Scanning the interwebs as I so often do I came across a post on CNN's Belief Blog written by a father who experienced something I cannot fathom: the embryo his wife carried to term turned out not to be theirs & when she gave birth, she handed over the baby to his genetic parents. Instead of highlighting the ultimate good that came out of this heart-wrenching story, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo took the opportunity to condemn IVF as "morally unacceptable".
Really, Diocese of Toledo?
It's stuff like this that makes me question my active participation in my church. I think about looking into joining other denominations every so often but never have; it's my understanding many other Christian denominations give IVF the proverbial "thumbs up". However, I also think of what my grad school buddy & Catholic priest friend who grew up in Nigeria & worked in an area with a horrible HIV/AIDS rate & encouraged condom use once told me: "What is said in Rome is not necessarily what is said in my homily on Sunday". In other words, although the Catholic Church is very much a hierarchical organization, every priest does have some degree of freedom over how he runs his parish.
I've not heard any stories about being excommunicated from ladies I know on the infertility message boards I frequent who have had successful pregnancies via IUI or IVF. That's not to say they don't exist, but what I've been told by most active Catholics I know is that since IVF's goal is to create life in God's image they see no problem with ART. Of course they may be paying me lip service & are secretly praying for my soul not to be thrust into eternal damnation, but I'd like to think they're not.
Basically, the crux of this article is that the Catholic Church is talking out of both sides of their mouth: they are "pro-life" but at the same time don't see the miracle of creating life that is ART. I've always believed God gave us the brains to think up things like IUI & IVF, so why not put them to use? As the author states so beautifully:
Babies born of IVF are here because their parents loved, respected and longed for these children well before conception. These children could not get here through the conjugal love of their parents and it took a very deep love, respect, and commitment to pursue the medical treatment needed to conceive through IVF. There is no doubt in my mind that God is working through loving parents and ethical doctors to allow these children to come into this world.