John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris on Evangelicals’ Ethical Blind Spot for IVF

I’m unapologetically Protestant but, as I’ve said for a while now, our Catholic friends have long led the way on many bioethical issues like abortion and assisted reproductive technologies. For example, back in 2008, the Vatican released a document called “Dignitatis personae,” which said that “The desire for a child, while good, cannot justify the ‘production’ of offspring, just as the desire to not have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived.”

Now, I recognize that Christians disagree about whether it’s intrinsically wrong to conceive children outside of the sexual union of husband and wife, including in vitro fertilization. Because God ordered the pleasure and intimacy of married sex toward procreation, I find the Catholic ethical teaching against IVF to be compelling.

Still, like I said, not all Christians agree. For example, several months ago, I had a robust discussion on this issue on the BreakPoint Podcast with my friend Dr. David Stevens. David has long led the Christian Medical and Dental Society and has been one of the great medical missionaries of our lifetime.

What David and I did agree on, and what everyone should agree on (especially Christians), is that any fertility process that knowingly destroys or abandons human lives—including embryos—is immoral. And that’s what the debate over IVF must confront right now.

Recently, NBC reported that frozen and abandoned embryos in U.S. fertility clinics may now number in the millions. Because of how IVF has been done for so long, we are facing a human rights crisis—namely, what should we do with these little abandoned lives?

Throughout most of the history if the practice, in vitro fertilization has involved creating more embryos than any couple could ever bring to term. Standard practice is to retrieve scores of eggs per cycle from women and to fertilize all of them. A few of the resulting embryos are transferred one at a time to the gestational mother. Some may not implant. Some others may even be intentionally killed in reductive abortions. In other words, all-to-often this process involves destruction in the name of reproduction, justified because of efficiency.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris

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