Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"IVF does not heal" [UPDATED]

". . . nor does it serve the greater good of children and families around the world."

Catholic theologian and adoptive father Tim Muldoon explains why the Nobel Prize awarded to the developer of IVF technology represents a turning away from the plight of the world's abandoned children.

Elizabeth Scalia has also commented on Muldoon's piece.  Scroll down for a searingly powerful comment left by Heather King, from which I quote in part:

The deeper point is that IVF--like all the myriad ways we try to "take the shortcut," whether reproductively, sexually, psychologically, financially, or spiritually-- bypasses the true crucifixion of abandoning ALL IDEA THAT WE GET TO SEE OUR LIVES BEAR FRUIT THE WAY WE WANT THEM TO, the way we envision, the way we think they should, the way our hearts long to the point of death for. This is the scandal of the Cross. The scandal of a Savior who died in the prime of his life without issue, his beautiful body butchered, his life and work an apparent failure. Nothing to show for all his love. Nothing to "show", for the life he was offering up--except us...

So it's not that we don't welcome with open arms all children, however conceived. It's not that we don't fully acknowledge the sacrifice, suffering and love of the parents of chidren who have been conceived by IVF. But it is that we're bound by truth to acknowledge that the full Cross has been bypassed...


The Cottage Child said...

The whole thing makes my heart hurt. We have a family member who has been lost to us for all practical purposes, because of her obsession with fertility treatment and IVF. She and her husband are fundamentally changed people. Their union has been reduced to pursuit. Adoption isn't considered, because "it isn't natural". The point of the article is so right - they might conceive, but they won't be healed.

And (here's me being judgmental and mean) IVF is a big fat racket that should be exposed for the predatory thievery it is. They boast a success rate of 30%? My family member boasts a tab at her clinic that would have facilitated the successful adoption of a half-dozen children (this after receiving multiple discounts for being a repeat customer). This would be recognized as a pattern of fraud in any other line of work, if parenthood is in fact the desired outcome - and that might be the real question for all involved. It's just so sad.

Pentimento said...

This is very sad, CC. The fertility industry is virtually completely unregulated, which allows these abuses to continue unchecked, abuses that include exploiting the power of the white coat in order to deep desperate people holding onto a minute shred of hope and continuing to take their money.

As for adoption not being "natural," by what measure is it natural to shoot oneself up with drugs to stimulate multiple ovulation and have the resulting eggs "harvested" by a needle, while one's partner, in a separate room, looks at porn in order to produce a "sample" so that his sperm can be united with the eggs in a test tube and injected back into one's uterus? It's enough to make Rousseau shudder. Our standards of what is "natural" seem to have slid down a very slippery slope.

It would be interesting to read an essay exposing IVF as an assault on the dignity of the human person, i.e. the person of the man or woman who undertakes it.

Pentimento said...

"keep" desperate people, not "deep" them!

The Cottage Child said...

"As for adoption not being "natural", by what measure is it natural to shoot oneself up with drugs to stimulate multiple ovulation and have the resulting eggs "harvested" by a needle, while one's partner, in a separate room, looks at porn in order to produce a "sample" so that his sperm can be united with the eggs in a test tube and injected back into one's uterus?"

That is, literally, the $200,000 question.

I get so annoyed with the whole affair, because it's reaching into areas that make it my business, yet I'm not allowed to say anything (although I am so tempted to anonymously send links to both you and The Anchoress). But I do promise to pray for her every time it comes up, even in discussing it now, mostly to remind myself that if I were busy praying I wouldn't have so much time to be annoyed.

Pentimento said...

I will pray for them too, CC.

Peter and Nancy said...

I have to remember that: "If I were busy praying, I wouldn't have so much time to be annoyed." That was good for me to read. :o)

Pentimento, where are you adopting from -- US or internationally? I'm new here, and we're an adoptive family too. We have two home-grown sons, one daughter from India, and are waiting for another.

I feel heartsick when I think of all the cash poured into IVF that could've created a family through adoption. I understand the desire to experience pregnancy, and was blessedly allowed to become a mother that way too after a year of waiting to conceive . . . But my husband and I agreed at the beginning of our marriage that we would pursue adoption if we had any trouble getting pregnant. I had no idea the IVF success rate was so staggeringly low.

Pentimento said...

Nancy, we were anticipating adopting in our community, but against all expectations we are adopting a special-needs boy from China. There's a recent post about how this happened. In fact, it's called "How It Happened."

I have a biological son too, an almost-five-year-old, but since his birth have had recurrent miscarriages and what now appears to be secondary infertility. Although we would never have considered IVF (I remember thinking it was creepy even before I came back into the Catholic Church) my OBGYN back in NYC, who was not a Catholic, herself mentioned its low success rate. And my OBGYN here, in our new town in Appalachia, who IS Catholic, when I told him we were adopting asked if we'd considered using donor eggs. I can't read his soul, of course, and I didn't feel it was my place to lecture him: but why that would be preferable to adopting is really beyond me.

I knew an Irish delivery nurse back in my old neighborhood in the Bronx who jokingly called IVF babies the ones that their parents "sneaked past" God. Incidentally, IVF was widely practiced in that working-class Irish neighborhood. It's a strange world.

I would love to know more about your adoptions; I will browse over to your blog.

mrsdarwin said...

I have been chewing on Heather King's quote for several days - thank you, thank you for posting it. I've never seen that idea expressed so eloquently before.