My Journey Through In Vitro Fertilization

via My Journey Through In Vitro Fertilization | Catholic Lane.

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My Journey Through In Vitro Fertilization

by Jenny Vaughn on Oct 29, 2014 in Contraception & Abortion, Featured, MyChurchParish.com, Parenting, Reproductive Technology, Women –

It’s July 2008 and I’m strapped to a surgical table as a fertility doctor siphons three dozen eggs out of my ovaries through a long needle. Blood is coming from between my legs, as the needle repeatedly perforates my vaginal walls en route to my ovaries in search of viable eggs. In the next room, my husband is masturbating so fresh sperm can be used to fertilize the eggs.

Originally published at CatholicSistas.com.

When we’re done, my ovaries hyperstimulate and I pass out. My abdomen and chest begin to fill with fluid; the anesthesia doesn’t stop the severe pain that fills my body. I struggle to breathe. The doctor stabilizes me, but it still takes nearly a week to recover from the brutal procedure.

The doctor had retrieved 38 good eggs, of which 31 are fertilized. Over the next week, 16 of our embryonic children die and are discarded. Thirteen are cryogenically frozen, mostly two to a vial. Two fresh embryos are transferred to my uterus.

Yes, the cost is high for what we’re doing, both financially and physically. But it will be worth it, I tell myself. Because surely at least one of these embryos will give us our heart’s desire–a beautiful child of our own.

Justifying Our Choices

My journey into in vitro fertilization (IVF) actually began in the 1980s, when my mother used donor sperm and intrauterine insemination to conceive me and my twin sister. When we were 12, we discovered that the man we thought was our father was not. I was disturbed that we were created by my mother and a stranger, and have always felt as if only part of me was “real.”

Fast-forward to my own marriage in 2004. We wanted children right away, but a year of trying had resulted in no pregnancy. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, an endocrine disorder that inhibits regular ovulation.

Doctors put me on the same ovulation-stimulating medication my mother had used to conceive me–Clomid. Four unsuccessful cycles later, we moved on to artificial insemination, though we did at least use my husband’s sperm. Still no baby.

In desperation, we graduated to the expensive and complex process of IVF, where my eggs and my husband’s sperm would be taken out of our bodies, joined in a petri dish, and the resulting embryos would be inserted into my uterus.

Even before we started down the IVF road, there was a voice inside of us whispering that it was wrong. But that voice was drowned out by louder, more persistent voices, like the doctors’ who said we had little to no chance to conceive without it. Friends and family, too, supported anything that would end the suffering of our infertility.

Then there was my own desire for a child, shouting down the doubts and assuring me that God would want me to be happy and that, as a woman, I deserved a child. And really, how could science that helps create life be a bad thing?

So we signed the contract and started the IVF process. To prepare, I took hormone injections and pills to stimulate my ovaries for egg retrieval. Though most eggs were fertilized simply by exposing them to sperm, some needed sperm forcibly injected into them with a needle.

These newly formed, microscopic human beings were then graded for quality and we were encouraged to discard “low-grade” embryos that had little chance of survival. But because we couldn’t fully stifle our doubts about the wrongness of IVF, we insisted that all our viable embryos be preserved.

Suffering and Loss

After the first transfer in July 2008, we were thrilled to discover that we were pregnant with twins, due the following April. But at 21 weeks gestation, our twins–Madi and Isaiah–were born prematurely and only lived for one hour each. During those brief, heartbreaking few hours, we held them, bathed them, dressed them, and baptized them, holding onto their tiny, fragile bodies as long as we could. More

Church Believes in Cures That Don’t Sacrifice Life – Catholic Culture

There is a great deal of confusion in our society about stem-cell research. An important distinction must be made about embryonic stem-cell research that kills innocent human life and adult stem-cell research that doesn\’t.

The Catholic Church opposes embryonic stem-cell research but strongly supports adult stem-cell research. Opponents of the Church have branded us as being opposed to science and indifferent to those who suffer from illnesses. But we support ethically responsible scientific research and are very committed to searching for cures, as long as it doesn\’t kill human life.

This is indeed a pro-life issue. We believe that there are strong ethical issues involved here. Even a small embryo is a human being. We all started out as embryonic stem cells. To harvest embryonic stem cells — even to help human life — is wrong because it kills the embryo. It means in effect using tiny human body parts for scientific purposes.

The end does not justify the means.

We know that the genetic package is really complete when conception takes place and sonar pictures of the living infant in the womb clearly show human life as it grows and develops.

Human-life issues are the bedrock of our faith. Respect for life is central to Catholicism, and thus we defend every life where it is threatened — from conception to natural death. We are committed to a consistent ethic of life. Hence, we oppose abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia and capital punishment. As a religious leader I have a serious obligation to share this teaching with others. I am aware that some will not agree.

Some will say that human embryos are in frozen storage and ultimately will be discarded anyway so why is it wrong to try and get some good out of them? Well, in the end we will all die anyway, but that gives no one the right to kill us.

These embryos will not die because they are inherently unable to survive, but rather because others are choosing to hand them over for destructive research instead of letting them implant in their mother\’s womb. The idea of experimenting on human beings because they may die anyway also imposes a grave threat to convicted prisoners, terminally ill patients and others.

We can all support many kinds of exciting and forward-looking avenues of stem-cell research, like umbilical cord and adult stem-cell research, with a clear conscience. These treatments have been a great help to people with Parkinson\’s disease, spinal cord injury, sickle cell anemia, heart damage, corneal damage and dozens of other conditions. There are scholars and experts who would say there is much more hope to develop cures from adult stem-cell research than from embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem-cell research will certainly lead to the creation of cloned human embryos — which also raises serious ethical problems.

via Library : Church Believes in Cures That Don’t Sacrifice Life – Catholic Culture.

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