At what price gratification?

Local news is reporting of a couple seeking to end infertility with another attempt at in vitro fertilization. Is there anyone anymore who doesn’t know that in vitro fertilization involves the removal of a woman’s ova (eggs) and fertilizing them outside the body? Then, as this report admits, some of them are returned to the uterus to (hopefully) implant and develop regularly.

However, I have some issues with this report, which I won’t be able to post until the comments section opens, tomorrow morning.

The implication is that all that is returned to the uterus are fertilized eggs. First of all, a fertilized egg ceases to be an egg, immediately becoming the earliest stages of an embryo, a far more complex being than just an egg. Moreover, that embryo is an embryonic human being, not the non-entity the media names it.

The left-over embryos – fully human beings in their embryonic stage of development – will be frozen until another attempt at achieving pregnancy is made… or they will eventually be destroyed.

The destruction of human life at any of its phases – whether prenatal or post- – is murder.

Did the doctors discuss this with their patients? Did they sit down with their patients and say, “Now, you realize that this procedure is going to have some really uncomfortable moral issues connected with it? We always fertilize multiple eggs because, frankly, this procedure is a crap shoot, and some of those embryos simply won’t attach to your uterine wall and we’ll have to try again. And if we’re lucky enough to achieve a pregnancy for you, then you’re going to have to decide what to do with the remaining embryos.

“And since we implant several embryos at one time, hoping one of them sticks, you might have the opposite problem of too many of them implanting – in which case – unless you want to be another Nadya Suleman and have fourteen children and be publicly ridiculed and castigated by millions – you’ll be facing ‘selective reduction.’ That is, we’ll go in and remove some of those older embryos/fetuses so they don’t get in the way of their siblings… and your comfort level, of course.

“Oh – and, by the way, every one of those fertilized eggs we’re talking about, here, is a real little living human being, your son or daughter, and we are boldly instructing you on killing them ….”

Do medical teams really discuss things with the women who come to them so desperate to have a child?

This leads to the need for deeper, more abiding ethics: at what price is anyone entitled to have their wishes gratified?

What kind of a woman, or couple, is so eager to have a baby (which, by the way, will grow up some day, if they’re lucky, to become a teenager they will frequently want to sell to a zoo, and cause them to wonder WHY they ever so blindly idealized parenthood) that they will be willing deliberately to kill their children in order to have one?

Someone with greater sense needs to step in and say “Enough is enough!” It’s hard to see anyone disappointed in a desire so natural and so profound as the desire for a child. Children bless and enrich our lives in immeasurable ways – even as they also complicate our lives and sometimes cause us great frustration and grief.

However, we simply are not entitled to have our every whim and desire gratified. Life is full of disappointments, great and small. We must learn to accept, gracefully, those things we cannot control with reasonable diligence, and to create a life for ourselves with that other, uninvited reality. We cannot manipulate the forces of the universe to get our way over every thing – nor should we be allowed to.

Certainly not at the cost of human life.


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