God's plan for IVF

Paul Schlosser SCHLOSSER at ciit.org
Sat Jan 22 12:08:08 EST 1994

In <9401221434.AA19304 at net.bio.net>
jennifer.andrews at bbs.puc.edu (Jennifer Andrews) writes:

>    At this point I feel, that using defective embryos for research is
>acceptable.  But in regards to using cloning for IVF I have a bit of a
>problem with this, actually I have had a problem with the extremes
>people go to in order to conceive a child.  Perhaps I am not in a
>position to comment since I have a child who posseses half of my DNA.
>However I feel that people should consider adoption of one of the
>thousands of beautiful children already on the planet without the love
>of a parent.  

Agreed, assuming that one is secure from the trauma of having the child
"repossesed" by his or her natural parents 5 or 10 years down the line.
It is a shame for any child to be without the love of a parent, and 
adoption should be considered and encouraged (with proper legal safegaurds
for the adopting parents), but I don't think that a couple should be "forced"
to adopt by their infertility when that is not necessary.  Does being fertile
mean that a couple should consider or be encouraged to adopt any less so than
an infertile couple?  I don't think that adoption should be a "booby prize"
prize for the infertile.

>Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a child
>that is a replica of yourself seems to be a bit of egomania.  

Well, yes.  But people with lots of money will often practice egomania ...
unless we want to outlaw that.  Is every couple who conceive naturally
without first attempting to adopt guilty of egomania?

>I can
>understand spending some time and effort to discover the reasons for a
>couples infertility, however, alot of time and effort in the form of
>outrageous amounts of money seems extreme.  

Where do you draw the line?  Once the technology is worked out, the price
per conception will probably drop dramatically with the # of uses.
There is a concern about distribution of resouces in a way that will best
benefit society ... so maybe this research should be funded by the private
resources of egomaniacs.

>If indeed God has a plan for
>all of us and repeated attempts at conception are refused perhaps it is
>Gods wish for us to love and raise a child that is without a family.

Or perhaps it is God's plan that we should learn how to control and direct
our own reproductive processes.  We are surrounded by a wonderful universe,
every facet of which requires lifetimes of study to understand.  But, we 
do have the intelligence and ability to study and understand it.  Was all
this complexity put there for us to turn our backs on it or to selectively 
ignore parts of it?

I don't mean to imply that anything and everything we might do in science is
right, but I don't think that it is wrong per se to learn to control natural
processes which where previously not within our control.  There are certainly
limits to what we are capable of controling with the resources available to
us, but we now control our supplies of water and food (though sometimes this
control comes in the form of denying access).  Is it God's plan that people
who live in areas of drought should starve or die of thirst, when by practicing
our control over nature, we can avoid these things?  Is it God's plan that
people who live in the tropics shouldn't get to enjoy ice-cold drinks?  Is it
God's plan that people who live in the north shouldn't get to enjoy tropical
fruits?  (I ask these later two questions because neither ice-cold drinks nor
tropical fruits are necessary to live, or even be happy, but no-one argues
against them even though their consumption in certain parts of the world is
quite unatural.)  Is it God's plan that we should be holding discussion by
e-mail, despite all the $ and time that goes into making this possible, which
might be better used for helping people, especially children, who are much
worse off than we?

I think that, if God has a plan, part of it is for us to use our intelligence
and abilities to improve the lot of ourselves and all the people around us.
IVF is one way in which this might be done for infertile couples.

[just my own thoughts on a terribly tricky question]
schlosser at beta.ciit.org

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