After seeing their Eggsploitation documentary, a former egg donor recruiter came forward and agreed to talk to the Center for Bioethics and Culture about her experience working for 18 years with a leading fertility center in the United States. It’s an interesting look into the industry.
The last few years was all about pleasing the recipients who were using egg donors. We stopped taking care of donors, but choosing donors based on their ‘select ability’. Our clinic didn’t want to waste time and resources on donors who weren’t going to be chosen, or wouldn’t produce a good quantity of eggs, but focused on girls who would be picked and produce many eggs. It weighed heavy on my mind that people wanted ‘designer babies’ — not that they just wanted a baby, but that they wanted a particular kind of baby. It wasn’t that we stopped ‘taking care’ of the donors, but in my opinion, they were viewed as employees who were contracted and paid to perform a service. It also weighed heavily on my mind that your so called ‘average’ woman wasn’t good enough anymore.
While we’re praying for an end to abortion and the conversion of abortionists and abortion facility workers, let’s also remember to pray for an end to the commodification of men, women and children through IVF and for the conversion of those who manufacture and destroy life in IVF clinics and science labs all over the world.
Emily Stimson has a TOB must read over at CatholicVote about how discovering JP II’s vision of the human person helped her overcome anorexia and negative body image issues:
The Theology of the Body taught me that my body was not some hunk of flesh encasing my soul; it was me. It expressed me. It made me present to the world, enabling me to love and be loved.
It also taught me that those curves I despised were gifts, reflecting my feminine heart and God himself, who nourishes and nurtures his people with more tender care than any mother who nourishes and nurtures her child.
And it helped me see food not as something to be feared, but as a perpetual witness to that nourishing love of God’s. It unlocked the power and beauty of the Eucharist and changed every meal into a natural foreshadowing of One, Holy, Sacrificial Meal.
Perhaps most impressively, it did all that in the first reading.
Read the rest: What the Pope Taught Me About Food, Sex, and God
In her new book These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, Emily seeks to have a different conversation about the TOB than we’ve seen in recent years.
About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, 1 in 54 boys. It is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. and I know that so many parents and relatives of young autistic children worry about how their children and loved ones will develop as they get older.
That’s why I am so grateful to my good cyber friend, Dr. Gerard Nadal, for this inspiring article that he recently wrote about the progress of his 14 year old son who has autism:
It’s been almost eleven years since we began this odyssey of delving into the inner workings of one of the most puzzling brain models on God’s showroom floor, one that now appears in 1:50 children. It’s been a great collaborative effort with several great educators and therapists. It has involved adapting our home life to accommodate Joseph’s needs, with no small amount of sacrifice all around. When Joseph took his first tenuous steps into a troop of 46 boys, I think my anxiety was worse than his. It has been the missing piece of his developmental puzzle.
Read more as he explains how Joseph has thrived, thanks, in large part, to his participation in the Boy Scouts. It is a story of love’s triumph and hope for any parent of a young autistic child.
[W]e live in dangerous times for those with so-called poor prenatal diagnoses. The autistic learning style, as it is known in our home, demands total devotion from the entire family. That’s quite a bit to ask in a hedonistic culture. These children will be found out in utero in short order, and when they are, the merchants of death will prey on parents’ well-founded fears. They are fears that nearly paralyzed me in those early years. Yet Joseph’s story is a story of hope in the depths of parental fear.
Thanks, again, Dr. Nadal for sharing and for all that you’re doing for your son and to raise Autism awareness.
Recently, Google launched a company that will be focused on finding the root cause of various diseases and conditions. But Calico has even greater ambitions than just treating human illnesses. The project also wants to address genetic causes of aging, and perhaps even “solve death.” CNN reports:
Calico — or the California Life Company — has been set up to research subjects related to aging and its associated diseases. Announcing Calico at a media briefing, Google said that the new and independent company will largely focus on age-attendant conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease.
Larry Page, Google’s ever youthful CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”
Exactly what approach the company is going to take to try to do these things remains to be seen.
My friend and BioTalk partner in crime, Rebecca Taylor, makes a good point and asks a few poignant questions:
The more medicine progresses and cures disease, the longer the human life span will be. That is a natural by-product, but the main focus is curing disease, not living forever.
When the focus is living forever does that change things? If the end game is not curing cancer or Alzheimer’s, but achieving eternal life on earth, is that endeavor no longer in the realm of medicine? Is that instead transhumanism, a philosophy whose very nature rejects what it means to be human?
What do you think?
This isn’t just another infertility story. This one includes a miracle from an obscure Medieval saint.
Over at Catholic Lane, Amy Bonaccorso writes about living with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome worries for years and then finally being told by her doctor that she had only a 5-10% chance of ever conceiving. Before going in to discuss possible treatment for her condition, she sent a prayer request to a priest who is a member of a community named in honor of St. Leopold. One month later, and a month before her appointment, she was pregnant!
St. Leopold is the patron saint of Austria and very little is written about him in the English language. He is patron of large families, death of children, and stepchildren. His family life explains his patronages. His first wife passed away at a young age and they had only one son together. His second wife, Agnes, lost her first husband after having 11 children. When the two widows married, they both became stepparents and formed a Medieval Brady Bunch. They had 18 children together, and tragically, lost seven.
A most virtuous ruler, Leopold was offered the role of Holy Roman Emperor and declined. This is perhaps the most impressive fact I have found about him. He was politically astute and ushered in an era of peace. A devout Catholic, he built monasteries and helped to resolve the Investiture Controversy.
It turns out this isn’t the first time St. Leopold has helped someone have a child. As Amy researched the saint further, she found out that, 16 years before his formal canonization, Albrecht, Habsburg duke of Austria, traveled to Leopold’s shrine to thank him for the birth of a son on November 15, 1339.
Since Leopold’s life was dedicated to raising such a huge brood of children, it is natural that he would take a special interest in baby requests. If you or anyone you know is praying for a child, Leopold’s intercession can’t hurt! Now is the time to mark your calendar for a novena. Start praying on November 7th to end on November 15th, his feast day.
Other patron saints for childless couples.
The Catholic Church is No Enemy of Science or the Infertile
In recent years, modern academics have managed to recast “eugenics” as a positive term, distinguishing their vision from past government-mandated eugenics policies. The emphasis now is on “selective reproduction” and the parents’ “choice” to decide what kind of child they want to have.
The result has been a search and destroy mission to wipe people with Down syndrome off of the planet through eugenic abortion. And it has taken so much love and joy out of the world.
In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I “raise awareness” about the good news about Down syndrome. Not only is life with Ds not as bleak as most parents are told when their child is prenatally diagnosed, but scientists are making significant advancements in the treatment some of the more serious side-effects of the disorder.
Awesome image via: Kerri Liles Photography
In this episode of Life on Film, Life TV discusses movie adaptions of Stephen King stories and how they relate to the Culture of Life
I wouldn’t mind seeing more pro-life, Christian filmmakers take a similar approach to some of their movies. A movie does not have to be explicitly about abortion to be “pro-life.” That’s what I loved about In America, for example. In many ways, the culture of death, itself, is not even really just about abortion — or euthanasia or what-have-you; it is, as the Life on Film crew notes, largely about despair and a lack of hope, not to mention our inability to meaningfully connect with human suffering.
A few weeks ago we ran an article at Catholic Lane about new data on why women have abortions. Someone choosing to go by the name “choiceone” left the following brilliant comment (click both images to enlarge):
Poor dear. She(?) thought she was so clever. I love the response from my EIC predecessor at Catholic Lane:
As hard as it is to believe, I’ve heard “choiceone”‘s ridiculous argument a number of times, blaming the Catholic Church for unplanned pregnancies (as well as the spread of AIDS in Africa). A few other points for Mr./Ms. Choiceone:
1. The Catholic Church does a great deal to provide for women in crisis pregnancies. Pregnancy centers throughout the country are owned and operated by faithful Catholics. Those centers are also financially supported by their fellow Catholics and local Catholic churches.
And, of course, we cannot overlook incredible people like the Donaghys who have adopted so-called “unwanted” babies who would otherwise have been aborted.
2. It should go without saying, but, if people followed what the Church actually teaches about chastity and human sexuality, out of wedlock “crisis pregnancies” (and AIDS, for that matter) would not be the major problem that they are. The Catholic Church condemns contraception while at the same time promoting sexual intercourse as an act exclusive to marriage. If a woman is listening to the church regarding contraception then it follows that she would also listen to the church regarding premarital sex and openness to life.
Clearly, the majority of the women and their partners who find themselves dealing with a “crisis pregnancy” and contemplating abortion are NOT following the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality. In fact, not only are most of them having sex outside marriage, the majority of women who get abortions were on or had used some form of birth control during the month they became pregnant.
3. Which brings me to my final question: If so many people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, ignore the Church on so many of these issues, why do they so desperately want her to change her teachings? Why do they even care?
R.I.P. Crash Monster (1999-2013)
Like most people, I’m sure, I had hoped that my dog would die comfortably and peacefully with me at home. But he had other plans. As long as he didn’t appear to be suffering terribly, I kept putting off bringing him in to have him put down. But, no matter how many times I told him it was okay to go — prayed for him to — he refused. He just slept. And slept. And by Monday morning it was clear that he was going to force me to bring him in. He wasn’t just sleeping peacefully anymore and I knew that I could not let it go on any longer.
“Dammit, Crash. Don’t you know that I am against euthanasia?”
“Yeah, for humans.”
As terrified as I was, I made myself stay in the room with him when they did it — after they let me have a lot of time to get the courage to finally let him go…for good. And, naturally, it was every bit as heartbreaking as I always imagined that it would be.
Here lies Crash. He was the best of dogs, he was the worst of dogs. And he died the way he lived: stubborn — right up to the very end.
I’ve read several stories of doggie loss over the years, many of which wax sentimental on the various lessons of life and love that their faithful canine companions taught them. I’m not sure I have anything like that to offer about my Crashy.
I suppose if he taught me anything, it was patience. Lots of patience. We called him Crash Monster for a reason. He was constantly getting into things he shouldn’t get into. Mostly trash or any food that was mildly within his reach. And he never met a pair of dirty underwear he didn’t like.
Ahh! But he did manage to bring me considerable happiness and many joyful memories, despite his monstrosity. He was my baby boy, my handsome man, my fuzzy valentine and just a major part of my life for the past nearly 14 years. It’s so hard adjusting to the fact that he’s really gone.
Our first and last pictures together:
December 1999 — in the hospital shortly after my car accident.
October 2013 — one of his last days.
One of his favorite things:
Lazy afternoon dog break. Another one of his favorite things:
“The Church teaches that there are no animals in heaven, since the beasts lack immortal souls. Far be it from me to question the doctors of the Church, but I cannot help but wonder if their reasoning is sound. Would God deprive a man of the companionship of his favorite hound, a dog the man raised from a pup, an loved? I sometimes wonder if, in the same way Christ gives part of his divinity to us to elevate us beyond the state of mortal men, we men, when we love the lower animals, grant something of our soul to them, so that God can make a way to keep them with us in the next life. But this is merely speculation: there may be something better—I know not what—than even this.” -John C. Wright, On the Garden of Paradise
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. -Colossians 1:16-17
Population Research Council has released a new video using cartoons to break down the complexities of pregnancy, illustrating how the drug affects ovulation, conception, and implantation. Characters on camels represent the sperm and their journey, while a lumbering elephant carrying a round little figure represent the female egg and its journey. Palaces, dust storms, and even an Oregon Trail video game reference depict how the drug works.
They have also created an informational page on their website where people can learn more about Plan B as well as some of the media conversation around the drug. The video leaves no doubt that Plan B operates, the vast majority of the time, by causing abortions.