Why Not ART?
By Mary Bruno
Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization
(IVF) and Intrauterine insemination (IUI) are (strangely) one of my favorite things to talk about. Most people don’t plan on being infertile, so when it hits, it can be devastating.
A common reaction to this jarring life circumstance is to turn towards IUI and/or IVF because most are unaware of any worthwhile alternatives.
Catholics are one branch of many in this boat. The fact that the Catholic Church advises against it as seriously sinful is either ignored, unknown or believed to be untrue. Many can’t fathom why any Church would reject such “amazing scientific advancements.” I completely understand why this teaching is upsetting and challenging for so many people who are already experiencing so much pain.
But the Church was established by Christ himself to guide our hearts and minds by articulating his teachings and illuminating the surest path to heaven for our own sake. Nothing is imposed on us – the Church only proposes the most life-giving options. We have the free will to ignore anything we choose. But when we understand why certain “propositions” exist the way they do, these teachings stop feeling so restrictive.
My husband Chris and I have never felt “bound” by the Catholic Church’s warning against ART because we not only understand it, but are in complete agreement with it. I understand and respect that not everyone feels the way we do, but I will still present our reasons for not choosing IUI or IVF:
1) Both circumvent God’s perfect design for the co-creation of new life
2) Both circumvent the underlying health issue preventing conception
3) Both are emotionally invasive
4) Both make a baby the priority over God and spouse
5) Both can put undue stress on a marriage
6) Neither have guarantees or high success rates
7) Neither improve health even when a baby is not the result
IVF most often creates multiple embryos with a low survival rate. Many of these new lives are frozen or destroyed. Those would be our sons and daughters. And, it’s expensive.
These are the reasons why the Catholic Church opposes this practice. Still, many beautiful new humans are created this way, and each has equal worth and value as humans conceived naturally. But it doesn’t mean conception happened under the best of circumstances.
If we had gone this ART route, we would’ve never met the beloved girl that calls me mommy and Chris daddy – the one God had planned for us all along.
I would’ve never been motivated to search for the meaning of my infertility. I would’ve never lived the freedom of all the life-giving gifts I now experience daily.
When life gives you a curveball, there is more than one way to knock it out of the park. Sometimes infertility ends with a baby, and sometimes it just gives us new life.