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Procreation v. Baby Making

By Judie Brown

Ever since the first in vitro fertilization baby, Louise Brown, was born, problems have been at the forefront of the euphemistically-defined assisted reproductive technology business.

While the claim has always been that ART helps infertile couples realize their hopes of having a family, the truth is far more sinister. As policy analyst Philippa Taylor explained:

“IVF has also opened what many regard as a Pandora ’s Box of genetic engineering, cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (screening out of embryos), embryonic stem cell harvesting, research on three-parent babies, and animal-human hybrids. Many IVF programs involve the production of spare embryos, which are then used for research, disposed of, or frozen for future use.”

As if this were not bad enough, we have now learned that twins with different biological fathers and the same biological mother have been born using a surrogate mother! A Daily Mail report tells the story of how a fertility clinic in Los Angeles, California, devised the plan for the surrogate mother, Meg Stone, to carry the twins from two different fathers. The homosexual couple who will raise the children say:

It really is amazing that Graeme and I have been able to father one of our twins each.

Meg did an amazing job—and it meant that she was actually pregnant by two men at the same time. It’s thanks to the wonder of IVF that we have been able to achieve our dream.

The baby-making industry has made stories like this possible, but at what cost?

In 1987, nine years after the birth of Louise Brown, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed this matter, including the ethics of surrogate motherhood. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (subsequently Pope Benedict XVI) taught in Donum Vitae (Respect for Human Life):

“Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents.”

Yet, today, the culture of death’s bag of tricks panders to every practice that negates the rights of the child in deference to the selfish needs of those seeking to have children or dispose of them for any reason at all.

As Ratzinger taught,

“Whatever its cause or prognosis, sterility is certainly a difficult trial. The community of believers is called to shed light upon and support the suffering of those who are unable to fulfill their legitimate aspiration to motherhood and fatherhood. Spouses who find themselves in this sad situation are called to find in it an opportunity for sharing in a particular way in the Lord’s Cross, the source of spiritual fruitfulness.”

These words are a source of solace for those Christians who confront sterility. Such people are invited to learn more about the ethical ways of dealing with this challenge, including natural procreative technology. But note that Ratzinger specified a “legitimate aspiration” for wanting children. This does not apply to homosexual or lesbian couples whose claims are problematic on many levels. Couples like the men cited above do not have a legitimate right to a child. As Jennifer Hartline says:

We’ve elevated sexual preferences and wants high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it’s not love. . . . The increasing frequency of babies being manufactured through surrogacy and then delivered to same-sex couples is alarming and heartbreaking. I can think of nothing more selfish than for adults to deliberately deprive a child they claim to love of her fundamental need and genuine right to be raised by her own mother and father because their sexual preference precludes it. It is a perversion of the family unit. It’s an injustice to the child.

This underscores the reason why procreation is a blessing and why the practice of baby making is a curse.

Babies must always be a welcome gift from God because every person is created in His image and likeness. The children created by ART are not the problem, yet we must realize that the practices of IVF and surrogacy are not gifts. They are blights to the institution of family.

Understanding the difference and working to help others see the truth is not only our obligation but our vocation. Join us in explaining that every child has the right to be brought into the world and nurtured according to God’s plan, not man’s.

image: Michel Pourny via Flickr | CC-2.0