God’s hand in infertility
Filed Under: Health & Science | Posted: 02/03/2008 at 9:38PM
Comments | Region: Thailand
God’s hand in infertility
Since Martin Luther nailed a copy of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church, in October 31, 1517 to protest the sale of indulgences and sparked the Protestant Reformation, Catholic and the Reformed have gone each other way in many Biblical issues. Among them is the different stand on the infertility treatments.
The official position of the Roman Catholic Church as was decreed in 1897 has always forbidden masturbation and contraception. The more recent and most comprehensive Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation also bans all use of reproduction technologies.
What should a Reformist do since there is no single authority in guiding the proper practices of many new reproduction technologies available. A search of Churches or denominations have reviewed no published announcement or guidance on the issue either. What shall an infertile couple do in seeking and adopting medical treatment that is in according to God’s will?
A quick glance of medical helps available for infertile patience have as below:
Artificial Insemination-Homologous (AIH)
AIH requires masturbation or use of condom during intercourse for the collection of sperm. The technology also provide the choice of sex selection through X and Y sperm isolation.
Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT)
GIFT is a medication technique by withdrawing egg and injecting sperms at the same into the fallopian tube for fertilization. This would again require either masturbation or the use of condom.
Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
This technique is similar to GIFT except that egg and sperms are mixed outside the body before being put back to the fallopian tube.
Artificial Insemination by Donor (AID)
AID had been used successfully in the conception and birth of more than 300,000 children in the United States alone. This method would introduce a cryopreserved (frozen) sperm from a third party donor into the process of having a child.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
This is a technique to have fertilization occurred outside the body before implanting the embryo back into the uterus to grow.
In-Vitro Fertilization Blastocyst (IVFB)
The IVFB keeps the fertilized embryo in the incubator 2-3 days (about 4-5 days) longer than the traditional IVF until it reaches the most suitable implantation stage or Blastocyst before implanting the embryo back into the uterus to grow.
Surrogate Embryo Transfer (SET)
This is a process to inject husband’s sperms into another woman to fertilize and wash out the embryo 5 days after the fertilization to be implanted back to wife’s uterus.
Surrogate Motherhood (SM)
This is a process with the extension of SET by carrying the pregnancy time of the third women all the way to delivery.
As you may have perhaps realized now, the techniques can be combined to make 30 over choices of conception depending on the source of sperm or a combination techniques. A child can have as many as 5 parents; sperm from father A and an egg from mother B can be united and the embryo implanted in mother C; the child born to C could be raised by father D and E.
Somehow, it seems we are taking the whole simple pregnancy out of God’s hand. Will God permit?
Well, like so many other issues, there is no monolithic unity in the Protestant church. Protestant teachings have usually been more permissive regarding birth control for married couples, masturbation and new productive technologies. But this must not be construed that we can go along with all the available to the extreme.
My consultation is to first express my sincere compassion for the distress. It is indeed a major source of anguish since the early Biblical days to Jesus days. Biblical women like Sarah, Hanna and Elizabeth had all suffered the pain of not being able to conceive.
But we should take heed of adopting a way to our solution too. Was not the disobedience of Sarah in solving their infertility that a curse was cast upon by God. But at the same time the Bile does not go to the other extreme of forbidding all modern reproduction basic technologies either. For instance, while tests of sperm count require masturbation, they provide useful information which can help natural conception.
My advice is not to consider any technique that involves a third person in the process. This would include donor sperm/eggs or surrogate embryo transfer/motherhood. Sarah is a clear illustrated Biblical case against God’s disapproval of a third person in pregnancy. Predictable and serious troubles will sure follow for the disobedience.
I would encourage all other techniques like AIH, GIFT, ZIFT, GIFT, and IVF. Last but not least is praying fervently like Hanna and ask Him to guide you to a Gynecologist whom He will use to create a human life through you.