The New York Times published a story last weekend about the practice of what is euphemistically known as ‘reducing’ a pregnancy. It’s the barbaric practice of killing one or more babies in a multiple-birth pregnancy, usually through lethal injection, and leaving the dead sibling(s) with the living until birth.
The practice was initially engaged during IVF when four or more embryos implanted and a certain number were culled in order to produce more robust survivors with the least complications for the mother. As with all depravity, there are no absolute limits, just a series of yellow lights. We now have a debate about reducing pregnancies of twins to what are called ‘singletons’. Listen to one mother in the article and her rationale:
If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner – in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me – and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.
What we glimpse here is the underlying malignancy of IVF, and the reason why we ought not allow our sympathy for the childless to cloud our reason and judgement.
Regina and I both lived the bitter and sorrowful disappointment of not being able to conceive for over four LONG years. We went into our marriage agreeing that, come what may, we would abide the teaching of the Church. We would not do IVF, nor would I see my wife juiced up with ghastly levels of cancer-inducing hormones, all in the name of having a biological keeper.
It was after we stopped trying and agreed to proceed to adoption that our first child was conceived.
That said, the grotesqueness that the desperate swallow in the pursuit of biological progeny is evident in this article. The euphemistic reductions are the most noticeable tip of the iceberg.
In the process of IVF, several eggs are harvested after pumping women full of hormones to stimulate hyper-ovulation. The consent to this by any husband ranges between ignorance to unspeakable selfishness.
Then, the husband is handed a specimen cup and shown a room where he must manually produce a semen sample. At this point, the procreative work is no longer that of husband and wife, but rather that of a team of lab technicians who will facilitate the union of egg and sperm. Husband and wife are relegated to the sidelines as mere observers.
Once the clutch of eggs is fertilized, the embryos are sorted and graded according to ‘viability’. At this point, a cell may be taken from the embryo to test for genetic and potential developmental anomalies. The poorer candidates are thus tossed away, the best implanted, and the rest frozen at -320 degrees F in liquid nitrogen. This process is abortion on steroids.
Thus, the entire process of IVF treats the child as an accessory in the lives of he parents, with little to no regard for that child’s weaker siblings who are simply thrown away, or immersed in liquid nitrogen indefinitely, a process that kills half of all who are frozen. No amount of desperation can ever justify this hideous mockery of God’s wise design. The experience that Regina and I had shows the value of respecting and obeying the Church as a matter of habit, so that when the storms hit, one has a safe refuge.
People may ridicule the Church and the teaching handed down by our celibate bishops, but as this article demonstrates, perhaps it takes a celibate to help the rest of us weather the storms.