Ethics & Embryos

As Ryan and I have let everything “sink in” I did the inevitable and stuffed my brain with Googlings of pros and cons of ART/IVF and remaining “child-free.” (I’ve always said “childless” but I guess that’s not kosher in the infertility world.)

I’ve found myself reading some PRETTY uncomfortable arguments. For starters, as a Christian I’m personally opposed to abortion, although I would never expect others of different beliefs and backgrounds to agree with me. Fortunately I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to consider one.

I’ve also known IVF is a taboo in the Christian world.  The fundamentalists are against all ART/IVF for many reasons, namely that “It’s God’s job to create life, not man.” I disagree, because the same argument could be adapted for many life-saving medical treatments which are widely practiced by all Christians.  Also, I have faith that God gave us science, medicine and knowledge and they are great gifts to be used! (Responsibly.)  However, the fundamentalists and more conventional Christians alike take issue with the extra embryos created in the IVF lab, and equate “destroying” the extras to abortion.  Previously I hadn’t thought much about this because

#1 Substantially all of the IVF stories/blogs I’ve heard/read have not had ENOUGH viable embryos, and IVF becomes a devastating failure time after time.  I didn’t expect the doctor to tell us she estimates we’d get about 5-6 embryos, I thought we’d be lucky to get 1-3 and would give each one a fighting chance.

#2 Those embryos aren’t in the womb.  If I were pregnant and did nothing, I’d grow a baby and give birth.  Abortion is an act to prevent this.  But those embryos in the lab are another story, if I did nothing, they would NOT grow into a baby.  There is no act to prevent life from growing.

However, according to many Christian reproductive websites, all those embryos need is nurturing to grow into a baby, the same way all a baby needs is nurturing to grow into a self-sufficient adult.  This is truth.  I can’t deny that.  If we get 5-6 embryos and I let some die off, I’m preventing life, and that is very convicting.

So what do we do?  Take our chances and hope for a manageable number?  Make the commitment to transfer each embryo if we end up with 5-6? (Ryan, my endearingly fussy husband-child, would lose it if I told him we might end up with 6 children.) At this point all I can “do” is pray about it, think about it, and trust in God.

In actual developments, I learned Kaiser will cover $0 of IVF, not a drug, not a procedure, nothing, so we are better off using the pricey local doctor we visited.  $15,200 is a lot, but at least we’ll save time and gas driving to and from another city.  Also, my FSA will cover $2,550 of the costs, but we have to wait until next plan year, aka January.  Part of me just wants to go ahead and do it NOW but I think it would be prudent to just be patient and use that $2,550.

This gives us some time, too because Ryan and I really need to think hard about this, even the parts that would be convenient to gloss over. Especially those parts.


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