Monday, August 6, 2012

IVF and Motivations

I have been active in the pro-life movement for about six years now.  My boyfriend is not quite as active as I am, but he does come with me to marches, and he is a good listener as I bounce ideas off of him for SPL blog posts or I talk about some recent piece of abortion-related news.  From everything I can tell we’ve been in agreement on the abortion issue, acknowledging that human beings begin as zygotes and that abortion destroys human beings.

The other night he learned that friends of his family had successfully completed IVF.  As he was telling me about this he asked, “What’s the big deal with IVF? Don’t some people have a problem with it?”  I told him that it can be controversial because the process typically involves creating multiple embryos, but not all of them are necessarily used in attempts at implantation.  There is a question about what becomes of the extra embryos.

He responded that this isn’t the same issue as abortion because this isn’t about people irresponsibly having sex and ridding themselves of the results—it’s about people who genuinely want a child using science to help them achieve that. 

A brief, tense conversation ensued. 

To my view, if you believe the biological beginning of a human being (the zygote) has enough moral relevance to make abortion unethical, then non-abortion-related procedures that involve destroying human embryos are also unethical.  I think the motivations of the people who choose to risk that destruction are of minimal relevance.  Embryos could die because someone doesn’t want a child (abortion) or, actually, because someone does (IVF).  If it’s unethical to destroy human embryos, it’s unethical either way.

(That’s not to say IVF is inherently unethical.  Genetic parents can donate their extra embryos to third parties trying to have children, so IVF doesn’t necessarily mean the destruction of human embryos anyway.)



SarahM said...

I agree with you on your points except I do believe IVF is inherently unethical in that it treats children (the embryos) like objects. It is not your right to treat life so carelessly and it is not your right to have a child that is biologically yours. There are sooooo many children who have no parents, no permanent home & no hope for a stable family. They are already alive & yet these people spend all this money & time bringing ANOTHER child in to this world while discarding the rest of the fertilized but unused embryos (usually). It's not right, and I think it is just as selfish as abortion.

Anonymous said...

My parents didn't undergo IVF - the doctors refused to make just a couple of embryos and implant all of them, so my parents didn't do it - but they did spend a lot of money and time bringing me into the world through various fertility treatments. It was their right to use their own time and money trying to have a child that was biologically theirs, and I'm pretty dang glad they did, because otherwise, I wouldn't exist. As long as "no embryos were harmed in the making of this born baby," I don't particularly care what fertility treatments people undergo.

Anonymous said...

The pro-life movement is really about punishing women who engage in immoral behavior. You can pretend that it's not about that, but it's ultimately about that and it's what the majority of pro-lifers represent. Your "boyfriend" is a textbook example.

Allie Riece said...

The pro-life movement is about helping to save innocent third party individuals, nothing more, nothing less. It's the pro-"choice" movement that harms woman be restricting access to information and dehumanizing both mother and child.

Sarah Spelle said...

The pro-choice movement is an offshoot our our increasingly selfish, "it's all about me" culture. No compassion is ever shown for the unborn child being dismembered or poisoned or vacuum suctioned to death.

Not one ounce. Ever.

It's the child that is punished by a horrid, untimely death.

wat said...

Why did you put "boyfriend" in quotes? Are you implying he's not really her boyfriend?

Anonymous said...

"The pro-life movement is really about punishing women who engage in immoral behavior."

I like how you say that as if society doesn't already punish people for immoral behavior. i.e. prison.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have confused "immoral" with "illegal". Did you know that they are not the same thing?

oh well.

jenny said...

This article has a great analysis and states that there are almost as many embryos discarded through IVF as there are embryos discarded through abortion.

I agree with your stance. Your boyfriend's stance, in practice, would lead to punishing women more than men, which I think is unfair.

Niki Nible Onnen said...

I am completely pro life but i also can not get pregnant with out ivf i pray on it constantly and i have not had my eggs taken yet what i can say is my extra embryos would be given but im utterly and totalling against murdering people (no matter the age) what i can also say is i want to be a mother i deserve to be a mother i am financially and emotionally stable. I am also a very good step mom. This topic is hard for me and ultimately im going to do it no matter what anyone says or thinks but what i can say if i ever found out any of my embryos were destroyed i think it would just about kill me