Playing God Without the Wisdom of God

The dominant secular culture portrays the world of In vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogate pregnancies as a great advance for mankind, even as it generates a stream of horror stories beyond the imagination of Greek tragedians.

Not a week passes, it seems, without a new disturbing permutation to this culture. “Surrogate offered $10,000 to abort baby,” reported CNN this week.

So now surrogates are offered money not just to carry children but to abort them. A more complete headline on CNN’s story would have been: “Surrogate offered $10,000 to abort baby diagnosed as disabled.” Untroubled by eugenic abortion, CNN doesn’t even bother to engage that obvious element in the story.

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Was the surrogate mother (who didn’t end up getting the abortion) a “Savior or Satan”? asks CNN fatuously: “In one view, she’s a saint who fought at great personal sacrifice for an unborn child whose own parents did not want her to live. In another view, she recklessly absconded with someone else’s child and brought into the world a baby who faces serious medical challenges when that wasn’t her decision to make.”

Before telling this tangled tale, CNN, showing its pro-IVF bias, says most “surrogacies have happy endings.” This claim ignores that the first stage of the process involves, among other injustices, freezing or discarding “excess” embryos, which is not a happy ending for them.

Yet even after that injustice, the doctors and agencies described in this CNN story couldn’t give the couple that arranged the surrogacy the child they wanted. Consequently, the couple demanded that the surrogate mother abort the disabled child. The surrogate mother at first bargained with them, asking for $15,000 instead of $10,000 to abort the child.

But then the surrogate mother had second thoughts: “No one else was feeling this pregnancy the way that I was. No one else could feel her kicking and moving around inside me. I knew from the beginning that this little girl had an amazing fighting spirit, and whatever challenges were thrown at her, she would go at them with every ounce of spirit that she could possibly have.”

“I can’t tell you how many people told me that I was bad, that I was wrong, that I should go have an abortion, that I would be damned to hell,” she said.

Such is the entitled view of the eugenic abortionists. Yet CNN thinks the ethical question here is not the proposed abortion but the decision-making that went into it: Who had the right to make that decision? Did the couple that arranged the surrogacy have the right to that decision? Or was that a decision for the surrogate mother?

The law on this issue varies from state to state. “Over the years, states have developed different laws about surrogacy. Some, like Connecticut, say the genetic parents—the ones who supplied the sperm and the egg—are the baby’s legal parents. Other states don’t recognize surrogacy contracts, and so the baby legally belongs to the woman who’s carrying the baby,” according to CNN.

To make the story even more confusing, the “genetic parents” in this case had used an “anonymous egg donor.” So their claim as the biological parents of the child—all so that they could have the child aborted—grew even more shaky.

Undaunted by that problem, they unleashed their lawyer on the surrogate mother. “You are obligated to terminate this pregnancy immediately. You have squandered precious time,” he wrote to her.

One more layer of confusion in the story is that the surrogate mother put the child up for adoption. So now at least five people can claim to be her parent.

The spirit of domination and hubris underlying IVF culture comes out in stories like these. It is no wonder that the children of IVF grow more and more resentful.

In 2006, Katrina Clark wrote bitterly about her experience as a child of IVF in the pages of the Washington Post: “We didn’t ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It’s hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won’t matter to the ‘products’ of the cryobanks’ service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.”

Playing God without the wisdom of God, which is what transferring reproduction from marriage to the lab inevitably means, produces these insoluble ethical messes, shattering the “equality that must be common to parents and children,” as the Church teaches.

IVF infringes “the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The world scoffs at this teaching, but CNN’s story offers one more confirmation of it, depicting the child as nothing more than an object over which conflicting “parents,” lawyers, and “genetic counselors” can fight.


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