Every human life has value.

It doesn’t get much creepier than this. In Florida a young woman was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and underwent a hysterectomy. Doctors harvested some of her eggs which were fertilized by her husbands sperm and later implanted into the womb of her 59 year old mother, who recently gave birth to the twins. I am sorry but that just gives me the willies all over. Though I don’t know what’s worse, this or the Canadian mother freezing her own eggs for her infertile daughter to use.

Infertility is often a very devastating and grievous experience for couples, but it is not an excuse to take fertility, to take life, into one’s own hands. It is good and right to desire to have a child, but having children is not a right. Just as it is never good for the marital act to be dissociated from the procreative act (contraception), likewise the procreative act must never be dissociated from the marital act (artificial reproductive technology). Other methods may be employed to help couples overcome their sterility, provided it does not violate human dignity or treat human life as an object of gain. In such a case where sterility is permanent, like the one’s cited above, Archbishop Charles Chaput offers this advice:

No prayers go unanswered, and all suffering given over to the Lord bears fruit in some form of new life. I encourage them to consider adoption, and I appeal to them to remember that a good end can never justify a wrong means. Whether to prevent a pregnancy or achieve one, all techniques which separate the unitive and procreative dimensions of marriage are always wrong. Procreative techniques which turn embryos into objects and mechanically substitute for the loving embrace of husband and wife violate human dignity and treat life as a product. No matter how positive their intentions, these techniques advance the dangerous tendency to reduce human life to material which can be manipulated.

Children are a gift, not a right. The focus of marriage should be the husband and wife giving and receiving the total gift self while loving God and trusting Him for the timing of children – if they should ever come.

Other sources
Kimberly Hahn’s fabulous book, Life Giving Love: Embracing God’s Beautiful Design for Marriage

Donum Vitae: Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation – Heterologous Artificial Fertilization; Homologous Artificial Fertilization

Also, my HP post is up on Path to Holiness.

July 30th, 2007 at 7:15 pm