IVF

A 40th birthday for IVF

Philippa Taylor

On July 25 Louise Brown, the world’s first baby born via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), celebrates her 40th birthday.

40 years after her birth it is estimated that more than seven million babies have been born as a result of IVF and other assisted reproduction treatments. Around 2.4 million assisted reproductive technologies (ART) cycles are estimated to take place each year world-wide, with about 500,000 babies born as a result. If rates stay at current levels, then a million people alive at the end of the century will owe their lives to assisted reproductive technologies (1.4 percent of the global population).

40 years ago it was generally assumed that IVF would remain rare. However there has since been an explosion of assisted fertility services: intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), gamete and embryo freezing, gamete and embryo donation, embryo genetic diagnosis and surrogacy, to name some. The most common fertility treatment now is ICSI, accounting for around two-thirds of all treatments worldwide, with conventional IVF around one-third (proportions that vary across countries).

Infertility is deeply distressing and can affect every area of life for those struggling to conceive – as many as one in six couples. The Bible views childlessness as a painful, personal tragedy (Samuel’s mother Hannah’s anguished prayer illustrates the stress of infertility, as does Rachel in Genesis 30) while the Psalmist praises the God who ‘gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children’ (Psalm 113:9).

IVF can provide couples with a child they desperately want. And it has brought many precious new lives into being, and real happiness to millions of parents.

Therefore, many now think IVF is the answer to infertility.

But it is not. While the IVF industry and media focus on and market the success stories, the average delivery rate from ART treatments are around just 19 percent per cycle – a global IVF cycle failure rate of around 80 percent. In the UK, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority reports a ‘success’ rate of 26.5 percent . This ‘success’ rate actually means that 73.5 percent of cycles do not lead to a birth.

Success rates for IVF diminish rapidly after 35 years of age for women, largely because of loss of ovarian follicle reserve and oocyte quality with age. Even a woman under 35 years has less than a one in three chance of having a baby per embryo transferred, using her own eggs and partner’s sperm. A woman in her early 40s only has about a one in ten chance of having a baby per embryo transferred. And the success rate drops to a mere two percent for women over 44. This is highly relevant in a time when more and more women are delaying childbirth to concentrate on jobs and careers. When celebrities in their 50s become pregnant, what the media do not tell you is that it is almost always with a donor egg (indeed, 59 percent of women over 44 years used donor eggs in their treatment).

IVF heartbreak is real. IVF is no guarantee of success, despite all too often being touted as such. Added to this is the significant financial, emotional and physical toll that IVF can have on women.

Yet still, with one in six couples experiencing problems conceiving, the fertility industry is thriving. It is estimated to be worth over £600 million in the UK alone, with one cycle of IVF costing up to £5,000 or more.

There are some very troubling aspects of the fertility industry.

For instance, the number of babies born with health challenges (see here and here too), the use of medically unproven techniques and ‘add-ons’poor regulation, the shocking commercialisation and exploitation of women’s wombs and eggs (see here too) and the change to ‘traditional’ notions of family structure and biological parenthood, through gamete donation (which can bring much heartache to the offspring) and surrogacy. A dead or dying person can have their reproductive tissue removed to enable someone else to have a child – even a grandmother.

IVF has also opened what many regard as a Pandora ’s Box of genetic engineering, cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (screening out of embryos), embryonic stem cell harvesting, research on three parent babies and animal-human hybrids. Many IVF programmes involve the production of spare embryos, which are then used for research, disposed of, or frozen for future use. Between 1990 and 2013 over two million were allowed to perish, according to a Parliamentary answer. Now, over 170,000 IVF embryos perish every year. Embryos are experimented on, donated to other couples, frozen indefinitely … or even turned into jewellery.

The last 40 years of IVF and ART have given many couples happiness but even more couples, dashed hopes. The next 40 years will undoubtedly bring even more possibilities for the fertility industry, but what is possible is not always right.

A moral vision, especially one shaped by a Christian understanding of the person and family, has to be prepared to say ‘no’ to some exercises of human freedom and to turn away from technology that is possible but unwise. With fertility treatments, while we can and should use our God-given skills to help alleviate infertility we should also be prepared to acknowledge that there may be suffering we are free to end, but ought not to, that there are children who might be produced through artificial means, but maybe ought not to be.

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at the Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues. This article has been abridged from the original post on the CMF blog. To read the original article, click here. 

Free for what? Women’s choices in the era of the pill

https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/free-for-what-womens-choices-in-the-era-of-the-pill/21381

Carolyn Moynihan | Jun 1 2018

“The little pill that gave women freedom.” That’s the way The Conversation bills a clutch of articles marking nearly six decades of what the birth control boffins call “effective” contraception. With the release of the pill from 1957 onwards, women “celebrated the new control they had over their fertility,” writes Bryony McNeill, a lecturer in reproductive physiology at Deakin University, in “A short history of the pill”.

Actually, women already had a basic control over their fertility – probably as much as the pill has given them considering that abortion has underwritten this technology almost from day one – only, the control they had was moral, not technical. By and large, they set the terms for sex: marriage, and co-responsibility for the children.

Chemical contraception plus abortion has certainly controlled the number of children the average woman has, but what kind of freedom has it given her? Given current trends, here’s a list of 10 things Ms Millennial is free to do with her sterilised body:

1. Enter the cheap sex market. That is, hook up, date or cohabit with a series of men who are only interested in sex, while she spends ten to twenty years looking for someone who is really interested in her.

2. Suffer sexual harassment at college and work from men who think that, since women now have bodies like men (can’t get pregnant), they also have the same mechanical attitude to sex. She may even be free for a relationship with an abuser like Eric Schneiderman.

3. Put up with the side-effects of ingesting completely unnecessary synthetic hormones: weight gain, headaches, depression, loss of libido – to say nothing of more serious effects.

4. Get pregnant anyway because she was careless about her contraception, or it just did not work this time (which happens) – and “have to” have an abortion.

5. Not get an abortion and become a solo mother, reducing further her chances of marrying, though not of being exploited by boyfriends.

6. Get a sexually transmitted infection that will not go away. If she missed out on the HPV vaccine it may mean she is “free” to develop cervical cancer.

7. Increase her risk of breast cancer — by an average of 20 percent, according to a recent study reported in the New York Times.

8. Listen to her biological clock ticking relentlessly while Mr Right fails to show up. Or find out, too late, that her fertility has a different time frame than his.

9 Cohabit with a man who does not love her enough to marry her. If lucky, eventually marry him; if not (more likely) then break up. Perhaps several times. The consequences of this freedom extend, of course, to any children they have.

10. Decide it’s time for a baby, married or not, only to find she is infertile. She is then free to pay a fortune for IVF or, in some countries, to wait on a public list. Or remain childless.

Pill advocates can no doubt come up with a list of wonderful things that women have achieved with the help of the pill – higher education, independent incomes, amazing careers, a lasting marriage, one or two carefully reared children… But this is much truer of the college educatedthan those down the social scale, and even among the most educated there are women  struggling with some of these issues.

If this is freedom, it seems a very dubious exchange for the life of the average woman of the pre-pill era – the one stereotyped as chained to the kitchen sink and wondering, according to Betty Friedan, “Is this all?” There are many 30-year-olds today who, considering  their health and happiness, could ask the same question.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

Lab accidentally destroys thousands of human embryos, faces wrongful death suits

April 6, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – A couple whose frozen embryos were destroyed in a storage tank malfunction could seek action for wrongful death – if a judge rules that an embryo is considered a life.

This is just one of the dozens of lawsuits facing The University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, after the failure in early March of a cryopreservation tank containing approximately 4,000 eggs and embryos belonging to at least 950 families.

The accidental destruction of these very young human beings is raising a host of ethical and legal questions, and highlighting some of the inherent problems of IVF.

Is an embryo a person?

In Cleveland, clinic patients Wendy and Rick Penniman’s attorney is “asking the court to declare that an embryo is a person and that life begins at conception”, allowing the couple to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the Roe v Wade decision, which legalised abortion, holds that a foetus, let alone an embryo, is not a person.

Antonia Tully, Director of Campaigns for SPUC said: “Of course we hope that the judge in this case does recognise the humanity of the embryos. But at the same time we must be clear that manufacturing human beings to order, outside the womb by IVF is inherently wrong. We must also remember that many other tiny embryonic humans will have been discarded at the time that these embryos were selected for freezing.”

How do you put a figure on children?

Even without arguing that the embryo is a person, lawyers are struggling to determine what compensation is appropriate for what one affected patient calls “irreplaceable” – the loss of one’s children, or, as many see it, their only chance to become parents.

Adam Wolf, an attorney who is working on a number of these cases, tells MarieClaire.com that putting a figure on an accidentally destroyed embryo is one of the most challenging aspects of these lawsuits.  “How to place a monetary value on an embryo is something I have struggled with for years. Because in some ways there isn’t enough a money in the world, and it is a little bit gross to think of monetary figure to represent the value of future children,” he says. “On the other hand, that is how the legal system compensates people.”

“It is really easy to quantify the amount of money that someone has spent on the process or treatment, and has paid in storage fees. It’s far more challenging to think: What is the price of parenthood? How much do you value the ability to have children?” he continues.

Experimenting on embryos

The case also highlights how the death of embryos is treated differently depending on the circumstances. Between 1978 and 2002 68,000 IVF babies have been born but in the process 1.2 million embryos created by IVF were frozen, destroyed or used in research. Embryos are not legally seen as persons, and are often deliberately destroyed or left frozen indefinitely.

SPUC has spoken out strongly against using embryonic human being for experimental purposes. Dr Anthony McCarthy criticised the proposal to extend the time limit on using embryos for experiments and made the point that parents do think of their embryos as children.

This is borne out by the distress to parents caused by the Cleveland fertility clinic malfunctions.

“I feel like I failed them”

Kathy and her husband, Ben had been planning on implanting one or more of their five frozen embryos this coming August, and were going to donate any remaining to another couple – a process controversially known as “embryo adoption”. “We wanted to do an open adoption, and keep in touch with the family. I realized that I needed to know that they were okay,” Kathy tells MarieClaire.com. But now none of this is possible, because their five embryos, stored at University Hospitals, are gone.  “Even if it didn’t make sense for my husband and I to raise them, I was still their mother and I wanted to protect them and I feel like I failed them now.”

Antonia Tully said: “While our hearts go out to infertile couples, no one has an absolute right to have children. IVF turns children into a commodity, rather than a gift.”

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

The Ultimate Discrimination: “Family Balancing”

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50836576 – stop in vitro gender selection. concept sign to ban sex selection giving preference to boys

The Ultimate Discrimination: “Family Balancing”

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A New Jersey couple, who invested $25K and sacrificed the lives of four other embryos to insure they would have a baby girl, are just one example among many who see nothing wrong with a new trend called “family balancing.”

Breitbart is reporting on the story of Janine Tardibuono who told NJ101.5  that having her daughter, Gianna Rosalia, after having two boys, was a dream come true. But the way she went about having this little girl is raising alarms about the use of reproductive technology in a modern world.

As Tardibuono described, she and her husband went through in vitro fertilization (IVF) at North Hudson IVF in Englewood Cliffs. The procedure produced five embryos, one of which was female. This embryo was then implanted into Tardibuono’s uterus and, nine months later, their little girl was born.

What the story doesn’t mention, however, is that four little boys died in the process.

Typical of the mainstream media, there’s no mention of the embryos that were thrown away. Instead, it goes on to interview Dr. Jane Miller, medical director at the clinic, who refers to the sex selection procedure as “family balancing.” The doctor says that she is seeing an increase in the number of couples who are using IVF to choose the sex of their children.

“There’s been so much good, solid science that’s progressed what we can do in the embryo lab,” she told NJ 101.5.

She claims to often work with parents from cultures who “value male children” as if this is a good thing. Apparently, she hasn’t read the news about the demographic disaster being experienced in cultures where sex selection procedures have resulted in a lop-sided male to female ratio that is leaving many innocent young people without mates.

Tardibuono admitted to the station that their families were critical of what they were doing and accused them of “playing with God’s plans.”

She rebutted them by saying that “God created these doctors and these people that do the lab work. “So if God created them, then their work is good.”

Obviously, she never heard of free will and how a lot of people created by God use the personal freedom He gave them for evil purposes rather than for good – such as Hitler and Kim Jung Un and serial killers such as Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

This twisted reasoning is resulting in a new trend where the commodification of children is being raised to new heights.

For example, Breitbart cites a Daily Mailarticle in which Vice correspondent Isobel Yeung said she spoke to biologists who predict that within the next five decades “we are going to completely change the way we procreate, so having sex for procreation reasons is going to feel a bit old fashioned.”

It’s already starting.

The Fertility Institutes, which operate in the U.S., Mexico, and India allow couples to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to choose a child’s sex as well as screen them for genetic defects. In fact, they are currently encouraging couples to commit the ultimate discrimination by offering a “special sale” – a discounted fee of $14,880 for cycles with PGD gender determinations made until June 30, 2018.

As one couple told Yeung, they chose IVF for fertility problems, but then decided to select the sex of their child while they were at it. Because they both had strong women in their lives who they looked up, they decided they wanted a girl who they could raise to be a “strong feminist.”

Being a “strong feminist” has nothing to do with flouting God’s will for our lives and making other people suffer in the process – such as the millions of tiny human lives who are being flushed down the drain in fertility centers for no other reason than because they’re the “wrong” sex.

An authentic feminist does the exact opposite. As we read in Full of Grace: Woman and the Abundant Life, she celebrates who she is and the fact that she can be in loving union with God’s plans and thus “be a catalyst of His love in the lives of others.”

Isn’t that what the world needs – love and acceptance of all? Isn’t there enough intolerance in this world already?

Too many so-called feminists run around with their hair on fire over every slight, shouting “discrimination!” and “sexist!” and yet think nothing of committing the ultimate discrimination against the unborn babies they abort and the tiny embryos they toss down the drain because they were inconvenient or didn’t match their specifications.

We can only pray for those who resort to “family balancing” to get what they want. As history has proven over and over again, whether one is a believer or not, standing in opposition to God’s will never ends well – and that’s something technology will never change.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

 

 

Woman Becomes Pregnant With Triplets Despite Being on the Pill, Rejects Abortion

MICAIAH BILGER   JAN 29, 2018   |   1:30PM    LONDON, ENGLAND

In abortion activists’ minds, Beth Morton had many good reasons to have an abortion. She was young, unmarried and her birth control failed. What’s more, she was pregnant with triplets and completely unprepared to be a parent.

But the 26-year-old mother from Essex, England knew that her unborn babies were valuable human beings.

The Daily Mail reports Morton chose life for her non-identical triplets, Archie, Lola and Ralphie, and gave birth in June.

Morton said she had been taking the birth control pill for years, and was shocked last year to learn that they had failed. Her partner, Danny Bellamy, was supportive; but Morton said her family was worried about how she would handle the unplanned pregnancy.

“I’m only young and my family were worried about how I was going to take to it, but I’ve just taken it in my stride,” Morton said. “I’m very calm with the triplets and I love being a mom. So, even though it was a shock, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Morton experienced another shock during her 12-week ultrasound scan when the technician announced that she was having triplets.

“I thought the sonographer was joking …” she said. “She told me she wasn’t joking, and I could see the three sacs in there. I burst out crying. I couldn’t take it in. Danny was really happy, but it was still a real shock to me.”

The medical team even suggested that she have a “selective reduction,” an abortion that would have destroyed one or two of the triples’ lives.

Morton said no.

Here’s more from the report:

Non-identical triplets are rarely conceived without the use of IVF, and Miss Morton was offered a ‘selective reduction’ – in which doctors terminate one or two of the babies to make it a safer pregnancy.

But the couple refused. Miss Morton said: ‘There was no way that we would have ever considered a selective termination.

‘How could you possibly choose one baby’s life over another … we were determined to give all three of them the best possible chance. I know it was a risky pregnancy, but I trusted the doctors to look after us all.’

A year later, Morton said she is happy as a mother of three, and each of the triplets already is displaying his or her own personality.

“They may have been a surprise, but I can’t imagine life without them now,” Morton said.

Winter newsletter

What is One More Soul doing?

  • We continue to serve parishes, dioceses, pregnancy support centers and individuals with excellent
    resources to proclaim the blessings of children and the harm of contraception.
  • Julia has just completed a review of contact data for all Directory of NFP-Only Physicians. This
    resource is commonly sought for health care that is consistent with Catholic Church teaching.
  • We will soon publish Anne Cherney’s Supernatural Family Planning, the Original Method. In the first chapter, Anne describes how she and her husband just let God “plan” their family to have 10 children, and how He provided without delay their every need. I’m hoping/praying it will be printed in time for Christmas giving.
  • Sterilization Reversal, A Generous Act of Love, edited by John Long, describes the experience of 20
    Catholic couples who saw their marriages fall apart following sterilization. They were on the brink of divorce. Permanently separating life from love changed more than God’s perfect design for their bodies. A reversal changed everything; they experienced true love again; reversal is truly “a generous act of love.” We want to send sample copies to Family and Marriage Offices in every diocese and seminary. Your donations can make that possible.
  •  I will continue to encourage bishops and priests to follow Cardinal Sarah’s instructions for renewing the Liturgy so that both priests and laity will have the graces needed to preach and accept the moral teachings that affect our culture—a Culture of Death—abortion, contraception, IVF, ESCR, PAS, transgenderism, etc.\
  • Finally, I would like to upgrade our lighting by replacing 50+ fluorescent ceiling fixtures with a dozen LED fixtures and reduce our HVAC costs by adding ceiling insulation.

Thank you very much for your prayers and donations. You are the lifeblood of One More Soul. May God bless us.

Steve Koob, Director

PS Please participate in Mass often. The Mass is THE source AND summit of our Christion faith and life

 

Irony: As Babies are Killed in Late-Term Abortions, Scientists Create Artificial Sperm to Make Babies

WESLEY SMITH   JAN 2, 2018   |   11:35AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Irony: As Babies are Killed in Late-Term Abortions, Scientists Create Artificial Sperm to Make Babies

It is a profound irony that as we allow even very late term fetuses to be aborted on one hand, scientists are finding radical nature-bending ways to assist people have babies–including methods that could shatter familial norms.

Newest possibility: Artificial sperm and ova. From the Guardian story:

Speaking at the Progress Educational Trust annual conference in London this month, Azim Surani, director of germline and epigenetics research at the University of Cambridge’s Gurdon Institute, said he and colleagues had passed a significant milestone on the path to producing sperm in the laboratory.

The team is thought to be the first to have reached the halfway point on the developmental path from human stem cells to immature sperm.

The study hints that one day it may be possible to manufacture sperm and eggs from stem cells or even adult skin cells.

This could, at least in theory, permit men to become biological mothers, and with genetic engineering, women to become fathers:

Fertility clinics in Britain are currently banned from using artificial sperm or eggs to treat infertile couples. However, if scientists perfected the ability to produce germ cells in the lab – something Surani predicts is at least a decade away – regulators could face pressure to revise the law to reflect the new possibilities.

For instance, two men could potentially have a baby that was genetically related to both of them by using skin cells from one to make an egg and cells from the other to make the sperm.

Then, a woman would be hired or would volunteer to become a surrogate mother of a baby with two male biological parents.

Or, if some get their way, one of the men could have a uterus transplanted so that he could gestate and give birth via caesarean section. That has been seriously advocated by such bioethics luminaries as Joseph Fletcher.

Now, add in CRISPR gene editing, three-parent IVF techniques, and the “no limits” mentality of some in science and society, and the atomizing Brave New World possibilities become endless.

By the way, the (phony) ban mentioned in the article is typical of what we see in biotech all the time: Outlaw what can’t be done today to permit the research to be perfomed that will permit it to be done. Then, once that succeeds,, lift the ban–meaning the prohibition was really meant to give false assurance and public space to work out the technology.

This is recipe for the transhumanist dream of radical individualistic procreation, baby manufacture, and radical family restructuring. If that’s what we want–I don’t think it should be permitted, but I don’t have a monopoly on wisdom–it is what we want.

We should at least have a serious societal discussion before these things can be done, to determine–through democratic means–the breadth and scope of regulations that should govern these technologies. Otherwise, we are heading toward an anarchic procreative society.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.

Anyone who is truly pro-life must oppose the baby-selling practice of gestational surrogacy arrangements

December 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – This month, two women from two different states contacted our office because the “intended parents” were now demanding that the women abort the “defective” children they were carrying as part of a surrogacy arrangement. One woman succumbed to the pressure, killing triplets. The other woman miscarried, undoubtedly, in part, because of the unrelenting stress being placed upon her. Her stillborn twin babies were hugging each other. This is the untold underside of the inherently immoral but deceptively alluring practice of “gestational surrogacy.”

Many staunchly pro-life people see only beautiful babies, innocent and precious. They want to celebrate the gift of life, and so they casually embrace surrogacy. Those treasured babies, however, should not be created through this abhorrent practice.

There are many reasons to oppose the practice of surrogacy – including its innate exploitation of women and purposeful destruction of the sanctity of the mother-child relationship – but it should be especially morally repugnant to those who are pro-life.

Here are three reasons why every pro-life person must be anti-surrogacy:

  1. surrogacy affirms that children are disposable;
  2. most of the embryos created are destroyed; and
  3. surrogacy contracts contain provisions making abortion mandatory.

First, and most obviously, surrogacy is the manufacture of children to be sold. Although the industry speaks in terms of “renting a womb” or “gestational services,” it is manifest that the purchaser is buying a child, because that is the very object of the contract. Clearly, the purchasing party would not pay a woman for the use of her womb if they were not given exclusive ownership of a baby at the end. When we reduce children into products, we cheapen their value and dehumanize the child. This is the very antithesis of the pro-life dogma of the intrinsic dignity and value of every person. Once created for sale, they can be destroyed at the purchaser’s whim. And that is exactly what is happening.

Second, most of the embryos created by surrogacy arrangements will not be allowed to live. In so-called “traditional surrogacy” the mother who carries the child is also genetically related to the child, because she provides the egg to be fertilized. In so-called “gestational surrogacy,” in contrast, the mother who carries the child has no genetic relationship with the child because the fertilized eggs transferred into her uterus are from an anonymous donor. To improve the chances of contract enforceability, the surrogacy industry favors the use of anonymous egg donors. Therefore, all “gestational surrogacy” arrangements require the use of IVF, where the egg and sperm are joined in a laboratory to create a living human being for transfer into another woman’s uterus.

Although IVF can be done so that all fertilized eggs will be used, most surrogacy participants create multiple embryos which will be destroyed or indefinitely frozen (cryopreserved). It is not uncommon for IVF arrangements to involve the creation of 10-20 embryos, where only 2-3 are used. Because of these practices, hundreds of thousands of embryos are in a state of suspended animation. Countless more have simply been killed.

Third, nearly all surrogacy contracts contain “selective reduction” provisions that allow the purchaser of the child to demand that the mother have an abortion. Here’s an example of how it works. The purchaser creates 15 embryos, which are then screened for genetic anomalies and selected by gender. To ensure that at least one embryo successfully implants (the fail rate can be as high as 50% in women under age 35), two or three of the desired embryos are transferred into the mother’s uterus. If all three embryos implant, triplets would be born, so a purchaser who wants only twins will demand that one child is aborted. These clauses, although not legally enforceable, are used to mislead and pressure vulnerable mothers to have abortions – whether they want one or not.

Surrogacy manufactures children for sale, creates human beings for intentional destruction, and permits children to live only at the expediency of their purchasers. It will, if left undeterred, irrevocably alter human civilization to the detriment of women, children, and the culture at large.

Surrogacy is not “giving the gift of life” – it is part of the culture of death.

Joseph R. Zakhary is an attorney at The Cassidy Law Firm in Shrewsbury, NJ which specializes in public interest litigation and is considered among the leading authorities on surrogacy and abortion law.

An Absurd Fate: What Happens to Abandoned Embryos?

by  

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it almost always starts with an emotional story.

The latest situation is an embryo custody battle in Arizona. It highlights the depth of real human emotions connected to having children and building a family, and the ways in which human lives are affected by a justice system that seeks to do what is right in the midst of a true ethical mess. As with all embryo custody battles, there are never any winners. There are plenty of losers, though, and the embryos have the most to lose by far.

This case, of course, tugs at our heartstrings. In 2014, at the age of thirty-three, Ruby Torres was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer—a very aggressive breast cancer that has the lowest five-year survival rate of all breast cancers. Torres was engaged at the time of her diagnosis. Because her cancer treatments might leave her infertile, she and her then-fiancé, Joseph Terrell, made the decision to undergo IVF to create embryos and freeze them for later use. A contract was signed stipulating that neither Torres nor Terrell “could use the embryos without the written permission of the other person.” Soon after, they were married.

In August 2016, Terrell filed for divorce and told the court that he did not want to have children with Torres. The case is now in the courts of Arizona, where there is no case law on the disposition of surplus embryos once they have been created. On one side, Torres, who is now infertile, is fighting for her “right to have her own biological children.” Terrell, on the other side, is fighting for his “right not to parent.”

A Maricopa County Family Court judge recently ruled that the embryos must be donated to a couple seeking embryo adoption or to a fertility clinic since Torres and Terrell are not in agreement. Torres has filed a notice of intent to appeal the ruling to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

There Ought to Be a Law

How can we keep cases like this from happening in the future? Perhaps the simplest way would be for the United States to adopt a policy similar to Germany’s. The law there prohibits the creation of so-called surplus human embryos. In Germany, only three embryos can be created in one IVF cycle, and they must all be transferred into the mother’s womb.

But embryo donation and adoption is big business in the United States. Current estimates are that there are nearly three-quarters of a million frozen embryos here. In addition, approximately 28 million federal dollars are funding embryo donation programs, thus creating a whole new industry, which shows no signs of being interested in putting itself out of business.

Our country is a long way from passing a law like Germany’s, in part because we are so far down the path of embracing embryo adoption. We are gripped by the emotional stories of “snowflake” children. Recall the George W. Bush-era embryo battles over surplus human embryos being either destroyed for cures or adopted into loving homes. Almost no one pushed for a law banning the creation and freezing of human embryos then—and almost no one is pushing for it now—which is one of the reasons why this case in Arizona is so troublesome for the courts.

Souls on Ice

At the height of those embryo battles, Liza Mundy wrote in Mother Jones about “Souls on Ice.” That was 2006, when the count of frozen embryos was “only” about half a million. Mundy raised the question of embryo disposition after speaking with a California couple who had fourteen surplus frozen embryos. What should they do with them? Should they “Give them away to another couple, to gestate and bear? Her own children’s full biological siblings—raised in a different family? Donate them to scientific research? Let them . . . finally . . . lapse?”

That was eleven years ago. Now the number of souls on ice is rapidly approaching three-quarters of a million.

Human life was not meant to be created in the lab, put on ice, and left for years and years. Many frozen embryos do not survive the thawing process. As Paul Ramsey explained back in 1972, freezing human embryos would “constitute unethical medical experimentation on possible future human beings, and therefore it is subject to absolute moral prohibition.” Though the medical community failed to heed his warning, Ramsey’s words are still true:

My only point as an ethicist is that none of these researchers can exclude the possibility that they will do irreparable damage to the child-to-be. And my conclusion is that they cannot morally proceed to their first ostensibly successful achievement of the results they seek, since they cannot assuredly preclude all damage.

In other words, it is thought to be safe to freeze, thaw, and transfer human embryos into wombs, but the truth is that we are performing a highly experimental procedure on human beings who cannot in any way consent to the procedure they are undergoing. In fact, research is being done on these children, following them over the course of their lives to see how they fare. In what other circumstance would such treatment not be considered horrific?

How can we clean up this mess?

Parents, Come Get Your Children!

As I mentioned above, a good place to start is by legally limiting the number of embryos that can be created and prohibiting the freezing of embryos, as Germany does. But what about the embryos currently in cryopreservation storage? We need a policy that would require the people who created the embryos to make a decision. They can choose to transfer the embryos into their mother’s body, donate them to an embryo adoption agency, or allow them to thaw and die. I am open to discussions of ways to incentivize transferring the embryos into the mother—this, in my view, is what should happen, or being donated for embryo adoption—but I am not open to having the embryos donated to scientific research where they will be destroyed, killed.

The human embryos who are currently abandoned in freezers were created for the purpose of building families. The simple answer is for parents to come and get their children. If you choose to abandon your embryos—that is, your children—you can opt to “donate” them to someone who is willing to bear and raise your child.

Embryo adoption, though, is fraught with its own set of ethical issues. Anyone choosing to donate their unwanted embryos or to adopt such embryos must enter into such a decision with a clear mind about the problems that are likely to arise.

Children created in this way will face many difficult and troubling realities as they come to know and understand their conception stories. They must come to terms with the fact that they were created, abandoned, seen as surplus and unwanted, and ultimately given away by their biological parents. This can be an enormous burden for a child to carry. Given my extensive work on issues around third-party conception—egg donationsperm donation, and surrogacy—I know all too well how likely it is that these children will grow up longing to know their biological parents, siblings, and larger family while at the same time feeling abandoned and perhaps even unloved.

Who Has Moral Obligations to Frozen Embryos?

Finally, I hold that we, the general public, have no moral obligation to rescue abandoned frozen embryos, just as we have no obligation to donate a kidney. Such acts—supererogatory acts—are those that are good but not morally required. I do believe, as I mentioned above, that the parents who created the embryos have a moral obligation to reclaim their embryos and have them transferred into the mother’s uterus. But that obligation does not extend beyond the parents who brought them into being. Physicians who assisted in creating and freezing embryos have broken with the Hippocratic roots of medicine, inevitably harming some embryos—that is, the ones that do not survive the freezing and thawing process.

Depending on where you are on the religious spectrum, you will find variations on the exact nature of our moral duty to abandoned embryos and their right to life. My own recommendation is to follow a pattern that Lutheran theologian Gilbert Meilaender, Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University and Scholar at The Paul Ramsey Institute, recommends in his most recent book, Not by Nature but by Grace. He writes,

What Christians, at least, should want [with respect to abandoned embryos] is a brief religious ritual to accompany their dying, a liturgy in which we commend these weakest of human beings to God, though perhaps also a liturgy in which with the psalmists we ask God how long his providence will permit this to continue. . . . We demonstrate our humanity by accompanying frozen embryos to their death and committing them liturgically to God’s care.

But we must recognize, as the Catholic encyclical Donum vitae states,

In consequence of the fact that they have been produced in vitro, those embryos which are not transferred into the body of the mother and are called “spare” are exposed to an absurd fate, with no possibility of their being offered safe means of survival which can be licitly pursued.

Never to know the nurturing environment of their mothers’ wombs and never to be lovingly raised by their mothers and fathers, such embryos suffer an absurd—and tragic—fate indeed.

Jennifer Lahl is the Founder and President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and producer of the documentary films, Eggsploitation, Anonymous Father’s DayBreeders: A Subclass of Women? and Maggie’s Story, which tells of a ten-time egg donor and her battle with stage-four cancer.

Experimenting on embryonic humans is evil and must be opposed

LONDON, England, October 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — UK scientists are experimenting on seven-day old humans to learn how to “edit” DNA before killing them and discarding them.

A team from the Francis Crick Institute is using “excess” living human embryos for their experiments who were frozen for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). They then “edit” the human DNA by taking out a vital gene from “healthy, normal” embryos.

States the BBC:

Breakthroughs in manipulating DNA have allowed the team at the Crick to turn off a gene – a genetic instruction – suspected to be of vital importance. The easiest way of working out how something works is to remove it and see what happens. So the researchers used the gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 to scour the billions of letters of genetic code, find their genetic target and break the DNA to effectively disable it.

They were targeting a gene. You are unlikely to have heard of it, but OCT4 is a superstar in early embryo development. Its complete role is not understood but it acts like an army general issuing commands to keep development on track. The researchers used 41 embryos that had been donated by couples who no longer needed them for IVF. After performing the genetic modification, the team could watch how the embryos developed without OCT4…But without OCT4 the blastocyst cannot form. It tries – but implodes in on itself.

From the embryo’s perspective it is a disaster but for scientists it has given unprecedented insight.

Pro-lifers oppose destructive human embryonic experimentation because it’s a human life that’s being destroyed at his or her earliest beginning.

Governor Sam Brownback, whom President Trump nominated for Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom, put it this way: “What lies at the heart of this debate is our view of the human embryo. The central question in this debate is simple: Is the human embryo a person or a piece of property?”

“If unborn persons are living beings, they have dignity and worth, and they deserve protection under the law from harm and destruction. If, however, unborn persons are a piece of property, then they can be destroyed with the consent of their owner,” he said.

Christians have always affirmed that men and woman are created in the image of God from the very first moment of their existence. Since the embryo is a living human being and not just a clump of cells, experimentation involves the willful taking of human life and can only be judged as morally and ethically wrong in every instance.

This isn’t just a matter of rules, but a matter of respecting “persons.”

At no point is one person, no matter what size or what state of development — be they zygote, preborn, infant, toddler, child, teen, adult, senior — of less value or less of a person than another human being.

As Dr. Seuss put it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

One’s degree of biological development is irrelevant to the fact that a new being comes into existence when sperm meets egg, a person who must be valued and respected as a member of the human family who is a bearer of God’s image.

The embryonic DNA manipulation performed by the UK scientists deliberately targets and kills human beings. Experimenting on people and then killing them, even with the good intention of using the knowledge gained to help others, is simply wrong. No matter what good follows from it, it is always evil to directly murder someone.

The world was horrified when it learned about the horrors of Nazi experiments on those in concentration/death camps. With equal fervor, anyone who stands for human rights and justice ought to be equally horrified with human embryonic destructive experimentation.

Human embryos are people. Experimenting on them is morally equivalent to experimenting on any other human, like you or me.

Pro-life pioneer Dr. J. Willke put it this way: “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t profess to be pro-life and support experimentation on these tiny children that will result in their deaths.”

In other words, the end does not justify the means.

“Common sense tells us that no one has the right to kill another human being, no matter how much good they claim will come from that act. Most people instinctively reject the notion that doctors are qualified to decide who should live and who should die ‘for the greater good.’  That is why doctors have for centuries taken an oath declaring their first duty not to harm, let alone kill, anyone in their care,” said family advocate Gary Bauer.

The manipulation and destruction of human life at any stage have no humility, no reverence, no place for God.

From the perspective of human rights and justice, the issue is clear: The lives of preborn children must be defended from the earliest, smallest, and most fragile stages of development.  Killing innocent human life for experimentation, or for any other reason, must be opposed.

Are we artificially breeding ourselves infertile?

Marcus Roberts | Sep 19 2017

Ten years ago, one in 35 Australian babies were born as a result of IVF treatment. Today, that number has tracked to one in 25 babies. In the Netherlands, one in 15 births is as a result of IVF treatment. Now, world-renowned Dr John Aitken, the University of Newcastle laureate professor, the director of the University’s Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science and the 2012 New South Wales Scientist of the Year, is warning us of the dangers of overreliance on IVF.

It seems that male children born of IVF procedures are themselves more likely to require IVF to reproduce. As Aitken notes:

“It’s an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you are going to need it in the next…There’s a negative pay-off. If you have a son from this process it is possible that he too will have the same pathology that you had.”

The trouble is that already, without interference, the human male is not very fertile: one in twenty males are infertile. Dr Aitken criticises the IVF industry for ignoring the fact that failure to conceive stemmed largely from male infertility problems. And aside from the increased incidence of infertility, male IVF children are also at greater risk of cancer if their fathers smoked and used assisted conception techniques.

But, as Aitken notes, society is now out of kilter with human biology. Women are at their most fertile at around 19 or 20 years’ old, but at that stage of life most are halfway through university and nowhere near starting a family. Instead, many are putting off having children, getting financially secure and then having to resort to IVF in their late 30s when they cannot conceive.

“The average age of women in IVF is 36/7 years. If you’re contemplating a family when you’re close to the edge, IVF cannot fix you up. IVF live birth rates decline from 35 to 42 exactly the same way in naturally conceived population.”

Do we really think that we can keep on relying on technology and scientific breakthroughs to mask the deficiencies of our current lifestyles? Do we really think that doing so won’t result in something having to give in the future? Perhaps not in the next generation, but perhaps the one after that, or the one after that when more and more of us rely on IVF to “fix” our problems that are either caused by us delaying having a family, or because our parents had us through IVF… Now imagine a society where not only are our birthrates failing to keep up to hte level required to keep the population stable, but where more and more men are naturally infertile. Where we rely on IVF more, and thus perpetuate the cycle.

Biology Matters- Take it from donor conceived kids with loving straight parents.

by  | Sep 14, 2017

If you believe that “all kids need is love” then these donor-conceived children should be perfectly happy. But they’re not.

Turns out that even if kids have one or two loving parents, many donor-conceived kids strugglewith the reality that they will never know half of their heritage. In addition, the fact that the decision to deny them a relationship with one of their biological parents was intentional– made by the very parent(s) with whom they are living- often leads these kids to feel guilty, angry, ashamed and… commodified.

So, do not continue reading unless you are ready for your “all kids need is love” paradigm to be challenged:

Well, my father is a anonymous sperm donor. If you had asked me a year ago how I felt about him, I would have felt mild curiosity and excitement. I wasn’t really concerned about him at all. But now I miss him like crazy. It sounds weird I know, how can you miss someone you never knew? But I feel it all the same. I’m also furious (and I know this sounds bad) at my mother. How dare she willingly deny me the right to know him? And my half brothers and sisters. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she just gets a face like a smashed plate every time in mention it. Sometimes I really hate her.

34 years ago my mother decided that it was time for her to have a child. With her biological clock ticking and no long term relationship in sight, she turned to an anonymous sperm donor. She probably thought like most women would: “I’ll give my baby enough love for two”. I was indeed a loved baby…but baby must grow… It was only recently That i truly realized that I’ll most probably never know anything about half of my heritage. I love my mother but often I find myself despising her for doing this to me, for being so selfish. I, myself, as a woman approaching the big 3.5, I know what it feels like to truly want a child but NEVER would I knowingly take away a child’s right to have a father and a family. Not only has my mother deprived me from having a father but also sisters, brothers, cousins, grandparents…. https://anonymousus.org/gift-life-gift-solitude/

I’ve only wanted one thing in this life that I have been missing: paternal love. ….All I ever wanted is to be loved by you. The reality is that you were some college aged student who needed money, so you chose to donate. I just want you to know that your selfish actions indeed have consequences. My mother tells me that I’m better off without a father than with a father who doesn’t love me. The issue with that statement is that in the latter situation, at least I would know who my father is, regardless of his love for me. In the first statement, I do not know if my father loves me or not, which causes this tornado of thoughts in my mind, but even worse: I feel like an entire half of my life is missing thanks to my mother’s decision. As much as mother depicts herself as the hero, she may be a villain in disguise. Perhaps, she does not even understand the impact of her selfish deeds. Did she ever think about how this could impact a child? How it keeps her daughter up at night, knowing that there is yet another man in this world who does not love her.

I am 22 years old and I just found out that I was conceived through sperm donation. This information was withheld from me for my entire life until now.I was born into a loving, happy family. My parents have had a strong admirable marriage for nearly 25 years. I never would have imagined that my father was not the biological male who contributed to my existence…However, I have since felt a shameful sadness about this news. In a single day, I went from looking at my appearance without second thought, to looking at a stranger…I feel sad, alone, confused, and lost at times, while other times I feel nothing at all. I am on a roller coaster of emotions and I am not even sure why. I don’t like that I am suddenly grieving a person that I do not know or care to ever know. More importantly, I feel as though I am grieving myself….In addition to not completely understanding why I feel this way, I feel guilty for feeling anything at all. I am afraid to tell my parents how this makes me feel out of the fear that they will misunderstand my confusion and curiosity for something that it isn’t. …I am uncomfortable knowing that this person exists out there (or doesn’t, I don’t know if he has died). I am equally uncomfortable knowing that this person out there knows that he might have genetic offspring in the world that he will never get to meet. I feel weirdly betrayed by this person. It makes me sick to admit that.

I am egg donor conceived. Male. I found out when I was 16… now in my mid 20’s. Years and years later I still wonder and ponder, “who is my REAL Mother”… where is she? Is she even alive? Would she accept me for who I am? My current Mother… well growing up never accepted me… or even really cared to grow a bond with me (favortizes my 3 sisters; yes I’m a Quadruplet). It makes sense why now. There is a massive dIsconnection due to IVF. My relationship with my father has always been the greater of the two. I wish to one day meet her. Talk with her, even if it’s for 5 minutes. You know who you are…. God has blessed my wife & I in being able to have children naturally, and it has been the most wonderful experience so far. I WILL give my children what I never had growing up and still am suffering with. Hurt. Wounds. Depression. Anxiety. And the “unknown” of my identity.

Today I’m overwhelmed with sadness. It is Thanksgiving. I’ve spent the days surrounded by sweet people who love me. My family. The ones who helped raise me. The ones who will claim me. I love them. I’m thankful to be with them. We’re having a lovely time.  But I miss my biological dad. I wish I could call him today. I wish I knew him well. I wish I could hug my bio brother, or send a quick, silly text to him. What is he doing today?  I look around the room at boys who look just like their daddies. Fathers and children who all have the same smirky giggle. I’ll never sit in the same room with him and know if we walk the same. I didn’t get to grow up reading the books he loves, or hearing his calming voice when I’m tired, or sharing a love for the way his mother, my grandmother, cooks. I cannot ever know these things. In the name of generosity, he gave me away.

My mother told him that she “knew” I was his child. [My dad] literally took that on faith, that “a mother knows”. I believe him, he is a trusting individual and I believe that he believes this to be true. However he had doubts or he would not share this with me at such a critical juncture. My first thoughts were “Are you expletive! kidding me?” Followed by thoughts that I shouldn’t exist, then followed by immense respect for my dad, who is most likely not my bio dad. He coached my baseball teams, taught me everything, was the best dad to me, and my friends that I have ever seen. Much better as a father than I am by leaps and bounds. He did everything for me. I could not look less like him. I look exactly like a male version of my mother. I have come to the realization that although I may want to know, he probably does not want to know, for certain, if I am his or not. He cares, but most likely would be devastated if he found out, like all my medical knowledge (am doctor) suggests that I am not his child. I have decided not to test at this time (somehow, it’s killing me), and upon his passing, reevaluate my desire to know. He told me the donor was a medical student. I am the first in my family, either side, in the medical profession. So many things seem different now, I am still processing, and am trying not to let it throw me off my game as a father myself, or even keep it inside and not tell everyone I know what I have just found out. I feel like running this by everyone I know because it alters my perception of my life so deeply. People have asked me already what is troubling me. I may need professional help to sort this through, and I will seek it out if my current mental state continues.

When my friends talk about their fathers they talk about their first fishing trip together and how he would always bait the hook for him, or when he didn’t like a significant other they brought home. When I talk about my father I don’t have any memories to reminisce on or a specific image that pops into my head, I am just filled with bitterness. Not just because you donated, and not because you did it anonymously, but that fact my single mother wanted it that way. She chose for me to never even have the chance to meet my real father. But I hate feeling this way because, how do I tell my mom she wasn’t enough, that her love doesn’t fill a hole that she created. Every time I even mention my biological father around her, I feel like I am betraying her in some way. But if I never bring you up, no one will. So many people say my mom and I look alike, and I hate hearing that, not because my mom is ugly, but because it just gives her more reason to just sweep you under the rug and ignore you exist. I wish I had the power to ignore you exist, but some nights I just can’t. stop. thinking. No matter how hard I try I just can’t. I try to muffle my cries because I can’t let my mom hear, because it will only hurt her. Then I get angry because I didn’t get any protection in this decision. I was put into this masturbated race without any rights or a voice at all. You get to hide behind your anonymity, and I can’t have my mom seeing that I am angry or sad because I don’t want her to get buyer’s remorse.

Biological connection matters to kids.  These children had to discover that the hard way- by missing out on it.

Fertility is Not a Disease

Hanna Klaus, February 8, 2017, Reproduced with Permission, Church Life Journal

Managing a couple’s fertility to regulate their family size does not require removing said fertility from the woman’s or the man’s body. This is not primarily a religious issue. Some years ago a psychologist from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who had no religious affiliation came to me for instruction in the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning. She had already used mechanical and hormonal contraceptives, but, responding to a comment I had made at an NIH meeting, she decided to seek a natural method. After using the method for three months she told me, “This method is so different—now I can be all there, now I am not holding anything back.” The contrast between contraception and fertility acceptance methods has never been explained more simply.

Today, hormonal contraceptives and sterilization are marketed aggressively and exclusively. While the physical side effects of contraceptive steroids on every organ system have been described in the medical literature, the personal, social, and spiritual effects of contraceptive steroid hormones, in fact of any blocking of the total mutual self-giving which is the essence of the marriage act—has consequences. Until the publication of “The Association of Hormonal Contraception with Depression” in JAMA Psychiatry in September 2016[1], too many family planning providers either denied the link to depression or prescribed anti-depressive medications rather than stopping the cause of the depression.

Contraceptives as the status quo

Removing fertility from the healthy body is a lifestyle choice and, when done with contraceptive steroids or surgery, is far from risk-free. The regulations which our Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have issued only consider the end—reproduction-free sexual relations—as significant. Despite today’s contraceptive inundation, 54% of unplanned conceptions[2] begin in a cycle in which the woman used contraception, usually hormonal. She may not have used the drug correctly or consistently, or it may have failed.

Public health providers tend to think in terms of reaching the lowest common denominator. In the last five years LARCs—Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives—have been heavily promoted by public and private health care providers, especially to single teen mothers right after giving birth, and to single women “at risk” for pregnancy, especially teens. LARCs are either etonorgestrel or similar subdermal implants, levonorgestrel or copper IUDs, which are expected to remain in place for at least three years, or depoprovera injections which must be repeated every three months. While women report physical side effects such as patternless vaginal bleeding with both IUDs and implants, removal requires medical intervention and women are often persuaded that the symptoms will subside, and asked to try the devices a little longer. Between 80-85% of women still use the devices one year after insertion. Reports of side effects are limited to physical symptoms.

Apparently, no one has asked these predominantly low-income young women how they feel about being sexually available at all times, nor has anyone published figures for the occurrence or incidence of sexually transmitted infections among LARC users. However, a recent U.S. Public Health Service study of 15–19-year-old low-income girls found that half were sexually active.[3] According to the study, the overall incidence of the most common infections—chlamydia, human papilloma virus, herpes, and gonorrhea—was 26% for the total group. As only half the group was sexually active, it is reasonable to conclude that their disease burden was 50%. Their number of partners was not reported, so one can only speculate about the girls’ relationships or self-esteem. By 2015, the Center for Disease Control reports skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly high among 15–19-year-old women.

A healthier approach to sex education and family planning

There is a better approach to helping youths manage their emerging sexuality and fertility. We began Teen STAR in 1980. STAR stands for Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility. With parental permission, Teen STAR students explore and discuss the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of sexuality and fertility. Girls learn to observe their fertility cycle, boys learn to understand their changing body and how to master its reactions. In religious settings the Theology of the Body is taught explicitly, but even in secular settings the sexual relationship is taught as part of procreation. Behavioral outcomes of program participants from the Americas, France, Uganda, and Ethiopia show excellent support for both primary and secondary abstinence.[4]

Indeed, natural means of recognition of times of fertility and infertility are available, reliable, and offer well-documented options that are free, both of side-effects and cost. Yet only a small number of couples follow any of these natural methods of family planning as they are seldom taught integrally to medical students. If the woman has the temerity to ask about natural methods, her physician either:

  1. does not know much about them;
  2. says they don’t work; (Most patient information inserts in contraceptive pill packages still cite a 25% failure rate for typical use of natural methods. This figure is the sum for modern NFP methods [described below], calendar rhythm, and “home methods.” The 2016 FDA-approved package inserts of contraceptive medications still cite the 25% failure rate. [See any contraceptives described in PDR Physicians Desk Reference 2016]. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists only began to cite more contemporary figures in their April 2015 ‘FAQ’.)
  3. belongs to a small select group who do know and advocate for fertility awareness based methods.

In 2013 the NIH offered $3,000,000 for proposals to produce non-hormonal contraceptives. (No active projects are on record—either no one applied, or none were funded.) But they need have looked no further, and saved taxpayer funds in the process.

Managing a couple’s fertility to regulate their family size can be achieved by understanding and heeding the physical sign(s) of a woman’s cyclic fertility. A man’s fertility begins at puberty and remains constant until age or disease reduce or remove it. A woman’s fertility begins at puberty and ends at menopause. As the egg cell matures in its follicle in each cycle, its rising estrogen causes the production of a changing mucus in her cervix which she can feel and see at the opening of her vagina. The discharge usually begins as a fairly dense material but becomes more fluid and slippery over the course of several days. The last day the mucus is slippery, clear and stringy is usually the day of ovulation. Couples who wish to conceive will ensure marital intercourse on the days of lubricative mucus; couples who wish to postpone conception will follow rules to avoid intercourse on the days of fertility, as it is known that sperm will survive for 3–5 days in the mucus which precedes ovulation.

Currently the Billings Ovulation Method, the Creighton Model, and Georgetown’s TwoDay Method rely on the mucus biomarker alone, while CCL (the Couple to Couple League) and Northwest Family Services add the postovulatory rise of the woman’s basal body temperature as well as a calendar calculation to determine the beginning and end of the couple’s fertile phase. The Marquette Model adds urinary testing for estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH, the hormone which triggers ovulation) rise, as well as mucus and sometimes temperature observation, while LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method) and Georgetown’s SDM (Standard Days Method) rely on calendar calculations alone. All these methods have been professionally researched and need to be learned correctly from providers (or internet) and followed consistently to enable couples to manage their fertility reliably.

Fertility is not a disease.

The advent of non-coital methods of contraception gave rise to a highly lucrative industry which alters women’s bodies to remove their healthy fertility. Contraceptives are promoted aggressively and are now enshrined as a human “right” for which our government pays directly or by coercing third party payers.

The Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Mandate has limited the options for birth spacing to commodities approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Evidently the administration assumes that women want to include or exclude their fertility from any heterosexual encounter at will, and that they can do so without suffering any personal, physical, emotional, or spiritual sequelae.

By treating fertility as a disease, medicine today is close to coming full circle when it comes to ethics. Before Hippocrates, physicians might be either healers or killers. Hippocrates and his school taught that the function of the physician was to cure disease when possible, and relieve pain when cure was not possible. The physician-patient relationship was a fiduciary one, which obliged the practitioner to professional conduct irrespective of payment and to confidentiality. Altering or removing healthy organs was, and is, mutilation. Sadly, once this line was crossed with IVF (in vitro fertilization), manipulation and outright killing of embryos and fetuses became commonplace in Western medicine.

There is no need to remove fertility from the body of a woman or a man to allow them to have sexually fulfilling lives. What is needed is for men to understand the signs of the woman’s cyclic fertility and to behave in accordance with their family-building intentions.[5]

Featured Photo: Annabelle Shemer; CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.

[1] Bradley, Sarah E.K., T.N. Croft and S.O. Rutstein. The impact of contraceptive failure on unintended births and induced abortions: Estimates and strategies for reduction. 2013. Demography and health division, ICF Macro, Calverton MD.

[2] Skovlund, C.W., Morch L.S, Kessing, L.V. Association of Hormonal Contraception with Depression. 2016 JAMA Psychiatry publ. online Sep. 28,2016. (doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2387)

[3] Forhan et. al. Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis among Female Adolescents in the United States: Data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004. MMWR Weekly. August 24, 2007/56(33); 852.

[4] See Cabezón CVigil PRojas ILeiva MERiquelme RAranda WGarcía C. Adolescent pregnancy prevention: An abstinence-centered randomized controlled intervention in a Chilean public high school. J Adolesc Health. 2005 Jan; 36(1): 64–9; and
Jorge Alvarado and Hanna Klaus. The PEPFAR Program in Ethiopia and Uganda: Two and three year post program behavioral outcomes. Presented at NFP preconference, Catholic Medical Association, October 12, 2016.

[5] Information about natural family planning providers is widely available online. The USCCB natural family planning office within the office of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth offers a diocese-wide directory.

Hanna Klaus, MD

Hanna Klaus, MD, is a Medical Mission Sister and OB/GYN who directs the Natural Family Planning Center of Washington, D.C., and is co-founder of the TeenSTAR program. She has served in Pakistan and Bangladesh and on the faculties of Washington and St. Louis Universities in St. Louis, MO, and at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C.

 

Humanae Vitae was prophetic…and right!

Could ‘flushing’ fallopian tubes displace IVF?

Michael Cook

If a couple is having trouble conceiving after a year, or even as little as six months, they often head off to an IVF clinic.

However, as advocates of natural family planning have been saying for decades, the costly, emotionally draining and ethically contentious process of IVF many not be necessary.

And now the fertility industry could have another strong competitor. A cheap, simple, time-tested fertility remedy has been proved to be even more effective than IVF.

For a hundred years, doctors have checked whether a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked by flushing them with iodised poppy seed oil. Although the test is purely diagnostic, many women claimed that it helped them to become pregnant.

And now a team of Dutch and Australian researchers has shown that it really does help.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared the benefits of flushing the fallopian tubes with either an oil-based or water-based solution in 1119 women.

The procedure, known as hysterosalpingography (HSG), is a dye test of the fallopian tubes conducted under X-ray. The procedure was first carried out in 1917, and since the 1950s both water-based and oil-based solutions have been used.

“Over the past century, pregnancy rates among infertile women reportedly increased after their tubes had been flushed with either water or oil during this X-ray procedure. Until now, it has been unclear whether the type of solution used in the procedure was influencing the change in fertility,” says Professor Ben Mol, a Dutch doctor at the University of Adelaide, in South Australia. He himself was conceived after his mother underwent such a procedure.

“Our results have been even more exciting than we could have predicted, helping to confirm that an age-old medical technique still has an important place in modern medicine,” he says. Almost 40 percent of infertile women in the oil group and 29 percent of infertile women in the water group achieved successful pregnancies within six months of the technique being performed.

“This is an important outcome for women who would have had no other course of action other than to seek IVF treatment. It offers new hope to infertile couples,” Professor Mol says. Writing in The Conversation, he noted that the technique has some big advantages over IVF:

Tubal flushing has several advantages over IVF, including that the benefit persists over time, while IVF only helps for the current cycle. Tubal flushing also helps achieve an otherwise natural conception, and its costs are around A$600, a fraction of the cost of a A$10,000 IVF cycle. IVF also has a heavy impact on emotional wellbeing and sometimes causes medical complications.

In our study, 40 percent of women undergoing HSG with an oil-based contrast achieved a successful pregnancy within six months. That’s 40 percent of couples with unexplained infertility who could avoid the huge financial and emotional costs associated with undergoing IVF treatment.

Until he embarked on this study, Professor Mol had no idea that he himself was the result of a successful pregnancy following such a procedure. In the 1960s, after being considered infertile for nine years, his mother underwent an HSG which, coincidentally, also used the poppy-seed oil. “It was only after I started researching this technique that my family told me what had happened,” Professor Mol says.

“My mother went from being infertile for many years to becoming pregnant, and I was born in 1965. I also have a younger brother. So it’s entirely possible – in fact, based on our team’s research, it’s highly likely – that my brother and I are both the result of this technique helping my mother to achieve fertility.”

A leading Australian IVF practitioner, Dr David Molloy, dismissed the news, saying that IVF patients have more complex fertility issues. “They are totally different populations of patients,” he told the ABC. “One is a low-risk group starting out at the very start of their infertility journey that have got virtually nothing wrong with them, and our IVF patients are a higher risk group.”

Scepticism about procedures which threaten the status (and profitability) of IVF is to be expected. But a big dollop of scepticism about IVF is needed, too.

IVF was adopted after the birth of Louise Brown in 1978 without the randomized control trials that doctors expect of nearly every other treatment. And ever since, according to research published earlier this year in a leading academic journal, Human Reproduction, “IVF patients are routinely offered and charged for a selection of adjunct treatments and tests or ‘add-ons’ that they are told may improve their chance of a live birth, despite there being no clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of the add-on.”

Fertility experts often exploit women’s longing for children by offering “new, improved” IVF techniques with little or no proof. One hundred years of proof backed up by formal research published in the world’s leading medical journal is worth investigating.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/will-flushing-fallopian-tubes-displace-ivf/19838#sthash.30Jgwhhm.dpuf

This new technology could produce babies from skin cells

http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=15601

Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to manipulate skin cells into creating a human baby.
However, this groundbreaking research has caused push-back from some critics, like Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who says IVG would turn procreation into a transaction.

“IVG extends the faulty logic of IVF by introducing additional steps to the process of manipulating the origins of the human person, in order to satisfy the desires of customers and consumers,” Fr. Pacholczyk told EWTN News in an email interview.

“The technology also offers the possibility of introducing further fractures into parenthood, distancing children from their parents by multiplying the number of those involved in generating the child, so that 3-parent embryos, or even more parents, may become involved,” he continued.

IVG has been successfully tested by Japanese researchers on mice, which produced healthy babies derived from skin cells.

The process begins by taking the skin cells from the mouse’s tail and re-programing them to become induced pluripotent stem cells. These manipulated cells are able to grow different kinds of cells, and are then used to grow eggs and sperm, which are then fertilized in the lab. The resulting embryos are then implanted in a womb.

Although similar to in vitro fertilization, IVG eliminates the step of needing pre-existing egg and sperm, and instead creates these gametes

But many experts in the reproductive field are sceptical of its potential outcomes and ethical compromises.

“It gives me an unsettled feeling because we don’t know what this could lead to,” Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis, told the New York Times.

Knoepfler noted that some of the potential repercussions of IVG could turn into “cloning” or “designer babies.” Other dangers could include the “Brad Pitt scenario,” in which celebrity’s skin cells retrieved from random places, like hotel rooms, could be used to create a baby.

Potentially anyone’s skin cells could be used to create a baby, even without their knowledge or consent.

In an issue of Science Translational Medicine earlier this year, a trio of academics – a Harvard Law professor, the dean of Harvard Medical School, and a medical science professor at Brown – wrote that IVG “may raise the specter of ‘embryo farming’ on a scale currently unimagined, which might exacerbate concerns about the devaluation of human life.”

They added that “refining the science of IVG to the point of clinical use will involve the generation and likely destruction of large numbers of embryos from stem cell–derived gametes” and the process “may exacerbate concerns regarding human enhancement.”

Fr. Pacholczyk also pointed to further concerns, saying IVG disrupts the uniqueness of every individual’s sex cells.

“I.V.G raises additional concerns because of the way it manipulates human sex cells. Our sex cells, or gametes, are special cells. They uniquely identify us,” Fr. Pacholczyk stated.

“It is most unfortunate that overwhelming parental desires are being permitted to trump and distort the right order of transmitting human life,” he continued.

Fr. Pacholczyk said that processes like IVG “enable a consumerist mentality that holds that children are ‘projects’ to be realized through commercial transactions and laboratory techniques of gamete manipulation.”

The Catholic Church teaches that IVF and similar reproductive technologies are morally illicit for several reasons, including their separation of procreation from the conjugal act and the creation of embryos which are discarded.

Pope Francis recently spoke out against the destruction of human embryos, saying that no good result from research can justify the destruction of embryos.

“Some branches of research use human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction. But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves – such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society – can justify the destruction of human embryos,” the Holy Father said May 18.

Although IVG has proven successful in mice, there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out before it is tested on humans, and will entail years more of tedious bioengineering.

However, Fr. Pacholczyk hopes that potential parents will come to realize that children should not products that can be ordered or purchased by consumers, and should rather be seen as a gift.

“Turning commercial laboratories to create children on our behalf is an unethical step in the direction of treating our offspring as objects to be planned and created in the pursuit of parental gratification, rather than gifts received from the Lord.”

Moms are turning ‘extra’ embryos into jewelry. It’s not just barbaric, it’s demonic

Judie Brown

May 9, 2017 (ALL) — The latest fashion news from Australia is truly demonic: “Human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, as well as other bodily parts and fluids, can be transformed into jewelry.”

Baby Bee Hummingbirds, the company manufacturing these trinkets, is known for creating keepsakes containing such things such as breast milk and umbilical cords. Its latest product, the “leftover” human embryos from a couple’s IVF cycle, is, according to company founder Amy McGlade, a work of art. McGlade stated: “I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world.” McGlade says that this pioneering art of embryo jewelry is her way of giving couples “the everlasting tangible keepsake of a loved one that you can have forever.”

Naturally, many people find this disturbing. Writer Simcha Fisher is as disturbed about this latest Australian fad as we are, and in response to McGlade’s sentimental query “What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?” wrote:

Well, you could let him live, I suppose. You could allow him the basic dignity of spending time in the womb of his mother, to live or not, to grow or not, but at least to have a chance. You could celebrate the life of your child by giving him some small gift of warmth and softness, however brief, rather than letting him travel in an insulated pouch from lab to lab, frozen and sterile from beginning to end. You could conceive a child so as to give him life, and you could rise like a human should above the blind proliferation of biology.

Precisely!

Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network expressed her disgust as well: “It’s so undignified that these embryos have been destroyed to become jewelry. . . . I thought, ‘My gosh, it really has hit rock bottom.’”

But what many people apparently do not see is that the floor—or should I say the underside—of rock bottom where the synergies of evil reside is the practice of IVF itself. That is where the lack of respect for the dignity of human beings actually begins.

The Catholic Church has long held that, from a merely humane view of the child, we must realize that nobody has a right to a child. We must also understand that every child has the right to be procreated within a marriage and to have a stable family from the beginning. And certainly no child should ever be strung around someone’s neck in a piece of jewelry.

During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the document Dignitas Personae in which it stated: “The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act: human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure—in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction—leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being.”

There is no doubt that the progeny of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies has done nothing to restore respect for the dignity of the human person. On the contrary, it has contributed to a cultural attitude that the human embryonic child is a thing, a possession, and a biological sample that can be accepted, destroyed, or frozen in time in a piece of jewelry.

Business enterprises like Baby Bee Hummingbirds gain traction in society because the bearing of a child has become nothing more than a mechanical function. And that, my friends, has taken the jewelry business to a new hellish low.

Reprinted with permission from American Life League.

 

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood

Tightening of laws in other countries fuels U.S. market, but not all states are relaxing statutes OSV Newsweekly

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood  Modern technology for nearly two decades has made it possible for infertile couples to use the wombs of other women, known as surrogates, to have their biological children. But cultural changes, a crackdown in international surrogacy and high-profile endorsements from celebrities experiencing fertility issues, including Kim Kardashian and Tyra Banks, have resulted in increased demand for surrogacy in the United States.

Surrogacy involves contracting with a woman to carry a child conceived through artificial means, such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Many fertility companies recommend gestational surrogacy, where couples have their own IVF-manufactured embryo implanted into a surrogate mother, in order to decrease her likelihood of forming an attachment to the child she carried.

Patchwork of laws

International surrogacy arrangements have been popular because of the inexpensiveness of the procedure, compared to the United States. Whereas a surrogate pregnancy can cost $100,000 or more in the United States, similar arrangements would cost a third or less in countries like India or Thailand. In 2012, an estimated 20,000 children were born through international commercial surrogacy.

But beginning in 2015, the most popular countries for international surrogacy banned the practice: Thailand, Nepal, India and Mexico all issued instructions to prevent foreigners from using their citizens as surrogates. As these countries enacted new regulations, though, other countries, like Cambodia, become hubs for surrogacy tourism.

But the uncertainty of international surrogacy has made the United States a more attractive location for couples, despite the high price tag for an American surrogate. Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, told Our Sunday Visitor that the closure of other countries to international surrogacy has “most certainly” led to an increase of the industry in the United States, because “we have very favorable and friendly laws here.”

Church’s Concern For Those Seeking Parenthood
The suffering of unanticipated childlessness is real. Spouses may feel they have somehow failed, that they are inadequate in a basic aspect of their marital life. Their pain may even be aggravated by regret or guilt over past contraceptive use, sterilization, abortion, or other factors that can contribute to infertility. The sight of other couples’ children may make them yearn for a child all the more and add to their distress. Infertility can affect a couple’s sexual relationship and the stability of their marriage. It may even affect relationships with parents and in-laws who express disappointment at the absence of grandchildren. Catholic couples may feel this pain even more deeply as they hear the Church praise family life and teach that children are “the supreme gift of marriage” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 50).

In addition, Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a right to marriage for same-sex couples, has removed in many states the barriers to these couples being listed as legal parents of a child, and many fertility clinics target their services to gay men looking to hire a surrogate.

The domestic fertility market, which the investment bank Harris Williams & Co. estimated at a value of $3-4 billion, lacks a coherent legal framework in the United States. In contrast to other western nations, there is little federal or state oversight of the industry, and laws vary among states.

“The surrogacy laws around the country are kind of a patchwork quilt,” Jason Adkins, executive director for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, told OSV. While some states like Indiana or New York prohibit surrogacy agreements because they are contrary to the public good, others like California enjoy a booming business in surrogacy.

Other states have recently passed legislation allowing for gestational surrogacy. Last year Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who identifies as pro-life, signed legislation recognizing surrogacy contracts for married, heterosexual couples. New Hampshire has passed even less restrictive legislation, as has the District of Columbia.

Fertility clinics thrive in states where surrogacy agreements giving all parental rights to the contracting couple can be enforced in court. In such an arrangement, the contracting couple are listed as the parents on the birth certificate, and not the surrogate mother who delivered the child.

Pushing back on surrogacy

In states like Minnesota, where the law has not explicitly guaranteed the parental rights of a contracting couple, the fertility industry has repeatedly sought “enabling legislation, not regulations of surrogacy,” Adkins said.

If states “create a legal mechanism by which contracts are honored and enforced, it really creates a legal framework for the surrogacy market to flourish and grow.”

As states continue to pass legislation supportive of surrogacy, Minnesota represents a rare bright spot for those opposed to contracting women to carry children. Adkins credits the state’s success to stepping back from an emotionally fraught legislative environment.

“You’re not going to have rational discourse in the context of a heated legislative environment in which people need to take votes,” said Adkins.

The state created a bipartisan commission to hear evidence on the issue during several months of meetings, and it issued its report in December 2016. While a bill to enforce surrogacy contracts was sponsored in the 2017 legislative session, it died in committee.

Adkins told OSV that while “the moral teaching is clear” from the Church on surrogacy, the issue fails to attract the same attention or coordination of resources as abortion and assisted suicide do, even though abortion frequently plays a role in surrogacy, through selective reduction of implanted embryos or requests by parents to abort children with birth defects.

“Sometimes we overlook the key life and bioethics questions that aren’t directly related to abortion,” he said, “and that’s a significant deficit in the national Church.”

Pastoral care needed

The desire to have children propels the surrogacy industry, which presents the Church with the challenge to do more to recognize and address the particular role that infertile couples have. Timothy O’Malley, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and founding editor of Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization, told OSV that the Church is not providing enough pastoral care in this area.

“If you’re infertile as a couple, the only advice you’re going to get is from your doctor. No one in the Church is there for you, except for a couple of resources you might find online,” he said.

For O’Malley, infertility can serve as a charism of authentic marriage because “in the Catholic imagination, marriage is not reducible to having children, but is really a conjugal bond of love shared between husband and wife.” While children are often a gift of that love, “there are a variety of gifts that are not reducible to having children, and the infertile can have these gifts whether or not they have children.” O’Malley said that parishes and dioceses can value the marriages of the infertile in the pulpit, but also address their needs through diocesan support groups.

“It’s not just saying, well, let’s fix it for you, it’s saying that not being able to have children can become a particular icon of love for the Church, and it can lead to adoption, it can lead to foster care, but it can also lead to other spiritual gifts and renewal that can take place.”

Nicholas W. Smith writes from New York.

Study finds most women unable to track fertility

https://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/most-women-unable-to-track-fertility/19562

Shannon Roberts | Mar 28 2017

With infertility more common than ever and birth rates around the world at a record low, a crucial first step for couples trying to get pregnant is to clearly understand exactly when they are fertile.  Yet that is something just 13 per cent of women surveyed were able to identify according to a new study just published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which surveyed over 1000 New Zealand women.  That was despite a third of the women reporting that they monitored their ovulation.

The authors concluded that fertility knowledge needs to be better addressed among women intending to conceive.  Professor Wayne Gillett, a researcher at the university’s Dunedin School of Medicine and medical director at Fertility Associates Dunedin commented:

“When a couple are trying to have a baby, problems like age, endometriosis and male problems are always touted – but no one ever considers knowledge, and that’s one of the things we often see,”

Gillett said there was one enduring myth that the best time in the menstrual cycle to conceive was during, or even after, ovulation, when the reality is that the fertile window is pre-ovulation.  He expressed concern that even health professionals are not well-educated about a woman’s fertile window.
An article discussing infertility published in the New Zealand media this month comically writes “at high school we’re taught that if you so much as look at a girl strangely, she’ll get pregnant.”  Sadly many indeed carry this idea into adulthood after years of only being told how not to get pregnant.  However, given that interest in natural family planning continues to grow, it is hopeful that fertility knowledge will be better circulated, including the knowledge that fertility begins to reduce in a woman’s late twenties and more drastically after the age of 35.
One in six couples in Australia use IVF, and one in every 25 Australian children are now born as a result of IVF. In Denmark one in 15 children are IVF babies.  Yet it is questionable whether people are first given good advice about the other more simple and inexpensive options available to them – including accurate knowledge about their exact fertile window which is normally only 6 days long if not shorter.  To some, IVF services are a business and there is little incentive to first offer easier, cheaper options to couples.

John Aitken, Newcastle University laureate professor, Director of the University of Newcastle’s large 50-staff Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science, and the 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year,  recently commented:

“We should guard against recklessly marching into a future where we use too much assisted conception in order to compensate for our loss of fertility … It’s an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next.”

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Let’s say you are 33 years old and got married a year ago. In the past ten years, you have been using a variety of hormonal birth control methods. Now you and your husband are looking forward to starting a family. You get off the pill, hopeful and a bit anxious as you know time is working against you. You try for eight months and nothing happens.

You start getting concerned, and you talk your doctor into putting you on Clomid, a drug to stimulate ovulation. This drug actually lowers your chances of conceiving, unbeknownst to you. A few months later, you get your first appointment at a fertility clinic where you discuss Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), bracing yourself for several months of treatment and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

But could all that anxiety, doctor visits and interventions be completely unnecessary?

The pill may not cause long-term infertility after discontinuation, but it can delay fertility by up to a year. The delay is caused by the pill’s impact on the production of cervical fluid, an essential component of conception. The delay can be critical as women tend to start their family much later in life now than in earlier decades, and may lead them to engaging into unnecessary fertility treatment.

It takes three to get pregnant

We were all taught in high school biology or sex-ed that it took and a sperm and an egg (an ovule) to make pregnancy happen. What is often left out of this equation is the cervical fluid, aka cervical mucus.

In order for the sperm to survive more than a few hours in the vagina, and then have the energy reserves to travel through the uterus all the way to the fallopian tubes and maybe wait for the egg to arrive, it needs good quality fertile cervical fluid.

Cervical fluid is secreted by the cervix; it changes in aspect and properties as ovulation approaches. At the time of ovulation, it becomes stretchy, almost like raw egg whites, and allows the sperm to go through the cervix into the uterus. Before and after ovulation, the fluid is thick and blocks access to the uterus, a wonderful mechanism to protect the womb from infection. It also naturally prevents fertilization during a major part of the cycle.

Without sufficient, good quality mucus, no baby.

The way hormonal contraceptives work to stop pregnancy

Hormonal contraceptives, as generally documented in scientific literature, don’t work merely by suppressing ovulation. Another mechanism is the effect on the production of mucus, thickening it consistently throughout the cycle, providing a barrier in case ovulation still takes place (which does happen).

How does it work? The cervix normally follows the marching orders of hormones. With the use of contraceptives, the synthetic hormones take over the natural ones and run the cervix in a non-natural way to produce consistently this type of non-fertile mucus.

So far so good. What’s wrong with a secondary barrier to make sure pregnancy doesn’t happen when that’s the reason why the woman is on the pill in the first place?

Here is how things get more complicated.

The impact of the pill on the production of cervical fluid

Professor Erik Odeblad is one of the first scientists to use MRI technology for a medical purpose. A Swedish physician, professor and researcher born in 1922, he spent most of his life studying and explaining the secretion of cervical fluid: the various types of fluids at different stages in a woman’s cycle and in her life, and their role and composition.

One of his discoveries was to show that there are different types of mucus[i], which he called G, L, S. Each has different roles and is secreted from different cervical crypts (the pockets lining the cervix) at different times. For instance,  right after puberty, a young woman has an abundance of S crypts, and as she ages, the number decreases and are replaced by L crypts. S mucus is the type of mucus that is essential to fertilization: it allows passage and then transports and nourishes sperm.

What Dr. Odeblad found was that “for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” He explains that: “If a woman takes the Pill for 10-15 years and then ceases taking it in order to achieve pregnancy, she may encounter some difficulties.”

In simple terms, a 20-year-old woman who stays on the pill for 10 years can end up with the cervix of a 40 year-old with 20% of S crypts instead of 40-50%. It can take a long time after a woman stops the pill for her cervix, and especially the S crypts, to function again. Her cervix may never recover some of those lost capacities.

To make matters worse, if she gets on Clomid, thinking it will increase her chance of pregnancy, it will do the opposite: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid. A thorough evaluation of both her ovulation and of her mucus production is needed.

Why it matters more today

Woman are waiting longer to start their families now that in the past. In 1970, most women had their first pregnancy in their early 20s. The average age of first child birth was 22. Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. More women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970 to almost one in three in 2014[ii].

If these women have been on the pill, as many have been, it’s no surprise that they would experience more difficulties getting pregnant. As the cervix may take up to a year to retrieve a functioning production of mucus, many couples may be directed to drastic medical procedures, such as IVF, a costly and emotionally difficult process. If they waited or found other ways to improve the production of their cervical mucus, they could resolve their problem. Some good news: a pregnancy will rejuvenate the cervix by 2 to 3 years.

Here is the scoop: as a result of being on the pill for an extended time, a woman may not be able to conceive for up to a year, leading her to think she’s infertile, when she’s not! Her fertility is certainly impaired, but medication to stimulate ovulation will actually aggravate the problem.

We find here yet another great reason why young women who are hoping to get pregnant one day should avoid hormonal birth control all together and use a Fertility Awareness Based Method. Not only will these methods preserve their fertility, but when the couple is ready to achieve a pregnancy, the knowledge gained through training in a FABM will help them reach that goal more quickly and easily.

Other readings on this topic:

http://www.naturalfamilyplanning.ie/effects-of-the-pill/

https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/about-atrophy-reproductive-aging-and-how-it%E2%80%99s-really-not-nice-to-fool-mother-nature-%E2%80%93-or-with/

[i] The Discovery of Different Types of Cervical Mucus and the Billings Ovulation Method, Erik Obledad, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, Sweden,  Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, 27 Alexandra Parade, North Fitzroy, Victoria 3068, Australia, Volume 21, Number 3, pages 3-35, September 1994.

[ii] First Births to Older Mothers, 1970-86 – NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349777/pdf/amjph00238-0089.pdf  and First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise , NCHS Data Brief No. 152, May 2014 by T.J. Mathews, M.S.; and Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db152.htm

 

Professor Warns IVF is Producing a Generation of Infertile Children Prone to Cancer

Life News

Micaiah Bilger   Nov 28, 2016   |   7:22PM    Washington, DC

invitro11

The controversial infertility procedure in vitro fertilization may lead to a greater risk of infertility and cancer in children conceived through the procedure, an Australian researcher says.

University of Newcastle laureate professor John Aitken, a world-renowned expert on male fertility, warned about the negative effects of over-using in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to conceive, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In the past decade, couples experiencing infertility or waiting until later in life to get pregnant have increasingly turned to IVF to conceive. The procedure involves harvesting sperm and eggs and using them to create living, human embryos outside the womb; the embryos then are implanted in the woman’s womb.

One of the problems with the procedure is that most couples have more embryos created than they will use. Sometimes the leftover embryos are destroyed or donated to research. Others believe the procedure has commoditized human life.

Aitken said the children conceived through IVF and born also are being impacted. He said the infertility procedure, which is used by one in six couples in Australia, is producing a new generation of infertile children. He also pointed to research showing that male children conceived through IVF to aging fathers were more likely to get cancer.

“There is a negative pay-off,” Aitken said, citing new research in Belgium about male infertility. “If you have a son from this process, it is possible that he too will have the same pathology that you had.”

Studies also have linked IVF to Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. A 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control found an increased risk of birth defects among children conceived through IVF. The Mayo Clinic reports it also can increase the risk of multiple births, which can have negative effects on the babies, including premature birth and low birth weight.

Aitken expressed serious concern at society’s heavy reliance on assisted conception through procedures like IVF. In Australia, one in 25 babies are now born after being conceived through in vitro fertilization, according to the report. The rate in which couples use IVF is increasing in the U.S., too. Aitken blamed the infertility industry for ignoring that male infertility problems often are to blame, and that IVF should not always be the solution.

“Its an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next,” he said.

Another bioethics concern with IVF is the screening of eggs and embryos for health problems, as well as qualities desired by the couple. Some fear that couples are using the screening to pick and choose their child’s traits.

 

Shocking Report Reveals Scientists Have Created the Word’s First Baby With Three-Parents

A shocking new report claims the world’s first three-parent baby (pictured above) has been born. Children born through ‘three-person IVF’ would contain some genetic material from each of three different people.

There are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases (MCDs), which are passed on in genes coded by mitochondrial (as opposed to nuclear) DNA. They range hugely in severity, but for most there is presently no cure and little other than supportive treatment. The goal behind creating “designer babies” with three parents is to eliminate such diseases.

But there are good reasons for pro-life people to be concerned about the process and the eugenics-based reasons behind it.

Here’s more on the infant born from three parents:

It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.”

The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of the child, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists.

The boy’s mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. Genes for the disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria, which provide energy for our cells and carry just 37 genes that are passed down to us from our mothers. This is separate from the majority of our DNA, which is housed in each cell’s nucleus.

Around a quarter of her mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation. While she is healthy, Leigh syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children. The couple sought out the help of John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.
Dr. Peter Saunders, a pro-life physician in England, has commented on the ethical problems with three-parent embryos:

This is not about finding a cure. It is about preventing people with MCD being born. We need first to be clear that these new technologies, even if they are eventually shown to work, will do nothing for the thousands of people already suffering from mitochondrial disease or for those who will be born with it in the future.

Is it safe? This is far from established. Each technique involves experimental reproductive cloning techniques and germline genetic engineering, both highly controversial and potentially very dangerous. Cloning by nuclear transfer has so far proved ineffective in humans and unsafe in other mammals with a large number of cloned individuals spontaneously aborting and many others suffering from physical abnormalities or limited lifespans. Also, any changes, or unpredicted genetic problems (mutations) will be passed to future generations. In general, the more manipulation needed, the higher the severity and frequency of problems in resulting embryos and fetuses.

Is it ethical? No, there are huge ethical issues. A large number of human eggs will be needed for the research, involving ‘harvesting’ that is both risky and invasive for women donors. How many debt-laden students or desperate infertile women will be exploited and incentivised by being offered money or free IVF treatment in return for their eggs? How many thousands of human embryos will be destroyed? If it ever works, what issues of identity confusion will arise in children with effectively three biological parents? What does preventing those with mitochondrial disease being born say about how we value people already living with the condition? Where will this selection end? Some mitochondrial diseases are much less serious than others. Once we have judged some affected babies not worthy of being conceived, where do we draw the line, and who should draw it?

In Poland, the government wishes to fund NaProTech rather than IVF

http://www.genethique.org/en/poland-government-wishes-fund-naprotech-rather-ivf-65384.html#.V1iP_Dbmpdh

In December, the new Polish Government[1] decided to terminate State funding of the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme with effect from mid-2016 (cf. Poland: the government announces cessation of IVF reimbursement). The Health Minister, Konstanty Radziwill, completed this announcement: He wishes to integrate a “national programme for procreation”. It will suggest NaProTech solutions “that don’t provoke as much controversy as in vitro fertilisation.

During a press conference, the Polish Health Minister gave more details concerning his projects: diagnosis, treatment of infertility, as well as preventive measures will be funded within the new programme announced. “Treating infertility cannot be limited to IVF, the government must be able to suggest other solutions, and fund them equally”. Konstanty Radziwill used the word “abuse” to qualify the fact of suggesting IVF to infertile couples without looking for the cause of their infertility. He wishes to develop NaProTech which is not only less expensive[2] and simpler but also more effective without bringing up ethical issues.

Short for Natural Procreative Technology, NaProTech was developed by the American Professor Thomas W. Hilgers, obstetrician-gynaecologist, specialist in reproductive medicine. While medically assisted fertilisation avoids the causes of infertility, NaProTech looks at treating the underlying causes of infertility and offers results that speak for themselves: women of about 35 years old who have been trying to conceive a child for 5 years have a probability of success between 40% and 50% thanks to this method. For couples experiencing repeated miscarriages, 80% can hope to carry their pregnancy to term.

[1] Elected in October 2015.
[2] The Minister for Health reminded the people that in Ireland, Slovenia, and Luxemburg IVF procedures are not reimbursed, although “these countries are richer than Poland”.

Groundbreaking method of natural family planning helped 90% of infertile couples conceive: study

June 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A study conducted by one of the pioneers of natural family planning found that there are inexpensive, highly effective ways for couples to achieve pregnancy without artificial fertility treatments.

Mercedes Wilson, a fertility expert and the president and founder of Family of the Americas, conducted the study, called Natural, Scientific and Highly Effective Treatment for Infertility, with Family of the Americas staff. Wilson has presented the study’s findings at medical conferences and the Pontifical Academy for Life, of which she is a member.

The study was conducted from January 2010 to April 2014 and outlines the effectiveness and simplicity of what Wilson calls the Ovulation Method, which teaches women to recognize natural indicators of their fertility in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy. Wilson’s study found that an overwhelming 90.74 percent of couples struggling to conceive who used her method, which emphasizes nutrition and a holistic approach to the woman’s health, were able to achieve pregnancy.

Wilson studied 54 couples whose struggles with infertility ranged anywhere from 1-12 years. Over the course of just over four years, 50 of the couples achieved pregnancy. The study stresses that the methods it used are essentially free and easy to learn, making them ideal for couples with limited financial resources. The only cost to the method is its educational component.

By contrast, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), an artificial method of combining egg and sperm in a Petri dish to create an embryo and then implanting it into the mother’s uterus, has a success rate of anywhere from 20 to 40 percent. IVF typically costs upwards of $15,000 per cycle. The procedure frequently results in the destruction of “extra,” unwanted human embryos or selective abortion if a woman becomes pregnant with multiple babies.

Natural, Scientific and Highly Effective Treatment for Infertility detailed how the Ovulation Method of natural family planning has been successful in helping couples conceive despite their sometimes past use of artificial contraception.

“Couples from low income brackets, particularly in the cities of poor nations around the world are not informed of the serious side effects of artificial methods of birth control, and its abortifacient effect,” the study notes. Low-income women are frequently pressured into using artificial contraception, the study says, which results in health problems and fertility issues.

One 33-year-old woman was “given the three month Depo-Provena injection after miscarriages, an unfortunate medical procedure.” The contraceptive injection caused her to bleed for 23 days. After taking vitamins and maintaining good nutritional intake, she ultimately was able to conceive and deliver a baby girl.

“Because the poor are humble, they are afraid to question the recommendation of the doctors who often do not instruct them on the serious side effects of such dangerous hormonal chemicals of birth control,” the study noted.

Another woman who had had one miscarriage and had never used artificial birth control was able to regulate her cycle by taking vitamins. She also conceived and delivered a baby.

The study outlines the positive effects on fertility that nutrition and decreased stress can have. Many times women who are overweight, underweight, excessively exercise, or excessively work have difficulty conceiving, the study said, and teaching them to naturally improve their health and monitor their bodies for signs of fertility is sometimes all that is necessary for them to conceive.

Although the study is small and will likely need to be replicated in order to solidify its authority to the medical community, the authors say it shows that artificial reproductive technologies and hormonal contraceptives are not the all-encompassing solution to infertility.

Scientists say life begins at conception with a flash of light

May 3, 2016 (LiveActionNews) — Abortion advocates often claim as a defense of abortion that no one can really, truly define the moment life begins. Without knowing that, they say, there’s no real argument against abortion. Consider, for example, Melissa Harris-Perry’s insistence that life begins “whenever you feel like it does.” Obama famously said that the question of when life begins was above his pay grade. While the science of embryology has long been settled, it’s still not good enough for abortion activists.

But a new scientific breakthrough might go a long way towards changing hearts and minds: scientists have been able to capture the moment life begins, with a bright flash of light as a new life is conceived…

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

egg6-large_

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in…animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

The photos included were not of actual embryos being created — the scientists used a sperm enzyme to replicate the incredible moment that life begins.

Unfortunately, rather than using this discovery to defend life, scientists are using it to better discern which lives to destroy.

Researchers from Northwestern University, in Chicago, noticed that some of the eggs burn brighter than others, showing that they are more likely to produce a healthy baby.

… “This means if you can look at the zinc spark at the time of fertilization, you will know immediately which eggs are the good ones to transfer in in vitro fertilization.

“It’s a way of sorting egg quality in a way we’ve never been able to assess before. “All of biology starts at the time of fertilization, yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

So basically, the scientists are advocating for embryos to be created in order to facilitate IVF, and then destroyed if they don’t seem to be the healthiest, strongest embryos. The ones with a dimmer glow are deemed to be weaker, perhaps because of a genetic abnormality, and so after creating their unique lives, scientists plan to destroy them. This is even though science has also just confirmed that babies with abnormalities can self-correct while still in the womb. People who are undergoing IVF are often encouraged to destroy “defective” embryos, ending the lives that were just created, without giving the embryos any chance at all to grow and develop, and certainly without placing any value on the uniqueness of each human life.

As Secular Pro-Life pointed out:

[T]he article is refreshingly clear about conception being the point where life begins. There is no obfuscation. The very first line of the article is “Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.”

Which is why the rest of the article is so incredibly disturbing.

Agreed. It’s sad that such a life-affirming discovery is being used to further the culture of death.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

African families gravely threatened by Western governments, international agencies and Vatican departments

August 18, 2015 (VoiceoftheFamily) — John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn  Children, and co-founder of the international coalition Voice of the Family, spoke on 7th August at a two day pro-life conference organised by the bishops of Ghana. The conference was entitled “Protecting Life and Family Values in the continuing Culture of Death”.

In his talk to the conference Mr Smeaton outlined the threat posed to Africa by the international population control movement. He also drew attention to the collaboration between leading figures in that movement and important Vatican departments. He went on to give an overview of the threat posed to families, in Africa and around the world, by the instrumentum laboris of the Ordinary Synod, to be held in Rome in October this year. His full talk can be read below:

I begin by drawing your attention to National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200). The National Security Council of the United States completed a study in 1974 entitled Implications of the Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests known in short as NSSM 200.

NSSM 200, promoted and endorsed by Dr Henry Kissinger, President Nixon’s National Security Adviser, expressed the gravest fears that the political consequences of current population factors in the less developed countries might create “political or even national security problems for the US”.

A 1977 annual report on the implementation of NSSM 200 emphasises the strategic importance of using “intermediaries” such as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the World Bank and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), since they could operate in countries where the United States “are not now acceptable” thus avoiding the accusation of imperialism.

This is exactly what Marie Stopes International (MSI) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and others are doing in Ghana today. According to the IPPF website, Planned Parenthood Association Ghana, IPPF’s subsidiary, delivered in Ghana in the year 2011:

5.8 million condoms

330,000 contraceptive services

526,000 other sexual and reproductive health services

606,000 services to young people under 25 years

When International Planned Parenthood Federation refer to “reproductive health” they are referring to access to contraception and abortion – according to the definition of “reproductive health” used by the UNFPA and other UN bodies, governments such the current US administration and international anti-life NGOs such as IPPF and MSI.

On 26th March 2014 in New York, the International Planned Parenthood Federation co-hosted an event, particularly targeting African nations, to “present a declaration calling for universal access to safe and legal abortion”.

Let me say a little here about President Obama because his policies affect all of us, not least the people of Ghana. On October 12th 2009 the Obama administration confirmed at the UN that it would be promoting legalised abortion throughout the world, targeting adolescents in a worldwide abortion drive.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron has threatened to withhold UK aid from poor countries that do not conform and I quote: “British aid should have more strings attached”. David Cameron was speaking here in particular of the UK government’s homosexual rights agenda.

The homosexual rights agenda in my nation and in so many other nations represents a massive attack on the sanctity of human life for many reasons. For example, as you know, same-sex couples are now demanding the right to have children– making it even more difficult for pro-life groups effectively to oppose surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation. According to peer-reviewed research, for every baby born by IVF, 23 are either discarded, or frozen, or used in destructive experiments, or miscarry.  Defending the right to life of unborn children will increasingly be viewed as an attack on the rights of homosexual couples.

Morever, the homosexual rights’ agenda is a top priority for Planned Parenthood working here in Ghana.

Make no mistake, Planned Parenthood, hugely funded by the US government, the British government and the overwhelming majority of nations worldwide, are the enemy of Ghana’s children. In 2011, at the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council and other pro-abortion groups held a meeting to launch worldwide a massive programme of so-called comprehensive sex education entitled: “It’s All One Curriculum”.

The curriculum shows itself to be nakedly polemical rather than educational. It states:

“People can support or join movements for social change at the global level. For example: …youth-led networks for sexual and reproductive rights and services.” (p.231)

And on page 61 of their curriculum guidelines they advise educators: “Certain social movements promote greater equality and dignity within marriage. These include: movements to legalize same-sex marriage”.

In the same document, International Planned Parenthood Federation tell teachers of young children that sexual self-abuse is a human right. They say:

“Sexuality may be expressed by oneself … Sexuality — expressed alone…can be a source of pleasure and meaning in life. (p.84) “ … Masturbation is an important way that people learn about their bodies and sexuality … Masturbation is a safe sexual behavior. It is neither physically nor mentally harmful.” (p.99)]

This is the kind of thing which Planned Parenthood is delivering to your children here in Ghana. In their “Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme” which IPPF describes as a “‘ what young people want, what young people need’ programme” they target your 10 – 24 year-olds including underserved groups: The specific focus – an uptake of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The 3 year programme targets African young people in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal.”

IPPF Africa Region says: “ASK aims to ensure that young people … receive direct information on sexual and reproductive health and rights so that they can make independent informed decisions.” For a full appreciation of IPPF’s concept of sexual rights I urge you to study Sexual Rights: an IPPF Declaration.

Moreover, yesterday, a story in The Ghanaian Times reports that the Norweigan Development Agency is targeting thousands of your 15 – 25 year-old young women in poor and urban and peri-urban areas of Ghana to introduce them, amongst other things, to sexual and reproductive health – a term meaning access to contraception and abortion.

Powerful Western forces as I speak are seeking to control your population by corrupting your nation’s values, in particular by targeting the innocence of your children and young people.

In a book entitled Adam and Eve after the Pill – Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Mary Eberstadt, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, describes the teaching of Pope Paul VI inHumanae Vitae on regulation of birth, published on July 25, 1968, as “perhaps the most unfashionable, unwanted, and ubiquitously deplored moral teaching on earth”. She then goes on to show that the teaching of Humanae Vitae is in fact the “most thoroughly vindicated” moral teaching on earth “by the accumulation of secular, empirical, post-revolutionary fact”. In this connection, Mary Eberstadt cites Nobel-Prize winning economist George Akerlof. In a 1996 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Akerlof explains “why the sexual revolution, contrary to common prediction, especially those in and out of the church who wanted the teaching on birth control changed, had led to an increase in illegitimacy and abortion.” Mary Eberstadt continues: “In another work published in the Economic Journal in 1998, Akerlof traced the empirical connections between the decrease in marriage and married fatherhood for men – both clear consequences of the contraceptive revolution – and the simultaneous increase in behaviours to which single men appear more prone: substance abuse, incarceration, and arrests, to name just three.”

Mary Eberstadt in Adam and Eve and the Pill also says: “The years since Humanae Vitae have … vindicated the encyclical’s fear that government would use the new contraceptive technology coercively”.

In this connection, who can seriously doubt the effectiveness of powerful western nations and NGOs in promoting anti-life sex education programmes which seek to eliminate the role of parents as the primary educators and protectors of their children? This is a form of coercion on families which is resulting worldwide, not least in the UK my own country, in schoolchildren being given access to contraception and abortion without the knowledge of their parents, including in Catholic schools.

Thank God for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ghana for your witness on these fundamental matters. In particular, I congratulate and thank you for your Communiqué last November in which you said: “We also deplore in no uncertain terms a radical and faceless culture of death which promotes among other things the supply and use of the condom in our schools, the in vitro fertilization and the contraception agenda of some national and international institutions in Ghana … we urge those who represent Ghana at the United Nations and other such bodies to realise that these practices are culturally abominable and morally and spiritually reprehensible …”

Above all, as Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, there is a close interconnection between contraception and abortion. According to the manufacturers, one of the contraceptive pill’s modes of action is to cause an early abortion. Thus the use of contraception undermines respect for the sanctity of human life from conception and makes the possibility of abortion an option.

As a pro-life leader for four decades and as a Catholic layman, a father and grandfather, I believe that it is urgent and overdue that the Church reaffirm the unchangeable teaching of Humanae Vitae on the separation of the procreative and unitive dimensions of the sexual act by the use of contraceptive methods. The separation of the procreative and unitive dimensions of the sexual act which is intrinsic to the use of contraception has acted as major catalyst of the culture of death. I am certain that until the core teaching of Humanae Vitae is constantly proclaimed throughout the Church and at the highest level of authority, the pro-life movement will not prevail.

In this connection, I am grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Turkson for sensitising our pro-life conference today to the pressures on church leaders which are constantly being brought to bear to change the Church’s unchanging and unchangeable teaching on contraception and abortion.

Particularly in relation to population control in Africa, I want to draw attention to the activities of Dr Jeffrey Sachs, the special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Jeffrey Sachs heads the Sustainable Solutions Network, which was responsible for producing a draft for the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for increased access to abortion and contraception worldwide.

Jeffrey Sachs made a plea for legalizing abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

In his book The Age of Sustainable Development, published last March, Jeffrey Sachs states quite clearly that the birth rate in Africa must be reduced.

Sachs proposes three methods of fertility rate reduction, the third of which is that governments must encourage their populations to lower family size by promoting birth control and providing access to free or low-cost contraception and family planning.

In 2011 Sachs expressed his horror at Nigeria’s rising population and called for the Nigerian government “to work towards attaining a maximum of three children.”

In June this year he called for the UN to provide 1 million healthcare workers for Africa. That is 1 million UN workers travelling through Africa promoting abortion and contraception.

Sachs will be in the Vatican in November to take part in a workshop organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which will discuss how to “use children as agents of change” in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ workshop explicitly cites the papal encyclical Laudato Si, as the basis for its work.

I repeat: the subject of the Vatican Workshop in November us “using children as agents of change” in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda.

Not only in this context, as a parent and grandparent, I am deeply concerned that Laudato Si makes no reference to parents as the primary educators of their children. Using children as agents of change in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda will very soon become a required part of school curricula throughout the world. Have no doubt that the worldwide population control powers-that-be, led by people like Jeffrey Sachs, will make their influence well and truly felt in shaping those school curricula.

It is extremely disturbing that at the very moment when the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the organization which I lead, and other pro-life organisations, have been fighting tooth-and-nail at the United Nations to protect developing countries from the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, anti-parent elements written into the sustainable development goals, that the Holy See has been seeking Jeffrey Sachs’s advice and permitting him to help shape the Holy See’s policies on sustainable development.

Jeffrey Sachs has played a leading role at Vatican conferences and workshops on these matters no less than six times in the last couple of years and has had a personal audience with Pope Francis.

I note here with great foreboding that the omission of any reference to Church teaching on the use of contraception in the papal encyclical in the environment leaves Catholics ill-prepared to resist the international population control agenda. The encyclical calls for increased international environmental action in paragraphs 173-175, while neglecting to prepare Catholics for what such action will undoubtedly involve: renewed attempts to further impose contraception and abortion on the developing world. There is now a grave danger that our children will be exposed to this agenda under the guise of education on environmental concerns. The proposed plans of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the lack of clear teaching on these dangers in the encyclical, put us on our guard. Catholic parents must resist all attacks on our children, even when they emanate from within the Vatican.

Even more disturbing in relation to contraception is the recently published instrumentum laboris, the working document for the forthcoming Family Synod. The instrumentum laboris, clearly undermines the teaching of the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. Paragraph 137 effectively seeks to nullify the central teaching of Humanae Vitae which declared morally inadmissable “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, [which] is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.”

Paragraph 137 of the instrumentum laboris, without in any way restating this fundamental teaching of Humanae Vitae, suggests that a balance must be reached between the “role of conscience” and the “objective moral norm” under “the regular guidance of a competent and spiritual guide”. The implication of the whole passage is that contraceptive acts may sometimes be permitted. Let me conclude this section of my talk by quoting again the timeless teaching of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae:

“Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it …  even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.”

Furthermore, Paragraph 86 of the instrumentum laboris contains a direct attack on the rights of parents. The paragraph states that “the family, while maintaining its privileged spot in education, cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.” This statement is directly contrary to Catholic teaching which affirms the right and duty of parents to be the first and foremost providers of education to their children in sexual matters. Parents are entirely capable of performing this task by themselves and it is entirely their choice if they wish to involve others. Paragraph 86 of the instrumentum laboris leaves Ghanaian children, and my grandchildren, at the mercy of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

There are other major terrible and terrifying passages for families throughout the world, Catholic and non-Catholic families, in the instrumentum laboris on which I don’t have the time to comment today – but I will leave copies of an analysis of this disturbing document for your attention.

I say these things to you today to fulfil my responsibility outlined in Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law:

According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

The crisis in the Church is quite possibly unparalleled. So let us say a prayer for Pope Francis. May the Lord preserve him and give him life and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

In June this year, a consultative meeting of African prelates was held in Accra, Ghana, which culminated in the 45 bishops and 5 cardinals representing episcopal conferences across the continent expressing their intention to present a united determination to defend Church teaching about marriage and family at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In the closing communique of the meeting in Accra, the bishops of Africa said that at the upcoming Synod on the Family they would offer “a clear affirmation of family and marriage values according to the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church.”

Thank God for the African bishops. My family and families throughout the world will be praying for you in the coming months – that you continue to be courageous apostles of the unchanging and unchangeable Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the family, the Gospel of life.

We Are ‘Synthetic Children’ And We Agree With Dolce & Gabbana

http://thefederalist.com

This past week has seen the outrage generated by parents of donor and invitro-fertilization children following a now-infamous Panorama magazine interview conducted with the fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana, wherein Domenico Dolce proclaimed, “You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children.” Immediately, Elton John advocated a boycott of the designers’ products in retaliation for the perceived offense against his two sons, who were conceived via an egg donor and surrogate mother.

Speaking as two donor-conceived young women—alive because of reproductive technologies—we felt an urgent need to respond…in support of Dolce and Gabbana.

John’s children were commissioned in partnership with his spouse, David Furnish, and it is not yet public information which man is the biological father, or if they both are and the children are not fully genetically related. The hashtags #BoycottDolceGabbana as well as #BoycottEltonJohn are trending on Twitter, with a multitude of parents defending IVF and their “beautiful children.” Many users are posting pictures of infants with captions such as:

It is important to note, however, that infants, toddlers, and all of these “miracle” beings are too young to protest their own objectification. We however, are now of age and in a position to speak for ourselves. “Synthetic” indeed is a harsh and inaccurate description of us offspring born by third-party reproduction. Dolce’s word choice was a mistake. But there is much underlying truth in what he said: “life [does] have a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.” Emphasis ours.

Those of us conceived non-traditionally are full human beings with equal capacity in every regard—no one need question our humanity. It is not our individual, case-by-case worth as humans that is debatable; rather, it is how we value human beings in general that warrants discussion. Has anyone asked John for how much he purchased his kids? How much money he and Furnish paid the boy’s genetic and birth mother for their absence and invisibility?
Has anyone asked Elton John for how much he purchased his kids?

I (Alana) remember when I was in school and I told my then-best friend the truth about my conception. When our friendship frayed, as tween friendships do, she released my secret as gossip—invisible, quiet, and as poisonous as carbon monoxide fumes—and I became the “test-tube girl.” The label was humiliating.

Later, in a college English class we studied “Brave New World,” and it immediately became one of my favorite works of fiction, up there with “Gattaca.” What we were essentially studying was what it means to be human. My classroom was located in Cupertino, California, and even in my liberal environment the teacher and students took heed at Huxley’s warning against manufactured people and the “outdated” nature of mothers. The class was angry at the possibility of such a world—they felt that their humanity and most important relationships (like the one with their mothers and fathers) were being threatened. The din got to a point where I had to raise my hand and speak up. I was 17 years old. I barely understood myself, let alone the world, and I said simply and defensively, “I was conceived with reproductive technologies.”

The class was silent for a very long time. Finally, a boy sitting next to me offered solemnly, “Well, she seems like a perfectly fine human being—maybe we shouldn’t be so hysteric.”

I am indeed a human being. My liver, heart, hair, and enzymes all work the same. I’ve discovered it is my psychology that is different and not-quite-right, due to my conception. It’s not a matter for doctors to fix; it’s a spiritual problem. My father accepted money, and promised to have nothing to do with me. My mother was wonderful and I have always loved her deeply, as she has loved me. But my journey is a battle against the void left by my father’s absence, and a particular disability in understanding the difference between sacred and commercial, exploitation and cooperation. Those torments for me far outweigh any social stigma or momentarily painful gossip I’ve endured from ignorant people.

For children whose genetic or birth mother’s absence has been commissioned, they will ask, “Where is my mother?” Like this young author at The Anonymous Us Project:

I’m 14 and live with my father. He always told me that my mom died when I was very young. Recently I was going through some files and found out that I was actually born by a person who donated their egg and I was born through a surrogate mother in Virginia. This led me to believe that my father was never married. I’m also very sure my dad was never married because I discovered that he is gay. Why would my dad keep this all from me?

Implicitly stated in this post is that the author’s father considered a dead mother to be better, healthier than an egg donor or surrogate mother.
My father accepted money, and promised to have nothing to do with me.

And I (Hattie) have undergone a strikingly similar experience; my mother informed me of my true parentage when I was 14, and it was, as they say, irrevocable. My mother’s then-husband had waited until they divorced to permit her to tell me, and the revelation of his not being my biological father clarified an overwhelming amount of issues between us. For a multitude of reasons—his background, my personality and beliefs, our lack of biological connection—the cards were stacked against our having a conventional, loving father-daughter relationship. And we didn’t.

One of the greatest tragedies of donor conception is the loss of belonging: to family, to a culture. Essentially, one becomes malleable like an infant. I crave a home. I see myself as I travel in many directions—doing anything in order to find one.

Through the storytelling of other donor-conceived individuals, and scientific research pertaining to third-party reproduction and genetics, I have discovered that my situation is by no means unique, and I now understand the scientific explanations as to why my social father and I—up to a certain point—were unable to bond. It is natural for me to desire my father, for evolution has blessed those that secure such a bond with better survival rates.

The lack of my biological father’s presence is a devastating reality, a burden I will likely bare my entire existence. And now, knowing the truth of my conception, when I remember my past I remember everything that was absent from it.
Team Elton is literally promoting the obliteration of mothers—not through vilification, but by pretending they don’t even exist.

Team Elton, and the media that surround them, seem to think that this discussion is about gay parents. Team Dolce and Gabbana are instead trying to draw attention to missing parents. And to what should be the horror of millions, Team Elton is literally promoting the obliteration of mothers—not through vilification, but by pretending they don’t even exist.

Dolce and Gabbana, on the other hand, have recently unveiled two campaigns celebrating women and motherhood. And while this emphasis is unprecedented in the world of fashion, it seems a most rational tribute; these men spend hours designing garments made specifically to compliment women’s bodies; their hands—measuring and configuring—are constantly in proximity to a female figure. While fitting bustiers to real women’s bodies the last 30 years, perhaps Stefano or Domenico once considered to themselves, “Hmm, I wonder what these breast things are for?”

“I’m Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family, made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known,” says Dolce, attempting consolation amid the uproar against he and his business partner. Currently, the family dynamic that has proved the healthiest and most successful has been the traditional one, and that of Dolce’s experience: A mother, a father, and ensuing offspring from the sexual and social union of the two sexually complimentary parents.

In the study “My Daddy’s Name Is Donor,” it was found that, “Regarding troubling outcomes, even with controls, the offspring of lesbian couples who used a sperm donor to conceive appear more than twice as likely as those raised by their biological parents to report struggling with substance abuse,” an alarming result displaying the reality of being raised without both genetic parents.
In order to obey the desires of one parent we must agree to the obliteration of the other.

Some suggest that spending more money on making children means that they are more loved. Our children are definitively wanted, they say.

“The baby doesn’t care anything about the money,” says marriage and family therapist Nancy Verrier, regarding the issues surrounding surrogacy. “That’s not what hurts the baby. The baby is hurt by the separation, by the loss of that mother that it knows.” This ever-present realization of loss remains with both mother and child throughout their lives. Nature has ensured that mothers and children attach to one another, as it is a trait necessary to our survival; without motivation to love or instinctively care for her child, why would a mother protect her children from potential danger? She wouldn’t, and that would have heralded the end of our species. With this biological connection so immediate and meaningful, why doesn’t society view maintenance of that connection as more imperative?

Dolce and Gabbana are realists whose daily work consumes their time with raw natural materials. They work hard to understand the practical applications and limitations of tangible things—silks, leathers, jewels, studs. As masters of their art, they know what is possible, and what is foolish to attempt. They owe their success to their understanding, appreciation, and honoring of the human body.

Growing up donor-conceived, it has been a great struggle to comply with the commandment “Honor thy mother and thy father,” because in order to obey the desires of one parent we must agree to the obliteration of the other. We plead, we beg: let us honor both our mothers and fathers as essential and irreplaceable.

Thank you, Domenico and Stefano, for your bravery.

Contraception gave us divorce and gay ‘marriage’ and will destroy us: here’s how

March 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Although there has always been contraception, its acceptance and practice by society as a whole is a relatively new phenomenon. In the first part of the 20th century barrier methods became through mass production increasingly used. However, with the advent of the hormonal contraceptive pill in the 1960s the contraceptive era, ushering in the sexual revolution, really took off.

The term “revolution” is by no means exaggerated, for the result was a fundamental change in the understanding of human sexuality in society. With the pill, people thought, nothing can happen, i.e. no child could be conceived. Inhibitions broke down, so that there was an increase in adultery, living together before marriage and living together with no thought of marriage. Amoral sex education with the message, “You can do anything you like so long as your partner agrees and you use contraception. If there is an accident, have an abortion,” promoted sexual promiscuity from puberty onwards. Sexual activity has been degraded into a form of entertainment.

The immediate consequences of promiscuity starting in adolescence are obvious: the rampant increase of sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and the incapability of forming long-term relationships through frequent changes of partners and repeated disappointments.

The assumption that “nothing can happen” is erroneous, because contraceptives are by no means 100% effective. Children are conceived, and such “errors” must be corrected – the child is aborted.[1] The result has been devastating: the number of babies killed by abortion every year is about the same as the total number of deaths in the whole of World War II.

Apart from the carnage, enormous havoc is created in the relationship of the parents, whether married or not, very often leading to its breakdown. It would also be naive to imagine that Catholic women never resort to abortion.

The situation of couples practising NFP however is quite different. They are aware every day of the state of their fertility, asking themselves whether the marriage act on that day would result in conception; they do not lose sight of the child who could be conceived. They do not forget the fundamental purpose of the act. An unplanned child is therefore usually accepted.

The widespread practice of abortion leads to euthanasia. If it is acceptable to kill one category of people, then it is logically acceptable to kill others, specifically the ill, the handicapped and the old, for human life is no longer sacred. A chilling example of this kind of development can be seen in the National Socialist regime in Germany.

The pill “culture” leads to the rejection of children, small families, and a demographic winter. In the long-term it will be impossible to pay pensions. For couples practising NFP however, the child is neither an error nor a threat. Their natural love of children is not destroyed. They have larger families. The 15 teaching couples in our organisation, for example, have 62 children so far, an average of 4.1 per family.

The separation of sexual activity from child-bearing leads to the acceptance of the production of children through assisted reproduction without recourse to the marital act in the case of infertility. Through IVF society is being led, inspired by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, to the acceptance of controlled reproduction. Human beings are reduced to products. They are mass produced, selected, rejected, frozen or used in experiments. They are treated as material goods, in short, as slaves.

Slavery has been formally reintroduced into society. A doctor, whether mixing sperm and eggs in a Petri dish or injecting a sperm into an egg, is playing God. The arrogance of it! Surely this modern sin should be listed amongst those which cry to heaven.

When the practice of sterilised sexual intercourse is accepted, it leads logically to the acceptance of all practices leading to orgasm: oral, anal, homosexual acts, etc. The whole homosexual movement has become possible only through the general acceptance of contraceptive practice and the reduction of sexuality to a source of entertainment.

The practice of contraception within marriage contains within itself the mutual rejection of the spouses. It leads to the destruction of love. It belongs to the nature of love to give oneself, even to the point of sacrifice, seen eminently in the self-sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Even in our ordinary life a mother’s sacrifice of herself for her child is by no means exceptional. A mother will naturally go to great lengths to help her child, exceptionally even giving up her own life. The marriage act is meant to be an act of mutual love. The natural fruit of that love is the child. The spouses give and receive each other mutually completely. Even during the naturally infertile days of the cycle they give each other all they have at that time – their mutual love.

But if they use contraception they say to each other subconsciously, “I do give myself to you, but without my fertility, and I don’t want your fertility either.” Is that love? The act which in its nature expresses the total self-giving and receiving of the spouses contains an element of rejection, and therefore becomes a lie. When this act of rejection is systematically and continually repeated, love dies. The marriage is at least burdened. Many marriages break down.

Couples who use NFP do not practise this subconscious, systematic rejection. From personal experience and observation of our clients we see that such marriages are more stable. This is also shown in studies. Greater stability is evident even in those without religious practice. [2]

Contraception, which leads logically to other evils as described above, is destroying society. There are too few children and nations are dying out. It leads to abortion, as those who promote it concede. The combination of promoting promiscuity through Godless sex education, the long-term use of hormonal contraception with back-up abortions and the postponement of child-bearing leads to increased infertility.

The solution offered is not a true therapy of infertility, but assisted reproduction which bypasses the normal process of transmission of life through the marriage act. The long-term purpose of this policy could well be the desire to subject reproduction to state control, which would allow only those children to be born who pass quality control. At present this is illusory, but the tendency can be seen. It would appear that an elite group wishes to create a society of virtual slaves obedient to their desires. A new totalitarianism is being formed.

To this end it is necessary to destroy or at least weaken marriage and the family. For this purpose contraception, especially the convenient hormonal forms, is eminently suitable. And those who pour their millions into the homosexual movement and the gender ideology are not concerned with helping homosexuals and those with problems of sexual identity. Rather they are using these people to extend the concept of marriage and ultimately to widen its meaning so much as to make it meaningless.

 


[1] Baklinski, P, Two-thirds of women seeking abortions were using contraception: Britain’s largest abortion provider, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/two-thirds-of-women-seeking-abortions-were-using-contraception-britains-lar

[2] Wilson, M.A.: The Practice of Natural Family Planning versu the Use of Artificial Birth Control: Family, Sexual and Moral Issues, Catholic Social Sceince Review, Volume VII, November 2002.

Rhomberg, W., Rhomberg, M, Weißenbach, H.: Natural Family Planning (NFP): The Symptothermal Method (Rötzer) as a Familiy Binding Tool. Results of a Survey among Members of INER, 2008, http://www.iner.org/files/02_anwenden/Download/NER%20Survey%202008%20Cathol%20Soc%20Sci%20Rev.pdf

Priests – why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

By Clare Short

Dear Priests,

I love you. You know I love you dearly. I pray and fast for you every single day. But why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

It’s a good question!

I am 34 years old and I have never, ever, not once, heard a priest talk about sex – either in or out of the pulpit. My mum is in her 70’s and she cannot recall ever hearing sex mentioned in church AT ALL throughout her entire life.

I have been thinking about why this could be:

1. This is Britain, and we don’t talk about that sort of thing.
2. Priests are celibate and don’t feel confident talking about sex.
3. There could be children in the congregation.
4. It’s embarrassing.
5. Telling people that artificial contraception is bad would be a very unpopular homily.

It’s a shame because it is becoming more and more obvious that the Catholic teaching on sex is one of THE biggest tools of evangelization in the modern age. The Catholic teaching on chastity, sex and marriage is completely and utterly counter-cultural. It teaches life in our ‘culture of death’. It is so radical that even you, the Priests don’t want to talk about it. (BTW, please don’t use ridiculous terms like ‘nuptial union’ and ‘conjugal act’!!! Instead use terms such as ‘make love’ and ‘have sex’, or if there are lots of children present say ‘be together’ or ‘be intimate’.)

conjugal acts

From my own limited observations, I am confident to say that most people inside and outside of the church have absolutely no idea what the Catholic teaching on sex actually is. The vast majority have never read, or even heard of Humanae Vitae or Theology of the Body. They don’t know about NFP, Billings, Creighton or Napro technology which offers a natural alternative to IVF. They have no clue as to the damage artificial contraception is having on their bodies, their relationships or their souls. Because of this (and I use this word respectfully)… ignorance, they cannot understand why the church opposes gay marriage.

There is call now from liberal Catholics and dissident groups such as ‘A Call To Action’ to publish the results from the recent Vatican survey. They are of course hoping to highlight the fact that most Catholics ignore the church teaching on artificial contraception – and then get the teaching on sex officially ‘modernised’.

It is time for you, Priests, to start teaching your congregations what sex and marriage IS not just what it isn’t. Because if you don’t speak about it, who will?
I’ll tell you… the extremely vocal gay lobby. The sex saturated media. The secularist lefty politicians. The money-making contraception and abortion industry (yes, it is an industry, with sales targets and bonuses and advertising campaigns.)

Please, Priests, do us a favour… learn Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae like your life depends on it. Give it to us, your congregations in bite sized chunks each week. Trust me, the second you mention the word sex, you will have every eye and ear in the whole place focused on you. No one will be reading the newsletter or checking their Facebook status through that homily!

Visit 1flesh.org and catholicmarriagecentre.org.uk and the Couple to Couple League for tons of info. Explain the awful truth about the history of artificial contraception and its links to eugenics from people like  Marie Stopes and Margaret Sanger. Find out who your local NFP teacher is and invite them to your parish.  Start the conversation within your own parish and keep it going. Because if you don’t preach the beauty of Gods design on sex and marriage, no one will. Please don’t leave us to fight this battle on our own…

Humanae Vitae full version – 

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

Theology of the Body full version – 

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

Woman Conceived in IVF Mourns the Loss of Her Sibling Embryos Who Died

by Rebecca Taylor | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/1/14

This e-mail from a reader broke my heart. It is a cry for help from a young IVF-conceived woman who mourns the loss of her siblings that didn’t make it. It is also a look at the darker-side of IVF that no one wants to talk about: the massive loss of life inherent in the IVF process.

She writes:

I was wondering if you knew of any websites or resources that support people struggling after being conceived using IVF. I’ve been searching and searching online, and I’ve been unable to find a single source of advice.

I was one of three embryos created in the process, but I was the only one who survived. I mourn my siblings every single day. I can’t talk about them with my parents, because bringing the subject up inevitably causes fights, and they don’t feel the way I do. They don’t regret what they did, they don’t see anything wrong with IVF, and they don’t count my siblings as members of the family.

They never bring them up in conversation, and when I talk about them, they’ll concede that they are my siblings, but it’s only to make me feel better. I don’t think they really believe it. If they did, they’d regret what they did. When people asked how many children they had, they’d say three. They’d talk about them as members of the family, and say how much they wished they could be there at Christmas and birthdays. My mum would light candles for them at church and have Masses said for them. But it’s just me. I’m the only one who seems to care about them.

It hurts me every time I see in the news something about IVF, because the media treats it as if it’s okay. There’s never any mention that people die during the process. I don’t even know if there’s anyone else out there who feels the same way I do. If there is, I’ve never met them. Sometimes, I feel like a freak. The only person I’ve found who understands me at all is my local priest, who I’ve spoken to about everything, but I can’t be bothering him all the time! It’d be nice to have someone else who understood.

The support groups I know of are for those conceived with donor gametes. I do not know of any support groups for those conceived with IVF without donor sperm or egg.

Does anyone know of a group that could help this young woman? Her pain is very real and she needs others who can understand what she is feeling.
Contact Rebecca:  rhtaylor@marymeetsdolly.com

UCLA researchers link IVF to increased birth defect risk

by Thaddeus Baklinski
Source: LifeSiteNews.com

Researchers studying the incidence of birth defects in California have found that children conceived by in vitro fertilization have a significantly higher rate of genetic disorders compared to children conceived naturally.

UCLA researchers presented findings from their study, titled, “Congenital Malformations Associated With Assisted Reproductive Technology: A California Statewide Analysis,” on October 20 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference in New Orleans. (more…)

Scientists Admit IVF Has High Rate of Abnormalities

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

BONN, Germany, October 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Scientists announcing their success at achieving a new genetic defect-screening technique have at the same time admitted that many of the two-thirds of IVF embryos that fail to survive do so because of genetic abnormalities.

Luca Gianaroli, chairman of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), and Cristina Magli, an embryologist from Bologna, Italy, announced their success in a study of a genetic testing procedure called “comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) by microarray,” after two women gave birth to healthy children following screening of the embryos using the technique.

However, Gianaroli said in a statement that, “We have learnt from more than 30 years of IVF that many of the embryos we transfer (into the womb) have chromosome abnormalities,” and went on to explain that two out of every three embryos implanted into a woman’s womb during the IVF procedure fail to develop into a pregnancy, often because of genetic abnormalities.

“The whole world of IVF has been trying to find an effective way of screening for these abnormalities for more than a decade,” Gianaroli said. “Now we have a new technology … and our hopes are that this will finally provide a reliable means of assessing the chromosomal status of the embryos we transfer.”

The admission by the scientists of the high rate of genetic defects inherent in the IVF procedure aligns with the high rate of over-all health problems suffered by IVF children compared to naturally conceived children.

Congenital malformation rates as high as 11% have been reported by some studies of IVF children.

A recent French study found that over 4% of children born through assisted reproductive technology had some form of congenital deformity, compared to the rate of between 2% and 3% for children conceived naturally.

A large-scale study by the National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health in Helsinki, Finland, found an overall increase in poor health among IVF children, including recurring specific abnormalities such as heart diseases, cerebral palsy, and malformations of the uro-genital system.

A summary of the research published by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology is available here.

Read Full Article Here.

IVF clinics destroying embryos with minor genetic disorders

Embryos are regularly being destroyed by IVF clinics for minor disorders suffered by individuals as successful as Charles de Gaulle and Pete Sampras.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the government fertility watchdog, has drawn up a list of more than 100 inherited conditions which clinics can screen out without special permission.

While some of the conditions on the list can result on deformity, severe pain and premature death, others are simply minor conditions which do not prevent sufferers leading a happy life.

The exemption list was lambasted by pro-life campaigners who said it was wrong to dispose of a life just because it was not perfect in every way.

David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, said: ‘It contributes to a social climate in which even minor deviations from “normality” are seen as unacceptable.’ (more…)

100 Polish Scientists Condemn In Vitro Fertilization

ivfWARSAW, January 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of Polish scientists have issued a document demanding that the government legislate a statutory ban on artificial (in vitro) fertilization procedures. The 100 signatories also call for full government funding of NaProTechnology, an ethically acceptable and highly successful method of evaluating and treating infertility.

The demand from the scientists follows on the heels of an open letter delivered to the Polish parliament last September from hundreds of doctors and medical professionals, urging them to vote against legalizing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and opt instead for the more successful, safer, and natural treatment for fertility problems.

Several proposals had been brought forward in the fall session of parliament to deal with the widely available, though officially illegal practice of IVF. Proposals range from taxpayer funding for all IVF treatments without restriction, including for lesbians, to an outright ban of the creation of human embryos outside the mother’s body. (more…)