Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is IVF wrong?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. "In vitro" comes from Latin and literally means "within the glass". As the term suggests, fertilization i.e. conception takes places in a petri dish as opposed to "in vivo" (Lat: "within the living"). Babies conceived this way are sometimes referred to as "test tube babies".

The process basically involves this:

(1) The mother's ovaries are stimulated through hormone injections to release more than one egg per cycle.

(2) The eggs (approx. 20-30) are surgically extracted, prepared by stripping the outer cell membrane, placed in a dish, and adequately stored until the father's "sample" is obtained.

(3) The father is given a containter and sent to a discreet room at the clinic (equipped with the corresponding "toys") in order to provide the necessary seed. Alternatively, single women and lesbians with fertility problems use frozen samples from a male donor.

(4) The IVF specialist doctors up the contents of Dad's dish before dumping them onto the contents of Mom's dish, and the majority of eggs are fertilized.

(5) The babies are left to develop in the dish for several days while being observed. Some grow at a normal rate, some grow slower than expected, and some "arrest in growth" - a euphemism for dying.

(6) Only the embryos growing at a normal, healthy rate will be considered for transfer to the mother's womb. This may be anywhere from a couple of babies to a dozen or more. Most people will end up with 4 to 6 "viable" embryos. Of course, in almost all cases no more than 2 or 3 babies are implanted for fear of becoming pregnant with multiples.

(7) Overall success rate is about 27% per cycle, meaning that the mother only has a one out of four chance that any baby will actually "catch on", grow, and be born, while the rest die. Unused embryos can be discarded or stored in liquid nitrogen for as long as the parents wish (for another IVF attempt or another pregnancy later on).

The question is: Is this procedure morally right? Just because it is technically and scientifically possible, should Christians be participating in it?

My answer is a vehement, resounding NO! Oh, that's that word that our ungodly society doesn't like to hear any more. They like to think that they can do whatever they want to do, and nobody will tell them otherwise - especially not God. The reasons why I feel this way? Read on:

- Murder: Intentionally subjecting your child to a situation in which he only has an extremely thin chance of survival is murder. If I were to load a revolver tonight, load it with 4 out of 6 bullets, spin the barrel and then fire one shot at each of our four children, what would be their chances of survival? For sure, at least two would die, but probably three would. In this example, there is a 33% chance of one child surviving - for IVF, it's 27%. Would I be arrested if I did this? Would it be considered intentional murder since I purposefully loaded less "blanks" than I needed for all children to survive? Could I rightfully say: "Well, God decides who is going to live and who is going to die!"? I am well aware of the fact that miscarriages occur naturally, and I have had a couple myself. But that still only means that I have lost 2 out of 6 children. Compare that to the 1 in 4 chance that at least one of the 20 or so babies that are conceived will survive. If God decides to kill one of my children, does that mean I can kill as many as I like?

- Perversion: If you don't find the above procedure revolting and disgusting there is something seriously wrong with you. And what's up with involving a third party in the procreation process? So the doctor is impregnating the wife of another man?

- Playing God: This is revolutionary: If people don't get pregnant, it's because God doesn't want them to have a child. Am I saying that infertile couples are bad parents? No, not at all! Some of the nicest people I know are still praying for a child. God may have other reasons that we cannot understand. But I do think that ALL parents having children by way of IVF are bad parents (see points above), and that their children would have been better off if they were never born because their parents are twisted and will expose them to who knows what.

My personal experience in meeting IVF parents and children is limited because all of our friends are obviously devoted Christians. But the parents I did meet were more or less ridiculous, and seemed completely incompetent and overwhelmed. I have also doubted the paternity of some of these children, partly due to one of the parents compulsively pointing out similarities to the supposed Dad way more than normal parents would. I am not saying hat mix ups are common, but they certainly must occur sometime, somewhere. So maybe it's just a subliminal fear in the back of their mind that makes them so bent on proving that Dad is in fact the biological father. Not a chance I want to take!

In spite of all this, many Christians are ignorant of the IVF process. They may condone it because they don't know the facts, and are afraid to look into it because someone they love has committed IVF. I have heard of pastors condoning the process, either motivated by money or influence.

So I was all the more surprised by this article that a friend of mine sent me :


Albert Mohler: All involved with IVF responsible for "human tragedy"

A leader of the evangelical movement in the United States recently came down hard on the effects of in vitro fertilization on his blog, decrying the destruction of millions of embryos for the sake of IVF, reports John Connolly,

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the primary school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world, called the destruction of embryos in IVF a tragedy, after reading a report in the London Times that over one million human embryos have been killed in IVF procedures.

"Human embryos are being produced, almost factory-like, and then routinely destroyed or indefinitely frozen," he observed. "This phenomenon might be described as an unintended complication of the IVF technology. Nevertheless, all involved in this technology are responsible for this vast human tragedy, intended or not."

"Far too many evangelicals seem to turn a blind eye to this reality," he continued. "While we celebrate the birth of a child and the gift of life, we cannot blind ourselves to the harsh and grotesque reality that this technology also means the destruction of human life. Many evangelicals fail to see what many proponents of human embryonic stem cell research have noted - a glaring inconsistency in condemning the destruction of human embryos through stem cell research, while ignoring or dismissing the destruction of embryos in IVF clinics."

Dr. Mohler has been recognized by such influential publications as Time and Christianity Today as a leader among American evangelicals. called him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S."

Mohler hosts a daily live nationwide radio program on the Salem Radio Network., and is a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. He has served in several offices, including a term as Chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions, which is responsible for the denomination's official statements on moral and doctrinal issues.


What's the point of this all? Next time a lady tells you she is trying to get pregnant and considering IVF, please explain this process to her and advise her not to do it.

To hear a sermon on this subject, please click here.

For more written information, please visit this site.

"And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." - Psalm 106:15

"Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity." - Deuteronomy 28:41

"Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,
That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?" - Ezekiel 16:20, 21

"Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood." - Psalm 106:37, 38


  1. Interesting topic indeed. One of my dear friend who is a Christian had 2 children in a previous marriage successfully (she left her first husband because he beat her terrible on a regular basis). When she remarried they so badly wanted more children. She at the time was in her mid-30's. She was having difficulty and after some time decided to do the IVF. At that time which was nearly 10 years ago I had no idea what IVF was and didn't think anything of it. Later as I got educated during my own stuggle with getting pregnant I have to say I was disturbed by how exactly it was done (as you clearly defined in your post).

    She had a beautiful son and later on her own had a daughter both thank God are healthy happy children.

    I myself miscarried over 5 times in the past 10 years but after testing found out my progesterone levels were so low that the baby just wasn't holding on. I simply had to take progesterone in the first few weeks so keep the pregnancy. My first I had to take clomid do to the number of miscarriages my second happened with no complication yet I did have to take the progestone.

    With all that said, I do believe that it is in Gods hands if you are able to have children or not and many are not meant to have children. Such as my sister who is 10 years older then I am who has never married so she has no children. I think it's tough for people in that situation who find themselves so desperately wanting to bring a child into their lives yet are unable. I feel for them because even though I've had issues I have been able to get pregnant thank God.

    I have another dear friend who has been trying for a few years and has not been getting pregnant. Finally when she did she lost the baby early on. I know she is going to a fertility specialist but I have yet to discuss the details on what they are doing. I feel that even though I have a certain feeling about IVF I just can't bring myself to saying something to someone about it. I know how emotional people get when they are trying to have children and I would not want to be the one to shoot down their efforts since I am not in their shoes.

    It's very controversial topic and understandably so. My opinion much of the infertility that people suffer from can be linked to other issues such as age, lifestyle, stress, and health. Many women these days tend to pursue a career first marry later in life which then they have children much later in their lives. Women wonder why they have to go to such extremes but many issues can contribute to a body rejecting a pregnancy.

    My two friends had been well in their mid-30's and it's a time that for many the body starts to change and pregnancy can become more complex. If more women married earlier and had children earlier maybe many of these interventions could be tossed out.

    Science isn't always the answer. Also we should ask ourselves this, is it normal for a women to have 8 kids at one time? That has to be tough on the body.

    God Bless,


  2. Hi, Thank you Zsuzsanna for revealing the truth about IVF. It's a subject most people don't know about. I know first hand because I was referred by my doctor to have it done, not understanding the process.

    When my husband and I went to the specialist, he didn't even flinch when he told us the procedure. They make a lot of babies and basically whatever children make it make it. If more than 2-3 survive, they are frozen. It's like a horror story. We just stared at him in disbelief. He acted like we were the ones who were crazy. To be in the office of people who do this and have no feeling about it is very eery. We just wanted to get out of there. They discuss the procedure and cost like you're buying a new car. Added accesories like having your children frozen to use later are an additional cost otherwise they throw them out (I'm saying this sarcastically). Can you believe this talk?! Zsuzsanna is right on. My husband and I left the office with tears in our eyes and feeling totally gutted just imagining the many people that do go through with the procedure. My husband said to me can you imagine our child being frozen? It was a horrible day.

    We have been trying to have children for about 5 years (we've lost three babies). Despite the grief and pain of not being able to bear children, I could not live knowing I put my children through this terrible nightmare. It is selfish and not of God. Even if I did see a way to have IVF done without fertilizing so many eggs, it is still not right. God is the one who open and closes the womb. It's not for me or anyone else to try to create life before His timing.

    It is hard for me to say this because I so want a child. My selfish and sinful self wants to believe others and think its ok, but IT IS NOT - no matter what. I don't know what road God will choose for me, but I have to trust Him. Thanks again for bringing this topic to light.


  3. Quoting you: "If people don't get pregnant it's because God doesn't want them to have a child." It must be nice to know God's will and have Him all tied up in a narrow little box. Is open heart surgery wrong? Is a heart transplant wrong? Using your logic...if someone has a heart problem, God must want them to die! Funny, my Christian step-mother has survived 2 open heart surgeries after age 82. She now has a pig valve beating in her chest. Is that wrong? I was infertile and had ovarian surgery and took a fertility drug before I conceived. Was that wrong or was it "not God's will" that our son was born? Was it not God's will that he married and gave us four beautiful grandchildren? I'm not advocating IVF. Not in the least. I'm just questioning your statement that you know the will of God for those couples who appear to be chldless. The Angel Gabriel told Mary, "even your relative Elizabeth, who was THOUGHT TO BE BARREN, is in the sixth month; for NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!" What about Hannanh? Should she have quit asking God for a son after a few years of being childless?

  4. Thank you everyone for your insightful feedback.

    In response to the last comment given, I would like to clarify that I do not oppose medical treatment across the board. Performing heart surgery could save a life and does not cost anyone's life. IVF is creating lives for the sole purpose of destroying most of these babies in hopes that one would live.

    Illustration: Let's say that one of our children has leukemia, and needs a bone marrow transplant. Without one, he will die for sure. Like many parents do, we decide to have another child in hopes that the baby's bone marrow matches that or our sick child. The baby is born, but unfortunately, the bone marrow is not compatible. So we decide to kill the child because we want to keep trying for that baby with the right bone marrow. We kill about a dozen babies before we finally get the "right" one, extract the bone marrow, and save our oldest child's life. Not only did we save his life, but we have also added another life to this world, so overall we are obeying God's command to be "fruitful and multiply" even though a dozen other children had to pay for it with their lives. Is this a right thing to do?

    Most certainly not! I understand that this example is not really possible because of how long it would take, and the fact that it would not be legal to kill a child after it is born. But this is exactly what many parents want to do: screen their conceived embryo's DNA to find the "designer baby" they are looking to have in order to save the sick child's life. In the process, they will destroy all other children. Over time, of course, people will ask for certain features (e.g. gender, eye color etc. ) just because of personal preferences and not out of "need". Both are wrong.

    There are many things an infertile couple can do to improve their chances of conceiving, prayer being the most important one. As another lady commented, hormonal imbalance, overall health (e.g. weight) and diet all play crucial roles. If God is the one who opens and closes the womb, then how can a lady not have a baby unless that is God's will?? Does he want her to have a child, but some other "force" is mightier than the Almighty, making it impossible for Him to give the mother a child??

    I stand by original statement.

  5. And yes, I do have God all tied up in a narrow little box called THE HOLY BIBLE.

  6. Hey I got your email and didn't get a chance to respond. The hubby has been sick with the flu really bad. I guess they had a safety meeting at work and after that everyone got sick at his work! My dh was off for his 3 normal off days and was sick the entire time. He still went to work on his first day back, not feeling too good and everyone else was sick too.

    I thought it was from the lunch pizza party they had and someone else traced it to the safety meeting. That was over a week when he first got sick and none of us here are sick but then I woke up today achy. :(

    I am glad you tried the bread. I am sure it would of been better without "help". hahaha I know you mentioned a bread machine. Did you know bread machine yeast is the same as instant yeast and you can buy it at Smart N Final?

    I never really thought much about IVF til I heard your dh's sermon a few months ago. He made alot of sense and so do you. I am pretty sure my ex dh's sister and her dh had twins that way.

    It made me feel weird after hearing the sermon and then thinking of the twins.

    I know when Jesus was here he healed the sick and the lame and the blind and the lepers. I know he opened the womb himself and has the power to close it himself. I know he told us to lay hands on the sick and pray for each other , etc.

    I don't remember him mentioning ivf. For obvious reasons, it is a new term. I know that he told us NOT to kill our children though. And since IVF is the way you described then it seems that would fall under that category.

    ~ Jasmine

  7. Is it a sin for a couple who can't have children to adopt? Are they going against God's will since they couldn't have kids the normal way?

  8. No, I do not think that adopting an orphan is wrong at all. In fact, God uses the allegory that we have the adoption of sons to illustrate salvation.

  9. IVF allows people who don't have children to have them. A good thing.

    You have no idea what God wants because you're not God, and you have no proof that God exists.

  10. In response to the previous comment:

    Abortion allows people who don't want to have children not to have them. A good thing???

    Just because something is possible/legal, doesn't automatically make it right. That is why the Bible must be the authority on what is right and what is wrong, not our "gut feeling" or the current law of our increasingly godless country.

    This comment also shows that an unbeliever condones IVF because there is no proof that God really exists, and illustrates how backslidden and unspiritual people are who call themselves "Christians" and use IVF.

  11. Just as with abortion, IVF is a personal decision. No one is forcing you to get an abortion. No one is forcing people to undergo IVF.

    As an agnostic, I personally don't believe that a clump of cells is yet a human being, doesn't have a soul. Not every egg/sperm is going to make it to the point of becoming a baby. Each month you get a period, an egg has not been fertilized.

  12. Hi Mr./Mrs. Agnostic!

    I am a Christian. Sadly it's Sunday morning and my little boy (a year old now) is sick and can't go out. I had been hoping to hold him the back but, alas, it cannot be. So, here I am, at home.

    My son is what I like to call "a miracle." My husband and I were told I could have no children without medical "help." We tried clomid but, after several unsuccessful attempts, met failure after failure. For various reasons, including moral ones, we were not comfortable pursuing any other means of conception. The doctor wanted to "flush out" my uterus when my cycle didn't restart and try again. I wasn't pregnant (pregnancy tests don't lie do they!?) and logic and our intense desire for children demanded that we follow her advice. But, we couldn't. Deep down it seemed like a risk. I KNEW I wasn't pregnant but I couldn't INFALLIBLY PROVE IT with a pregnancy test that only claimed 99.9% accuracy. If we wouldn't cooperate, the doctor was through helping us unless we wanted to try other options. Many people were praying for us but finally "giving up hope" and trusting that God's plan (apparently that we would not have children) was best was incredibly hard. I was so sad, so emotional and frankly, I struggled with depression. Months passed. My husband left his job, we moved, and my husband began seminary in Mississippi. A week and a half later we learned I was pregnant and nearly 4 months along! I had been pregnant the whole time! Five months later a beautiful little boy was born.

    All of this is to say that God does open closed wombs and, had we not followed His leading and instead done the "logical" thing, there is no guarantee that we would have ever had a baby. At the very least, we would have had a death to answer for on judgment day.

    But Agnostic, I dare say that you disagree. You don't believe that a "clump of cells" is a human being and so there is no "death" to worry about. I submit that perhaps you need to reconsider what that "clump of cells" is. It's a developing child. The child is not yet what he/she will be but, then again, unless you die in the next few seconds, neither are you. Your mind will change. Your body will change--it is always changing. Hopefully your perspectives will also change. But, whatever you become, you will change/develop and yet still be human. This analogy has its weaknesses (if you care to, you could punch a thousand holes through it). The fact is, I believe God is the only One who can cause you to value human life in it's earliest form. Frankly, if you love (cling to) darkness, you will never be able to see matters in the light of t/Truth.

    As far as ivf and abortion being personal choices . . . they are personal. People who abort children are personally killing persons. They may be using an intermediary but that's irrelevant. The law doesn't let the man who hires a hit man off the hook. Neither does God. BUT, there is forgiveness for those who seek it. There is hope and new life in Jesus Christ. I don't know your history or the choices you've made. But I do know that you were born a sinner, just like me. I know the sins I committed (the skeletons that lined my closet were overwhelming) and the forgiveness I found in Christ. I hope you find that as well.

    ~rose p

  13. "My personal experience in meeting IVF parents and children is limited because all of our friends are obviously devoted Christians."

    1. Quite an assumption to assert that anyone who whould consider IVF must not be a Christian.

    2. it;s nice to know that our role as Christians is "obviously" to only have Christian friends. How the heck is anyone supposed to hear the gospel unless we befriend them.

    such a narrow-minded perspective i must say.

  14. You have a lot of misinformation about IVF in your post.

    Try writing up actual facts.. That might be more beneficial.

  15. In response to the previous comment:

    Exactly which facts are not presented correctly?

    Obviously, when you have done IVF you will be in defense of it.

  16. Facts:

    1. Egg retrieval seldom results in the quantity of eggs you state. Eggs in such a number are the result of hyperstimulation a very rare and serious complication of IVF. It is never the goal to have that many eggs.

    2. Nothing is done with the semen once it is collected other than using it to fertilize eggs. It is noit "doctored" up.

    3. There are no toys in the man's collection room. Few doctors have ant type of "stimulation" materials.

    4. Embryos/babies are transfered. They are not implanted. Implantation takes place when the embryo nests inside the uterus and continues to grow.

    5. Reputable RE's will only transfer 3 embryos maximum. It is not common, they prefer to transfer two.

    6. Less viable embryos can be transfered if it is desired. Some would rather have the embryos grow out and die inside them rather than in a lab.

    7. IVF rates vary. On an given cycle, a fertile woman only has a 20% chance of pregnancy. Not mych difference is there?

    8. Not all eggs are fertilized. Only the best eggs are selcted, and then a predetermined number- set by the woman and her doctor are then fertilized. One can fertilize only one egg if one so chooses.

    9. A woman's eggs are not stored until the father's sample is obtained. He gives his specimen while she is sedated and having her eggs retrieved.

    10. Eggs are not stripped of membranes. There is a process calles ICSI wherein a single sperm is injected into a single egg. Not the same thing though.

    Married woman can and do use a spouses frozen sample to do IVF. Not just single women and lesbians use them.

    Only those who have done IVF can defend it's use? That's certainly a narrow view. If I did use IVF or not isn't the point. Your blatent misrepresentaion of the facts are what I take issue with.

    You are free to have whatever moral beliefs you'd like. Just don't feel free to distort facts to validate them.

  17. I know this post is old, but I just read it for the first time and I say amen, sister! Speak the truth and let the baby killers hear it. There's a blog out there about a woman who did IVF and her baby was born with its intestines outside its body and she still doesn't see she is perverting God's will! So blind!

  18. Zsuzsanna,

    I know that you think that all the "babies are being killed", but that’s out of context. “Chemical pregnancy” - this is when an egg is fertilized, but never implants - the menses just starts as expected. There is really no way to know if you have had one. You think you've had a few miscarriages, but it's more likely that you've had dozens!

    When the doctor pulls the eggs (10 is more reasonable), not all of them are mature. So say you have 8 that are mature. Basically you are cramming 8 cycles into one - most of those cycles may have been chemical anyways. Even more so for the infertile. You are not changing anything - the genes God put in those eggs, He did a LONG time ago, and you cannot make them viable.

    You fertilize 8 eggs. 2 don't start growing. 2 grow slowly, and 4 are "good" blasts.

    Over the course of 3 transfers of the 6 embryos that showed any growth, you get 2 babies (which, FWIW probably came from the "good" embryos). How many babies did you kill?


    A blanket accusation against all couples using God-given resources to be fruitful - that they are *killing* their babies - is a little off. For Christian women going through IVF - do you really believe they want their embryos to die? No. I would submit that they are praying and hoping for them. They are waiting by the phone for the 24-hour status update. They feel the clench of fear when the doctor gives the Day 3 results. When one stops growing, they feel the loss as sharply as the woman who sees her positive pregnancy tests turn negative again.

    I know that you think you are right to judge, and I know you think that you can lay down the law with "if you do IVF you are automatically a bad parent". But maybe you should ponder I Corinthians 13. Because, even *if* you speak the truth, it is just a loud, venomous noise to my ears.

    I am a woman in pain. I took pills for the first 3 years of our marriage in submission to my husband. Once I stopped, I felt like my body finally went back to normal. Periods were "less fun", but it was a small price to pay. A year and a half later, we decided to find out why nothing was happening. Do you know what was wrong with me? Nothing. I am a beacon of fertility.

    The doctor called on a Monday. "I didn't want to call on Friday because I didn't want to ruin your weekend..." And that is how we learned we had severe MFI.

    For us, it was the end of the road. IVF was a non-option. We prayed about adoption, for comfort... but what we got was open doors and the pull towards IVF. The more we learned the more we saw that it could be done in a way that would honour God.

    Now we are leaning that way. I know you think we are evil. We will be bad parents. We are spitting in God's face. But I also know that you weren't there when I cried out, you weren't with me in the shuddering silence of pain that followed. You didn't keep my eyes dry so that I could encourage my husband. You didn't hold my husband together when I told him that I was so sorry, and still so in love with him, but needed to mourn. You didn't stay up with me on those nights when I could only stare into space. You didn't give grace when I bared my soul to the women in my Bible Study.

    And, really, your opinion doesn't matter to me (that's rich coming from a visitor to your blog). His opinion does. You can judge all you want, but I will follow Christ and commit myself to Him who judges righteously (I Pet 2:23). If IVF is wrong, I have no fear that God would allow us down a path of sin when we are praying earnestly for His guidance.

    There is nothing I can do that will usurp God’s power. No amount of drugs or men in white coats or procedures will ever minimize God's sovereignty. It's a shame that you would think that.

    So, please, stand over on your side of the fertility fence, and lob stones at those of us who are suffering. Certainly we don't need your encouragement or love.

  19. I realize this is a very old post, but I am responding as someone who has undergone IVF. Our story is a little different than most as I underwent a hysterectomy at a young age but was thankfully able to keep my ovaries. Without a uterus, my options are severely limited.
    A dear friend offered to be the surrogate who will carry the baby, who will be biologically related to both my husband and me. We will be trying for our baby later this year.
    Throughout our IVF process, not one embryo was killed, nor will any be killed moving forward. We will only be transferring one embryo at a time into our surrogate's uterus and so will avoid the likelihood of a high-risk multiple pregnancy. We will be donating any embryos we cannot use to a local program helping infertile couples to have children.
    Why are we taking the surrogacy route instead of exploring adoption? It's very simple. My husband has always dreamed of having biological children. I agreed to the IVF and surrogacy process, after a great deal of prayer and reflection, to honour his request. It has been extremely painful for me to love my husband so dearly and be unable to provide him with biological children. I cannot begin to explain how deeply infertility cuts into the hearts of people who experience it.
    For some people, IVF is the only path to biological parenthood. There are so many people in the world who yearn for parenthood, and if God has blessed medicine to be able to provide children, and especially provide children through IVF processes where not a single embryo is destroyed, I cannot believe that IVF is evil.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.