reproduce without technological help and, should the technology disappear or become prohibitively expensive, die off a la "Children of Men." While I sort of agree with the theory, I bet the data will show that children conceived through IVF are no more likely to be infertile than their naturally-conceived peers (probably most infertility is due to environmental and age-related factors), especially when an egg donor is used. Furthermore, all SORTS of modern technology allows people to survive – and survive to reproduce – that wouldn't in the wild. Plus, our population is doing just fine (7 billion and counting...)

    May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  13. Eric7915

    The Catholic church also believes in stoning your daughter to death if she is not a virgin on her wedding day. It's in the bible. I'm not sure why people give so much credibility to the Church. The Catholic faith is built around guilt. You are never good enough. You are a sinner.
    God loves everyone unconditionally and all of this ridiculous guiltridden nonsense is exactly that, nonsense.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Stop hating

      You are right. Being Catholic is one BIG guilt trip. Probably why attendance is down and why many parishes are closing. I think the church's protection of child molesting priests was a wake-up call to the parishioners that followed the church like lamb to the slaughter house.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Jay

      Catholics do not take the Bible literally, that's Evangelical Christians. Also it's the 21st century not the 12th. We don't stone non-virgins on their wedding day.

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

      Jay-in your own words, it's the 21st century not the 12th. why abandon some of the rules but not all of them for more modern options and lifestyles? hence the hypocrisy issue.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • SteveM

      Stoning was a penalty of the Old Covenant. We now live within the New Covenant of love and forgiveness, won for us by the merits of Jesus Christ. This is the Good News in case you haven't heard about it already.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Joe R

      Good answer Steve

      May 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  14. Leoni Valles

    I think it's very easy for people who havent been through the pain of infertility to tell someone who has been unable to get pregnant that you shouldnt be so selfish and that there are so many children rotting in orphanages.
    Many loving willing parents dont fit into the box that adoption affords, should they be MADE to remain childless because they dont fit a certain criteria and their religion doesnt support them to have IVF? I always thought growing up that religion was being included in a wonderful large family that supported you and loved you.
    All children are a gift from god that is right so having a child through IVF surely counts too??? I think many people are too quick to judge where it comes to such gut wrenching decisions... are we to think that anyone actually choses to have IVF? I'm sure women who struggle with infertility would disagree with that.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  15. Todd

    It's wrong to conceive a child, yet all the priests molesting boys can be "rehabilitated" and placed back into society.
    It's no wonder why my generation often chooses not to deal with the hypocrisy (and EVIL) of organized religion.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Stevie7

      There are good reasons why 1 in 10 americans consider themselves ex-catholic

      May 10, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  16. MB

    If God had a child, you would have naturally become pregnant . What having two sons wasn't enough for you. You couldn't have adopted a child that was here and needed a home? To me you had the problems you encountered because you had to satisfy your ego.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • RougeADT

      F Off MB!

      May 10, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • ClaytonR

      I agree MB!

      May 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  17. RougeADT

    The Catholic church is not in a position to determine what is moral. The solution here is to ignore the Vatican. The Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are just people.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Stop hating

      Yes. They are people. Men to be exact (no offense to the men). And people, both men and women, make mistakes.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Lulu

      If you do that, you are not Catholic & the Vatican's rules wouldn't apply anyway.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Stevie7

      A large majority of catholic Americans reject the Vatican's teaching on a number of different topics – contraception being possibly the largest, gay marriage being another significant point of diversion. They probably just look at the Church's history and realize that the leadership of the church will catch up with modern science eventually – sometimes it just takes a few hundred years.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Joe R

      If Catholic doctrine is not acceptable, hey go to different religious or none at all..what so hard about that, nobody forces you to stick with Catholic. I'm hoping when people bashing other religions they don't believe in them to begin with otherwise they are hypocrite and self righteous...

      May 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • BRC

      @Joe R
      What if someone feels truly connected to the Catholic Church, honestly feels that in worshiping with the church they are conencted to their God, which according to all of its supporters is supposedly the very point of the religion, and doesn't want to leave the church; but they realize that the people in charge of the church, are wrong. The Catholic Church has been wrong, and admitted it, in the past (ie. their stance during the Holocaust). Who is to say they're not wrong now? Is a person at fault for seeing the error, and trying to point it out to the church that they love, and that they feel connects them with their God? If God is real, would you want to get in the way of that?

      May 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  18. Jason

    The decision to try IVF is not made lightly and there may be exceptions to the rule. We just don't know how God will ultimately judge any individual. We don't know if the Church will ever reverse it's position, but as far as I understand, this is the Church's position:

    When two people are married, the vow they take is to accept (not expect) children lovingly. We don't have an absolute right to have children. The moment we decide to have (or not have) children by the mere act of personal will we are no longer accepting children as a blessing from God but we are treating them as a commodity. Theologically speaking, the Church teaches that the pupose of life is to know, love and serve the Lord in this life so we can be happy with him forever in the next. The purpose of life on earth is not about having or not having children, or being happy or sad, or being rich or poor. Whether these things are easy or hard they are all blessings from God. This is the will of God trying to lead us all back to Him. Our reward in Heaven will depend upon how we conform our lives to the will of God.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • ConcernedPerson

      PROVE ANY OF YOUR STATEMENT! laughable

      May 10, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  19. Marni

    I am also a practicing Catholic and I sympathize with couples who struggle through the emotional, physical and financial obstacles necessary in order to have a chance to bring their own biological children into the world.

    Too often, due to the financial aspect of fertility treatments, couples choose to harvest and inseminate many, many eggs....only a few of which will be inserted during an IVF cycle. Unfortunately, not everyone is as committed as this author and his wife to providing a womb for the additional embryos. The number of frozen embryos in this country today is mind boggling.

    I pray there will be a time when finances do not dictate the need to freeze embryos for future use. The ideal situation would be to inseminate 3 eggs per cycle and implants these embryos.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  20. JD

    The Catholic Church is often unabashed in its hypocrisy. A few years back in Minnnesota, a unmarried Catholic school teacher who became pregnant AND DECIDED TO KEEP HER BABY was fired from her job by the bishop. How the bishop's action is any way pro-life and supportive of a young woman who made a brave decision (and I always assumed the correct decision according to church teaching) is beyond me.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Stop hating

      I would think they would want her to keep the baby and not have an abortion. They should applaud her for making a "correct" decision instead of casting her out. What ever happened to forgiveness? I guess she should wear a scarlet letter. Do you think the church would baptize her baby?

      May 10, 2011 at 9:49 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.