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A Woman’s Right to Choose…IVF?

— August 29, 2016

Many supporters of the pro-life movement argue the issue is a religious one; that it has to do with God and His intentions and therefore, those who support women’s reproductive rights are wrong without question. God is generally the center of these discussions as being the reason women get pregnant in the first place (though basic science would beg to differ.) However, the topic of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is often left out of the pro-life argument, despite being directly related to the movement itself. If someone feels morally opposed to abortion, that is their right. Just as it is the right of others to support a woman’s right to choose. Either way, IVF must be part of the conversation. If, as some believe, it is “God’s will” that every child conceived should be born because a woman was “chosen” to bear said child, wouldn’t that mean artificial insemination goes against His will because the women who are unable to conceive naturally were not “chosen” to be mothers? It sounds harsh, but hear me out.

Some may say that infertility is not a choice and abortion is. They would be right; so long as the argument stems from a scientific perspective and not a religious one. There are countless women in the world who desperately want children of their own but are unable to conceive them naturally. I can’t begin to imagine the devastation these women must feel upon learning they are infertile. Of course, there are millions of children in desperate need of a loving, stable home waiting to be adopted, which is a gallant alternative (and one many people choose whether they are able to conceive or not.) But for those who want the experience of giving birth themselves, there are other alternatives. Scientific ones.

I personally believe if a woman wants to have a child, she should have as many options as possible to make that dream a reality. I also believe a woman should have just as many options if she doesn’t want to have a child, which includes access to affordable birth control and safe reproductive healthcare. While infertility is not, IVF is a choice. If we’re sticking to the God and moral platform regarding abortion, then we’ve got to be consistent. It can’t be that God “willed” every woman who conceives a child to give birth but didn’t “will” infertility, even if the woman wants to be a mother. It would seem unjust to label God a hypocrite.

Infertility has become big business in this country. From cash-for-eggs to IVF treatment, women can expect to pay big bucks for a child or, in many cases, several at once. This is where the pro-life part comes in. Fertility treatments do not equate to natural conception. For those who are pro-life and also pro-IVF, the God card cannot be played. Science can’t be alright to use “sometimes,” so long as it suits a personal agenda. Medical abortions and IVF are both possible because of the countless advancements in science.

Fetal embryo; image courtesy of
Fetal embryo; image courtesy of

When going through the frequently grueling process of IVF, several embryos are created to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. After a series of genetic testing to identify potential health and mental impairments of the embryos, sometimes (not always) “the “undesirable” embryos are discarded.” Typically, several embryos are transferred to the uterus, with the hope that at least one successfully implants itself. If more than two implant, the doctor may perform an “embryonic discard” of the others. This is no different than terminating a pregnancy during the embryonic stage. Some women do refuse this option. They may choose to freeze the remaining embryos, donate them, or they may choose to use them and end up carrying several children at once, though I don’t believe women are inherently designed to give birth to a “litter” of children.

As much as many would like to believe otherwise, the pro-choice and pro-life debate is a deeply complex issue. It’s not one side or the other and it never will be. But I think it’s about time we took God out of the equation and started focusing on the facts, no matter where we stand on the issue. Otherwise, we’ll just keep spinning out of control on this great big merry-go-round; sooner or later, someone is going to throw up.

I choose to politely decline that option.



In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

1.7 million human embryos created for IVF thrown away

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