ivf: how i conceived it is wrong (even though i received the blessing of children)

Hello, my name is Kara and I’m a Boomerang Catholic (my term for a person raised as Catholic, but fell away for a several years, and then finally returned to Catholicism, similar to a boomerang’s path).  Because of the children God blessed my husband, Matt, and I with by In-Vitro Fertilization I came back to God.  This is the story of our path to IVF, my reversion to Catholicism, and how I became aware of the immoral actions behind IVF and the implications it brings to those who undergo it.  If you have a few moments, I hope you read it.  Please approach this with an open heart and mind.

It all began with my husband and I and our battle with infertility.

We received a civil marriage in September of 2006.  Being as misguided and imprudent as I was back then I at least had the sense to marry a man with intelligence, ambition and integrity.  He made up for what I so clearly lacked.  To this day, I am forever grateful that his love for me has never faded despite my faults.  He has entirely prevented my soul from becoming vicious and ugly, and I am eternally grateful.

When we met I was living and fulfilling a sinner’s paradise, despite my Catholic upbringing, but I was in denial, and what did it matter since I was having fun?  In my mind, the Catholic church remained stuck in an ancient time zone that needed to conform to our modern ways.  Now, I see that my parents divorce, which occurred while I was in high school, my college environment of debauchery, and my father’s death after college was the perfect cocktail for my low viewpoint on Catholicism or any religion for that matter, but I did not see it then.  My analysis, being filled with so much intellect and wisdom, was ‘Who is to say who is right when it comes to religion?’, therefore, I don’t believe in organized religion.  In other words,‘God doesn’t pick sides, so why should I?’ and ‘God will love me no matter what I do, so I can do whatever I want.’ My actions reflected my lackadaisical perspective of God.  I was a heathen through and through.  I suppose when Matt was dating me he thought the good in me outweighed the bad, but he was far from right. I didn’t deserve his love, but I am doing my best to make up for my former monstrous behavior.  I pray that he is certain that I love him more than my life and with my whole heart.  I need him to know that.

We were one of those couples who weren’t open to the possibility of receiving God’s gift of children until we had our fun first.  During our first 6 years of marriage, we traveled and wined and dined until our hearts were content. When we decided that the fun needed to end, we attempted to conceive children for over a year with no luck.  I recognized that I was the culprit of the infertility and not my husband because I was never able to menstruate normally.  In fact, I did not have a cycle at all.  Together, we were inconceivable, and desperate for the blessing of our own child.

Matt and I discussed adoption, but according to him that was out of the question until we exhausted all of our resources.  We even went so far as to appease our struggle with a holistic method.  It had worked on Matt’s mother when she fought cancer many years ago, which peaked our interest, especially with the vastly lower price tag compared to fertility treatments.  During a trip to visit Matt’s family in Montana we met with a woman who used a holistic healing machine.  We each sat hooked up to this machine by wires attached to different parts of our bodies.  Supposedly, it detected areas of stress in the body and reduced that stress, which would in turn cure the problem.  Needless to say, it did not work.  The only other resource for infertility that I knew of then were through hormonal fertility treatments.  In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was not on our radar then.  We knew little of it, and never imagined we would consider doing it.

Our acquaintance with a married couple who battled infertility as well brought us to our familiarity with IVF, which led us to our next undertaking. They had been through many fertility treatments with no success, where they finally moved on to IVF.  For those who are not familiar with this method of treatment it is unscientifically summed up as follows: A woman takes hormone injections to make her eggs become mature, when many of them are mature a doctor takes them out, while her husband provides sperm.  The doctors unite the sperm and eggs in petri dishes, the eggs become fertilized and then form embryos (an embryo is one of the beginning development stages of a human being).  They continue to grow in the petri dishes for 5 days, but because of genetic flaws or, I dare say, God, some embryos survive and some don’t.  The ones that do survive are either prepared for implantation in the woman to continue growing in her womb or they are frozen.  In this case, I believe this couple had two embryos survive.  They implanted one with the result of a pregnancy and the other was frozen for later implantation.  Because of their success with IVF and other positive outcomes I had researched my husband and I decided to give these fertility treatments a try.

First, we made an attempt with a hormone pill called Clomid.  This pill provided the growth and maturity of a woman’s eggs, so they would drop.  In my instance, my eggs matured and never dropped which led them to become cystic and possibly rupturing.  We only tried Clomid once and then moved to hormone injections, which worked in the sense that my eggs finally dropped, but we did not become pregnant when my husband and I tried to conceive through intercourse.  We also only tried this method once.   Because we were quite anxious to have a baby we now perceived IVF as our only option to fulfill our longing need for a child.  I hadn’t researched the horrible implications of IVF nor did I know that it was immoral.  We thought that creating life was a good thing, but we never imagined we were destroying life to create it, so we agreed to move on and go ahead with IVF.

Our In Vitro Fertilization phase began by going through hormone therapy again to achieve controlled ovarian hyper-stimulation, which matured many of my eggs (21 were viably mature) for ovulation, and their extraction occurred just before they would have dropped in a normal cycle. After extracted, the embryologist fertilized my eggs with my husband’s sperm and we waited to find out the number of created embryos.  In our case, we created 14 embryos (that is 14 children) out of the 21 eggs, but only 6 embryos survived until day 5.  Out of the 6 embryos, the embryo that was most qualified, according to an embryonic grading system, was the choice for implantation, and the other 5 were cryopreserved, in other words, frozen (3 were frozen at day 5, and 2 were frozen at day 6).

Just to take you out of the past for a moment, I need to clarify this synopsis.  Yes, these embryos are children and yes they are frozen.  You may or may not already know that this is what happens to the ‘leftover’ embryos created by IVF.  They are essentially babies suspended in time, waiting to thaw and continue their life.  When my husband and I read and signed the paperwork required to undergo IVF, we became a bit creeped out by the fact that our children could be frozen for up to 50 years!  50 years?  We thought about it and very eerily deciphered that it would be possible (and yes completely unethical, but what does that matter since we are acting as our own gods and creating children in a petri-dish) for our grandchildren to have our children.  My granddaughter could give birth to her aunt or uncle!  As I write this it sounds like an inconceivable (that was intentional) plot designed for a sci-fi film, but this is happening now! It’s happening at a ‘fertility’ clinic down the road from you!  Now, why didn’t I listen to my conscience then?  The mere fact that Matt and I felt creeped out by this was a giant red-flag that this was unbelievably wrong, but why didn’t we stop ourselves from doing this?  I will explain why at the end of this sci-fi story.  For now, read on.

At this particular clinic, with every first trial of IVF the doctor will only implant one embryo, and a maximum of two embryos for the following trial, if the first was not successful.  We implanted the winning embryo and waited the absolute slowest 9 days for a pregnancy test.  My HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) levels came back within range of pregnancy levels, so we scheduled another pregnancy test in a few days.  The next test did not result in positive news.  My HCG levels remained the same, which meant that I was in the stage of a chemical pregnancy, in other terms, a very early miscarriage.  We were heartbroken.  The doctor reassured me that this was of no fault of mine, and that the embryo wasn’t genetically viable for becoming a baby, but I couldn’t comprehend that scenario.  I kept thinking that something was terribly wrong with me and I even my womanhood.  Why can’t I have a baby?  Why did I have this problem with my body?  The answers could only be provided by God, but I never asked Him back then.

We postponed our next round of IVF for a few months.  The holiday season was upon us and I didn’t want to go through heartbreak again during this supposedly joyful time of the year.  Inside I was a mess, but knowing we had more embryos, more possible children, pulled me through and I painted on a fake smirk.

February came and we began hormone therapy again. Yay….  This time we needn’t as many hormones, just progesterone because we were undertaking a frozen embryo transfer and hyper ovarian stimulation wasn’t necessary.  My obligation was to prepare my body for pregnancy and progesterone shots were not a pleasantry.  The tiny needles used for my earlier hormone therapy was a cake-walk compared to the quite intimidating needles used for progesterone. Not only were these shots taken alternately between each buttock cheek, but I had to prepare the shot area with ice beforehand, then massage and place a heating pad on it after, so I would not obtain a giant knot on my bum.  Yay again….

Subsequently, roughly two weeks later we implanted two of the five embryos that were in cryopreservation.  Our first pregnancy came back with positive results, but I wasn’t getting over-joyed just yet.  The second test was also good news, but I was still reluctant to celebrate.  After the results of the third test came back affirmative, I then began to turn that fake smirk into a real one.

The following evaluation was a sonogram that would show us if both embryos had survived the implantation.  I was around 6 weeks pregnant and I truly thought that only one embryo was alive in my womb, but that was just one of many times I turned out wrong.  God has a sense of humor and we were part of His joke.  We were having twins!

At our succeeding sonogram, around 8 weeks pregnant, we heard their heartbeats.

At roughly 16 weeks we identified their sexes via sonogram.  A boy and a girl!

They were born a month and a day early on October 9, 2013, and spent a little stint in the NICU, but all was well when we had them home.

During the twins’ first year and into their second Matt and I played tug-o-war with going to church on account of raising them up with morals and values.  We knew that religion was a vital role in teaching our children good character, compassion, and dignity.  My ‘no organized religion’ philosophy flew out the window because now my children’s souls were at stake.  They needed a baptism.

Matt had no religious upbringing nor had he been baptized.  In my eyes, with my background in Catholicism, baptism in the Catholic Church was fundamental, so I began to do some much-needed ‘freshening up’ on the Catholic teachings.  It was during this research that I discovered the Catholic Church viewed IVF as a mortal sin.  Say what?  Yes, a mortal sin.  I could not comprehend it. I naïvely believed that because IVF creates life it could never be viewed as immoral.  What is this madness? I never dreamed that what we did was wrong.  Were we all condemned to Hell because of this?  Could my children even be baptized in the Catholic Church?  I was frantic.  I wanted to understand the Church’s perspective, but I could hardly grasp her belief intellectually, and that was where I went wrong. I was trying to make sense of it by what I had surrounded most of my adult life in, which was sin.  I couldn’t see that IVF was wrong because I didn’t believe that anything else I did wasn’t really all that bad.  I had absolutely no discipline. I was acting as my own god.

Thank goodness the true God does not hold a grudge against the children of their sinful parents. He views all children as a blessing despite the immoral act behind their conception, so we held a baptism in the Catholic Church when they were 5 months old.

At this time, even though we had them baptized, I did not attend Mass regularly.  I was spiritually lazy or a better word might be comatose.  I also had a few opposing views with the church pertaining to homosexuality, celibate priests, and most of all, confession. I have gay friends whom I enjoy and care for; why can’t they be happy and get married to someone they love?  Why can’t priests marry?  They are men and men have sexual desires that they anticipate, otherwise they might start preying on little boys or girls?  Why on earth do I need to divulge my deepest darkest sins to a complete stranger to pursue forgiveness by God?  Doesn’t God know that I’m sorry for my sins?  Do these questions sound familiar?  Are you asking them as well?  All of my questioning emerged as a result of my perception of the church, which was solely based on secular culture media, and not from Catholicism itself.  All that I had learned or thought I learned from my Catholic upbringing I pushed aside in my mind and forgotten. My awareness had become ankle-deep.  I was ignorant and I never took the time to research and discover the purpose behind these views, as do so many people today.  Bishop Fulton Sheen sums it up precisely when he said,

“There are not over a hundred people in the U.S. that hate the Catholic Church, there are millions however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church–which is, of course, quite a different thing.”[1]

What I perceived as truth was a complete and total lie, but my diametric ideology of Catholicism wouldn’t be debunked for several more months.

I was so concerned about teaching our children good moral character that I never stopped to think of my own.  It wasn’t until my sister’s second child was upcoming baptism that I began to judge my own actions, or lack there of, and how they were completely contradictory to the way I wanted to raise our children.  Why did it take my niece’s baptism to finally wake up?  Embarrassment and hypocrisy.  I was a Godmother to my sister’s first little girl and the church that baptized her did not require confirmation for both godparents.   I was able to skirt by that issue.  My sister and her family moved to San Diego after my niece’s birth and their new church required confirmed Godparents.  Although, my sister chose my other sister as the Godmother, it caused me embarrassment because I hadn’t been confirmed.  I knew that both of my sisters were going through with confirmation and, as their older sister, shame washed over me due to not already been confirmed.  I also contemplated what kind of role model I was to my children, godchild and even my sisters when I made no attempt at Catholicism.  Was I a ‘good’ role model?  Was I even a ‘good’ mother?  In my eyes, being ‘good’ is composed of a person with dignity, integrity, modesty, and honesty. Was I any of those qualities?  Based on my actions in the past, definitely not.  At least I was smart enough to comprehend that unless I first adjusted my spiritual life I knew that I would never be worthy of the title of ‘good’ anything.  The ‘good’ was non-existent, and I expected my children and sisters to aspire goodness. My greatest affliction is hypocrisy, but it dawned on me that I was partaking in it.  I wanted and needed to change for the benefit of my children.  Immediately, I called up our church and scheduled myself to go through confirmation that spring.  Maybe I would learn the foundation of being ‘good’ along the way.

I only had to attend two classes before confirmation, but those two classes gave me the jolt to find the ‘good’ I was searching for.  It had everything to do with my instructor.  I could see the joy that radiated from her when she spoke of God and I could sense her closeness to Him.  Those ‘type’ of people had always been a mystery to me. I could never comprehend their passion for Christ, but little did I know that I was about to receive that same passion by means that I hardly expected….by Confession.

Our class instructions were to go to confession to achieve a state of grace before receiving the Holy Spirit, in other words, we needed forgiveness and do penance for our mortal sins prior to being confirmed.  I was aghast.  I hadn’t partaken in the Sacrament of Reconciliation since I was in catholic school, which was well over 25 years ago.  My mind began to re-enact every single inconceivable sin I remembered committing.  It was an awful recollection.  I had violated God’s commandments in ways that would be a breeding ground for a reality tv show.  The Real Housewives would at least be proud.  Complete terror fell over me.  I had an image of the scene in ‘A League of Their Own’ when Madonna’s character leaves the confessional after the priest dropped his bible because of her confession, he then had to take a peek at the person who achieved such atrocity.  Would the priest do that with me?  Our instructor reassured us that every priest has heard it all when it comes to confession, and he took a vow to never speak of anyone’s confession to anyone else.  That did little to ease my nerves.  I dreaded this horrible task.  Although, I knew that I had to do it if I wanted a ‘clean soul’ and mine needed a deep, deep clean.  I was long overdue for a power wash and then a good scrub on all fours with a toothbrush to remove the grime in every little crevice.

The day had finally arrived to confess my sins.  Matt’s family was in town and I had to leave the fun of their visit to go do something that is worse than using an outhouse during the month of August in Texas! I arrived at the church and, to my surprise, I waited in a long line for confession.  I didn’t know anyone who went to confession, so I assumed I would be the only one in line.  I was glad to know that I wasn’t alone in the need for forgiveness, but that showed how truly ignorant I was about this wonderful Sacrament.  During my wait period, I did an ‘Examination of Conscience’ or basically made a long list of sins committed, which I was still adding to as I recollected my past.  The line crept closer and closer to the confessional door and my list was shaking in my hands.  What was my possible penance?  Probably a lifetime of Hail Mary’s and polishing the pews for a year.  Could a priest make me do that?  I didn’t know what to expect.  I was up.  I walked in and kneeled behind the screen.  There was no way I was going to sit in front of the priest and show my face while admitting my monstrosities.

I began my confession with the common line ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned’ and at that moment I could feel the presence of God.  His majestic aura induced a digging in deepest part of my soul of all my ugly sins that I had kept buried for far too long, and I shoved them out one by one to His exemplar, the priest. I soon realized that holding in these sins had built up this false wall of justification.  Every horrible, monstrous act I had committed had slowly become less and less dire because I only used myself to judge the severity of my sins.  Releasing it all out in the open stripped me to full nakedness in front of God, revealing everything.  I then visualized the massive impact and heartache I had caused others and to God, and it made me weep.   A weep so strong and forceful it was as if I lost my father all over again and I hadn’t the will to let go.  But that emotion was overcome with the gentle touch of mercy that caressed my shoulder, wiped my tears away, and held my hand in which it led me far away from that pit of shame I had stewed in.  I no longer smelled of rot.  I received restoration by an atonement from God and I savored in the radiance from His grace.

When I ended my confession I looked like a mess on the outside, but on the inside I was at peace.  The priest’s response to my involvement with IVF was that he wanted my husband and I to meet with him later to discuss our situation in further detail.  As for my penance?  He told me to tear up the list and pray for all the good I had done in the past.  What?  I got off that easily?  I couldn’t believe it!  I felt awe-stricken, least of all because of my unwarranted penance.  It was in light of the weight of my past having finally been lifted from my shoulders and recognizing that Jesus was the only one who was able to do it.  That guilt of IVF and a host of other sins I had carried was gone!  I had not realized the weight of it until then.  My transformation began.

Soon after my confession I received confirmation along with the Holy Spirit.  I believe it is the reason for my contemplation from then to now. I concluded that in the past, I hadn’t tried that hard to genuinely discover God. My lack of discipline and my selfishness blinded me from His love. I was quite unworthy of a friendship with Him. When I finally understood that I had to surrender myself to Him and communicate with Him regularly (as you would to a dear friend here on earth), I immediately began to see Him and His inconceivable mercy as I had never before.  Consequently, I had a hunger to know more, to understand our Heavenly Father more deeply, to love Jesus Christ more intensely, and a prolific desire to please God, instead of adding to His disappointment.

Since then, I have exhaustively increased my knowledge on the Catholic Church and her teachings, especially toward IVF.  I have read countless books and articles on Confession (my new favorite sacrament, which I now practice every month), the Mass, the Eucharist, Catholic doctrine, scripture, Holy Matrimony (my husband and I will be completing our convalidation in the near future and will be further reflected upon in upcoming blogs), the Saints, and especially the Pro-Life movement and the Immorality of IVF.

Among all of this research, I came to a revelation that the Catholic Church makes complete sense to me.  She is a church that is entirely perfect and true in this imperfect and dishonest world.  She still practices the same teachings that her founder, Jesus Christ, preached to his apostles 2000 years ago.  She holds the proof of the interrelation between faith and science, as is so cleverly portrayed in the writings of my patron saint,  Saint Thomas Aquinas.   And she obtains an ecology that holds the highest regard for human life.  None of my previous questions pertaining to the church went unanswered and every answer had a reasoning so crystal clear that I felt foolish for not seeing it that way all along.  With each unveiling, holiness and virtuosity appeared more and more attractive to me and I sensed to achieve them I must follow and live as a Catholic in the most absolute way.  It could not be just a phase.  My attitude, my manner, my style, my life, my path for eternity must convert to Catholicism.

Also during this time, Matt and I did meet with our Pastor to discuss our situation.  He explained that the preeminent logic behind the severity of IVF is that we, as husband and wife, are not procreative by means of natural law, in other words, we skipped over the marital act to receive the gift of children.  We weren’t involved in the “human act by which the partners mutually give [ourselves] to each other”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1627)  We didn’t take part in “this consent that binds the spouses to each other [to] find its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh”’(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1627).  This is further and brilliantly illustrated by Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph. D who earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did postdoctoral work at Harvard.  He wrote the following about IVF:

“It substitutes an act of laboratory manipulation for an act of bodily union between spouses. It turns procreation into production. IVF is really the flip-side of contraception: rather than trying to have sex without babies, we try to have babies without sex.”[2]

As I once thought and what most of our culture currently believes is that creating babies without sex is no big deal.  But why?  Why have we, as a society, become so lax about the marital act of sex in which we are given the gift of children?  Father Tad says:

“Because many Americans have come to view sex largely in terms of recreation, ignoring its procreative orientation, they have lost touch with the grave violations that occur both in contraceptive sex and in making babies in test tubes.”[3]

Let me repeat the most profound line.  We “have come to view sex largely in terms of recreation.”  The soaring rate of divorce and infidelity, the abundant use of contraception, and the legality of abortion has dampened our understanding of the true meaning of sex and has caused us to view it as merely recreational.  As a fun thing to do.  As ‘it feels good and I like doing it, so I’ll do it when I want and with whomever I like.’  This is not what God intended.  He gave us the pleasure from it, not to have sex with anyone we want at anytime we want, but as a reward to us when we choose our eternal spouse.  When we receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony with that person and give ourselves completely to each other in conjugal love, through body and soul, and the ‘two become one flesh’.  That ‘one flesh’ is the melding of our bodies, our puzzle pieces fitting together, our lives that are now unified and have become one body under Christ, and it is the gift of a child that we may receive from the marital act of love.  We have lost all concept of this and it is only one reason IVF did not seem immoral to me and much of society, but it is the basis for all the other reasons.

Dr. Jose Simon Castellvi, the president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) said:

“As Catholic doctors we recognize the pain that infertility brings to a couple, but equally we believe that the research and treatment methods needed to solve the problems of infertility have to be conducted within an ethical framework which respects the special dignity of the human embryo, which is no different from that of a mature adult with a brilliant mind.”[4]

So how can an embryo be no different from an adult when it is definitely smaller in size, has no brain, no heart, no limbs, no genitalia and no nervous system?  These are all very obvious physical differences based on “judging humanity on everyday appearances”[5] or rather how we perceive humans to look outside of the womb, but we tend to forget that the embryo has not grown into these physical differences yet.  Randy Alcorn says, in his book Why Pro-Life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers:

“In fact, she looks just like a human being ought to look at her stage of development.”[6]

Additionally, what Jose Simon Castellvi means is that these differences are already pre-determined in that embryo with the human DNA that he or she was given at conception, when the egg obtained fertilization by the sperm.  In his book, Randy Alcorn also points out:

“The newly fertilized egg contains a staggering amount of genetic information, sufficient to control the individual’s growth and development for his entire lifetime.”[7]

The term embryo is a developmental stage in a human being’s lifespan just as newborn, toddler, child, teen and adult are, and the only real difference between an embryo and an adult is the environment, which is in the womb vs outside of the womb.  Now, are we any less human inside of a house vs outside of a house? Of course not.  So why do we think that an unborn child, especially at her earliest stage of development, has less of a right to life than a born child?  Why do we create her like she is a manufactured good and later freeze her for later use as we would a popsicle?

This leads me to our next quandary, which is what does the future hold for these ‘leftover’ frozen embryos?  We already know the process of IVF and that it produces embryos which are either implanted immediately or frozen (cryopreserved) for later use.  But what if the couple does not want to have a later use for their embryos?  What if they received their quota of children and don’t want anymore, therefore, they won’t be using their ‘leftover’ embryos?  This was the dilemma that Matt and I struggled with after the twins were born, and I know it is the same dilemma that many people who’ve undergone IVF face today.

We were left with several choices.  We could destroy them (that was out of the question), give them up for scientific experimentation (also out of the question), donate them to another couple or person (the thought of our own flesh and blood being raised by someone else was unpleasant) or we could freeze them indefinitely and forget about them (that seemed just as dire as destroying them), which is the fate that most of these unwanted embryos are in at this moment.   In fact, according to the New York Times, the number of embryos frozen “in 2011 estimated 612,000. Now, many reproductive endocrinologists say, the total may be about a million.”[8]  Because of abortion and the rapid incline in the use of IVF most of society now views these embryos “as experimental animals destined for destruction.”[9]  Dr. Jose Simon Castellvi goes on to say:

“This use has led to a culture where (embryos) are regarded as commodities, rather than the precious human individuals which they are.”[10]

But we must stop this regard!  We live in a culture that puts animals on a higher pedestal that human beings.  People are intolerant of animal cruelty or even just recently, have become outraged over a lion being wrongly killed in Africa.  Where is the outrage and intolerance over the tiniest of human beings being wrongly killed right here in America?  Where is the outrage over all of these embryos that harbor the same treatment as manufactured food left frozen indefinitely or discarded with not the slightest remorse?

Today, we must begin to see an unborn baby, even at her earliest developmental stage, as “a human being [that] is the only creature on earth made by God for his or her own sake, and must never be treated as a means to an end. An embryo is not a “doggie in the window” … and is not “for sale.” An embryo is not a ‘product’ or an ‘asset’ that can be accepted or rejected, bought or sold. An embryo may not be ‘returned to the maker’ by abortion. An embryo may not be used for experimental purposes, however laudable.”[11]

Deep down Matt and I knew what the right choice was, but we couldn’t imagine having more children when they were already a lot to handle, and we were quite happy with just two.  Before I boomeranged back to Catholicism we spoke with our embryologist, the doctor who conceived our twins in a petri-dish, concerning the three embryos we had left to implant, and we were actually relieved to hear that based on statistics we would most likely only receive one child out of the three embryos.  Looking back on that day, I can hardly believe how we reacted so callously, so inhumanely, so cold about the lives of these three children we had left, suspended in time, waiting to grow in my womb, to be born and to be loved by us.  Jose Simon Castellvi also said:

“Although IVF has brought happiness to the many couples who have conceived through this process, it has done so at an enormous cost. That cost is the undermining of the dignity of the human person.”[12]

That is exactly what we were doing and what we had done to our children.  We were undermining the dignity of them.

Now, I am so grateful that Matt and I determined, that we must give all three of our children a chance at continuing their lives, which was also agreed upon with our Pastor.  We were the adults who created them unethically and it was of no fault of theirs, so we need to give them their ‘unalienable’ right to life.  They deserve it as much as we do, and probably even more after our behavior.  The possibility of five children on the horizon makes me (maybe not Matt) smile now because I know that God’s grace is infinitely more than all the complexity that he gives us.

In the end, the guilt of IVF dissipated, but it did not lift the burden of what I had done.  It will forever leave a stain no matter how hard I scrub to clean it up.  Matt and I acted like our own gods when we made the choice to go through IVF.  Then we treated our children that we created as commodities and nothing more than a piece of trash.  Now, our remaining three children currently endure the fate of limbo.  We hope to change that soon.  And what about the 9 out of the 14 children that we created and didn’t survive?  We have gone about our daily lives not thinking of them as our own, but they did in fact become our children the day of their conception.  I pray that I will meet them in Heaven.

Another struggle I am dealing with is how am I going to tell my children about this?  Do I tell them at all?  If I do, what will it do to them?  I don’t know the answer to that at this moment, but I am going to pray hard about it and I know God will show me the answer.  This is my cross to bear.  I am writing my story, so others will not have to carry this same cross, but mostly to decrease and hopefully one day stop the killing and freezing of our unborn children.

A question I hear rather frequently is ‘Why did God give you, or any couple who undergoes IVF, the gift of children if it is immoral?’  Well, why does God give the gift of children to victims of rape or incest or more commonly couples who partake in pre-marital sex?  These are all acts against God’s commandments, but yet children are still conceived by them.  Another question I ponder is ‘Why does God give children to those who don’t want them and then allows them to abort their babies?’  But the better question is ‘Why does God give any one of us reprehensible, shameful, imperfect people the gift of life?  Because He deeply loves us and He wants us to believe and love Him back with our own free will, without force or bribery.  Is the gift of children a bribe?  Of course not.  Not everyone who does IVF receives the blessing of children and those who do, most likely do not see it as wrong or against God’s law or they may not even believe in God.  What I do know is this.  God gave Matt and I our gift of children to wake me the heck up and to make good out of our IVF situation.  I thank Him every single day for giving us our children.  He knew my stubbornness and what it would take for me to come back to Him, to the Catholic Church, and to confession.  And confession is the most profound proof that God truly does have inconceivable mercy.

Today, begins our next chapter with IVF.  We start our third trial sometime this month and I plan to give updates along the way, while also writing more about Pro-Life topics, especially pertaining to IVF.  I’ll even go so far as to say that IVF does not truly cure infertility.  It’s merely a Band-Aid approach to the problem itself.  It skips over the complication without permanently finding a solution, meanwhile disregarding the sanctity of human life.  I will also speak of Natural Family Planning that is an alternative to contraception and NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology), which “is a new women’s health science that monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive and gynecological health. It provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system.”[13]  Additionally, it is safe, cost effective, morally sound and approved by the Catholic Church.  I’m very new to this discovery, so I am still researching the logistics behind NaProTechnology, but I pray this God-approved path gives the many couples who struggle with infertility peace of mind.

*Side Note:  I know that some people who read this may become upset or even furious, especially those who have been through IVF and feel that they have not taken part in an immoral action.  Please know that I’m not writing this to anger you.  I write this to save the lives of our children despite their development stage in life, to treat them with the dignity that they deserve as human beings, and to tell you what I recognize as right and wrong, which is so hard to decipher in the world we live in today, when what once was immoral is now accepted as moral.  In the eyes of God, what other people think does not matter and they will not be my judge when my life ends on earth.  Only God will and He has shown me that IVF is unethical and a mortal sin.  As a mere human being, I will not argue with Him on anything pertaining to ethics or the Catholic Church.  I’ve forsaken Him countless times in the past and I’m doing my best not to repeat it. If you take offense to what I have written then I suggest you pray about it, however, if I write something that is factually wrong then please let me know for I do not want to give you false information.


  1. Sheen, Monsignor Fulton J., Ph.D., D.D., L.L.D. Foreword. Radio Replies Vol. 1. Radio Replies. Web. 1938.
  1. Pacholczyk, Fr. Tadeusz, Ph.D. “Babies In Test Tubes.” – The National Catholic Bioethics Center. The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 1 Dec. 2005. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.
  1. Pacholczyk, Fr. Tadeusz, Ph.D. “Babies In Test Tubes.” – The National Catholic Bioethics Center. The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 1 Dec. 2005. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.
  1. Glatz/National Catholic News, Carol. “IVF Opened ‘wrong Door’ to Treat Infertility: Vatican Official.” National Catholic Reporter. The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.
  1. Alcorn, Randy C., and Randy C. Alcorn. “Are the Unborn Really Human Beings?/Complex and Human.” Why Pro-life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2012. 31. Print.
  1. Alcorn, Randy C., and Randy C. Alcorn. “Are the Unborn Really Human Beings?/Complex and Human.” Why Pro-life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2012. 31. Print.
  1. Alcorn, Randy C., and Randy C. Alcorn. “Are the Unborn Really Human Beings?/Complex and Human.” Why Pro-life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2012. 30. Print.
  1. Lewin, Tamar. “Industry’s Growth Leads to Leftover Embryos, and Painful Choices.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 June 2015. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.
  1. Glatz/National Catholic News, Carol. “IVF Opened ‘wrong Door’ to Treat Infertility: Vatican Official.” National Catholic Reporter. The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.
  1. Glatz/National Catholic News, Carol. “IVF Opened ‘wrong Door’ to Treat Infertility: Vatican Official.” National Catholic Reporter. The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.
  1. Shea, John B., MD. “The Immorality of In Vitro Fertilization.” LifeTree. John B. Shea, MD, 29 Jan. 2007. Web. 01 Aug. 2015.
  1. Glatz/National Catholic News, Carol. “IVF Opened ‘wrong Door’ to Treat Infertility: Vatican Official.” National Catholic Reporter. The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.
  1. “NaProTECHNOLOGY — A Major Breakthrough In Monitoring and Maintaining a Woman’s Reproductive and Gynecological Health.” NaProTECHNOLOGY. Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, n.d. Web. 05 Aug. 2015. <http://www.naprotechnology.com/&gt;.
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6 thoughts on “ivf: how i conceived it is wrong (even though i received the blessing of children)

  1. Thanks for sharing, Kara. I am sure that was not easy to publish for all to read and form opinions. I’m happy that you have returned to the Catholic church. I have thought of you often after our SH Reunion (5 or so yrs ago). I am glad you are well. Look us up some time. We still live in the DFW area.
    Fondly,
    Nancy

    Like

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