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What is your view of In Vitro Fertilization? published by
Greetings fellow bloggers, I wanted to add this blog as I have been reading
Greetings fellow bloggers,

I wanted to add this blog as I have been reading about reproductive technologies in my Christian Ethics class. Meanwhile, someone that I love and care about just recently shared with me that they have been in the process of trying to have a baby through using IVF. I know others that have successfully used this process to have children. I find myself mixed on what I think about it and yet it is such a significant area that I think I need to press through to try to sort it out and come to a conclusion on what I believe God's mind is on the matter. Right now I think I believe that it is a medical provision that is acceptable to use for those that desire a child and are not able to for various medical reasons. I think the embryos should be used for adoption purposes if they are not used by the couple that produced them.

Hollinger (2002) states that "Most of the great ethical issues grappled with today are somehow related to our technological sophistication. Our capabilities to create and manufacture outpace our moral sensibilities" (p. 95). How true this is! And, I believe that just because we can do something doesn't necessarily mean that we should. Davis (2004) notes that "the judgement of Protestant ethicist Pual Ramsey would appear to be sound: "A small risk of grave induced injury is still a morally unacceptable risk." Further research is needed to establish definitively the safety of in vitro fertilization for those conceived in this manner. Until such evidence is available, IVF represents a form of experimentation exposing human subjects to as yet unknown risks".

The medical abilities that we have today I believe are God's blessings and that they are available for us to use them.

I am hesitant to even write about this because I would never want to offend anyone or create any controversial discussion but with that said, I realize there will likely be some strong and differing opinions.

Thanks for giving me your thoughts on the question.


John Jefferson Davis. Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today. Third Edition. Revised and Expanded. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company. 2004.

Dennis P. Hollinger. Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002.

Published: Apr 10 2010 09:56:38pm

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Patricia Hammersley (@studentpat)

Why do you think no one wants to respond to this? Thanks for your thoughts. Studentpat

Sean Gotz (@seangot)

My wife and I are expecting our first child this summer. Before we became pregnant, we had been trying for a few years and had considered the possibility of using IVF. I would say first of all that I agree (being a Christian myself) that IVF is permissible for those who are trying to have children but because of natural medical complications cannot. There are of course both pros and cons to IVF. First the pro position Concerning character or Virtue ethics Hollinger stated, "If we focus only on actions without attention to character, we lose sight of this dimension of ethics--that we can do the right thing but in the wrong way."1 God has given man the wonders of technology and medicine so that the miracle of life can be enjoyed by all married couples. As long as the technologies for IVF are deemed safe, and are not used except for the purposes of giving coupled a chance at parenthood, then IVF should be used. For the negative position I would suggest laws like that of Minnesota where the statute expressly forbids certain types of fetal experimentation (such as frozen IVF embryos being experimented on) to be wrong.2 Any form of God created life should be held in high regards and not taken left for experimentation or the possibility of death or mutilation. As long as IVF which has been developed to help those who were not able to get pregnant become pregnant, then IVF should be allowed but as a last result. Also, we will have to wait and see what the future holds in the study of birth related defects to IVF. As Davis pointed out, "Further research is needed to establish definitively the safety of in vitro fertilization for those conceived in this manner."3 Bibliography Davis, John Jefferson. Evangelical ethics: issues facing the church today. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Pub, 2004. Hollinger, Dennis P. Choosing the good: Christian ethics in a complex world. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2002. References 1 Dennis P. Hollinger, Choosing the good: Christian ethics in a complex world (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2002), 57. 2 John Jefferson. Davis, Evangelical ethics: issues facing the church today, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Pub, 2004), 95. 3 Ibid., p. 98.

Patricia Hammersley (@studentpat)

Dear seangot, Thank you for your response and for sharing your view. I agree with you and appreciate your recommendation for laws that ensure the proper handling of the embryos and your outlining some of the pros and cons regarding the procedure. Even as I write to respond to you, my mind is thinking about the process that brought us to where we are today and how the initial attempts at IVF had to have been a lot of trial and error. That makes me think it would not have been acceptable to have been "experimenting" with the initial attempts; yet, I know they would not have come this far without the process. That's where I believe I would have been against it and we wouldn't have gotten this far. On a completely different thought, I work with people in ministry settings frequently that need healing from all kinds of hurts and woundedness for reasons such as not being born a girl when the parents wanted a boy or vice versa. I wonder if IVF will result in those kinds of issues for the individuals born in this way. Maybe not. Obviously a child born through IVF was greatly wanted and that's why the parents went through the process. Emotional and mental impact would be helpful to study in addition to the physical safety aspect of it. Congratulations on you and your wife having a baby! Blessings, studentpat

William Stephens (@eschator83)

I'm not an unbiased commentator, because one of our kids tried IVF unsuccessfully. I can't say much about details, maybe they will write about it themselves someday, but after the first unsuccessful IVF, they conceived naturally, and we have what we tend to think is a miracle grandchild--we also have 10 other grandchildren (we have five kids), and I suppose all of us are miracles in many ways, it just depends how you define miracle. Here are some thoughts which may be useful. I think most churches have no formal, written policy on IVF, and most Christians have at best only a vague idea about what is their church policy. I start with this assertion since I'm almost sure at least someone will take exception to it, and hopefully you'll get more comments. I think this is the reason you have received few comments to date; it will take people time to reflect. It is a difficult personal decision, not just individually, since hopefully and probably both partners in a marriage should agree. From my viewpoint, IVF for a single woman is an even greater ethical and social can of worms, and same-sex partners go beyond that. It would take some time for me to confirm and articulate our church's position on IVF, but I did get into it some time ago and can say confidently they are not at all thrilled. For my personal part, I am strongly, although not absolutely, influenced by church policy, and I believe God gave us minds, imagination, and consciences, as well as the Holy Spirit, to help us understand and form our response to His Word, Revelation, and Will. I think I would not personally have chosen IVF, but if my wife had asked I would have consented. It may be useful to add the thought that I personally disagree strongly, in most instances, when churches (any religions) initiate legal action intended to force compliance with church policies. It is great irony that God gave us freedom, but so often some church leaders would take it away. It seems to me to be outrageous hypocrisy when churches soft-pedal controversial issues internally, so as not to lose membership, yet quietly organize lobbying and other political activies. It is good for us to remember, and abhor, and not repeat, our not-so-distant-past of church-inspired black clothing; prohibitions against dancing, singing, alcohol; and abuse by drowning, tar-and-feathering, hanging, hanging-drawing-and-quartering, burning at the stake. We must remember that power corrupts, perhaps especially in the church. We have much to repent, and would do well to recognize that no one of us is likely to be perfect on this earth. I absolutely believe that over the long haul Christianity has greatly encouraged and improved civilization. I think unity of Christians, and persuasion--but not forcing--of Christian values is our only hope to survive the Enemy's aggressive pursuit of Universalism, and the enslavement and abuse I fear it would inevitably bring. Remember God's creation of languages and nations in opposition to Babel. On one last issue, please take note of our CS Lewis group at Cb (in the category of fan clubs). I invite your comments--and any concerns or issues--especially as to what extent his writings are reflected in your curriculum. We hope you will join us.

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