(Start with "Monday" if you can. You won't want to miss it. I conquered the topic of "religion". Tomorrow I'll deal with "sex" and the day after: "politics". They are three totally different topics aren't they?) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How various religions tackle the subject of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) like IVF.
Hopefully this week's blogs will help you with the tough ethical question that we've all faced: "Should I find a doctor who will make sure my religious beliefs are adhered to? OR "Should I find a religion that lets me do whatever the heck I want?"
I thought I'd begin with Christianity. And, if tomorrow I still have any readers left, I'll move on to something else. Or maybe just lay low for a while.
One website, I'll be honest, just scared the daylights out of me. Besides talking a lot about sin, it also stated that it was too risky to go into IVF territory since "4 out of 5" IVF pregnancies end with the baby dying. Hmmm. I think I'll have to consult with one of my medical experts. That number sounds a mite high to me.
I enjoyed an article by Dr. Elvonne Whitney. She's a Christian and as you may have picked up by the Dr., she's a doctor. As luck would have it, she's an OB/GYN. So chances are she's going to be pro-Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Wouldn't you think?
Otherwise she probably would have become a Christian accountant or a Christian insurance salesperson or a Christian manager at Target.
According to Dr. Whitney's understanding of Christianity and ART, the technologies are only to be used for married couples where one or both partners is infertile/can't carry a pregnancy.
(I admit it. I know a lot of married couples who should probably be told: "So you guys are considering reproducing? Do you think that's such a good idea? You don't get along at all. May want to work on that marriage thing first.")
In the article, Dr. Whitney discusses sperm donation:
The Dr. cites, in the Bible, the Old Testament Levirate rule that if your husband dies, his brother should take over his insemination duties to keep that family's genetic line going.
A terrible rule if your brother-in-law was a jerk. Maybe that's how "sperm donors" did start: "Don't you dare touch me, you loser! Just put it in a cup and leave it over there. I'll figure out what to do with it later."
So if this translates into modern times, and your husband's not dead but his sperm isn't doing too well and he turns to his brother for assistance: It should make for pleasant Thanksgiving dinner conversation:
"Dave, can you pass the potatoes?"
"First it's my sperm now it's the potatoes! Is it never going to end?! What else do you people want from me?!"
Dr. Whitney also addresses the importance of freezing unused embryos so that they can be used for future children of your own or donated to an infertile couple. Of course discarding them is forbidden, since the belief is that the sacred life starts at the very beginning: When an embryo becomes an embryo.
It might be nice if we could re-freeze some of our "embryos" later in life. "Mom, I wrecked the car again. I haven't passed any classes this semester. Oh, and this is my new girlfriend: She was dancing at a club I went to last night with my fake ID."
"Okay, that's enough young man! Back in the freezer and don't come out until you're ready to straighten yourself out! I should have done it when you were ten!"
The article also mentioned the moral dilemma of being pregnant with multiples. You know if you get pregnant naturally and don't want a baby it's called an abortion. If you've gone through IVF, it's called "selective reduction." You get a nice little fancy euphemism for your $15,000.
Listen, I gotta go. I have to pray for spiritual guidance. "Why oh why, Lord, did I take on this topic?" Hopefully the answers will come.
I'l talk with ya again tomorrow.