Medically Assisted Reproduction Gone Mad!

March 7, 2008 09:00 AM
Genethique publishes a monthly update discussing bioethical questions. The most recent issue presents a few numbers which underscore the reasons why it is so difficult to expose the sordid underbelly of the world wide in vitro fertilization business.

Let me point out, before I quote from this most recent newsletter, that Genethique is the brainchild of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, which is one of the most formidable pro-life bioethics study groups in the world.  Professor Lejeune was the scientist who identified the chromosomal problem causing Down’s syndrome. A world famous  scientist, he traveled the globe defending the personhood of the preborn. His testimony in the Davis vs. Davis case is one of the most electrifying pro-life statements you will ever read as is his article, "When Does Life Begin?"

Genethique’s February newsletter provides some shocking information. For example, in many countries the technologies which some call “Medically Assisted Procreation” are freely sold to any and all, which is “constituting a child market, already globalised” according to Genethique.

There are a large number of examples cited: in the USA, sperm—$275,000 per dose—and oocytes ,which are female eggs—from $2,500 to $50,000 according to morphological and racial criteria of the ‘salesman’—can be bought; in Ukraine, a surrogate mother rents her uterus for between $25,000 and $45,000. It is estimated that in the United States alone this market is $3,000,000,000 per year. That’s right—three BILLION!

The money is one of the biggest reasons why it is so difficult to oppose these technologies and to work for the outlawing of such practices. Reproductive medicine is big. As the number of women taking the birth control pill continues to rise, so will the number of sterile females. Thus, this industry will continue to grow.

Not only that, but we are getting to a point where there will be a debate in nations of the world regarding whether or not this technology should be available to all people regardless of income levels. The technology will be viewed as a health care discipline that should be available without discriminating against the poor. Or, in other words, tax payers may well be paying for the provision of this technology for those who cannot afford it themselves. Universal health care is, after all, the wave of the future according to many experts. And, as we know, reproductive medicine is viewed as an integral part of that health care package.

But, the Catholic Church has taught and continues to teach:
In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving. The one conceived must be the fruit of his parents' love. He cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion. (D.V. B:4:c)
It is therefore of paramount importance that we struggle against this growing industry by insisting on the value of the human person and his procreation within the marital embrace. It is further a matter of grave urgency that we remind our fellow Americans that as these technologies spread and become more widely accepted, the human embryonic child’s dignity as a human being dwindles because he becomes a commodity to be purchased rather than the fruit of a loving embrace.

I hope the numbers cited above shock you. I hope you then decide to do something about it by educating your friends, relatives and others about the reasons why such technologies are not only unethical but must be banned.

We would never have begun debating human embryonic stem cell research and human cloning if these technologies had not been permitted. It’s time to put such brutal science to an end.

A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child's dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, "the supreme gift." (DV II:8)
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