It is a proven, undisputed fact among scientific and medical communities that life begins at conception. The tiny human being – a zygote – formed at this instant, has its very own unique set of DNA, never to be repeated in the history of the world. Its hair color, eye color, skin color, body type, and sex have already been determined. Just now, the exciting continuum of this new person’s life has begun.
As amazing as it is, conception has now become the subject of great experimentation. In order to treat couples struggling with infertility, new reproductive technologies have been developed. One of these technologies, becoming of increasing use among Americans today, is in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
But while we experiment with IVF and manipulate the human reproductive system, we must ask ourselves these important questions:
Is the dignity of the human person being preserved?
Are we recognizing the creation of human life at conception and protecting it?
Sadly, the answer is no.
In actuality, IVF technology directly and continuously initiates the destruction of human beings. A vast majority of children created through IVF die, and both the women involved and children produced are subject to dangerous health risks. The development of this artificial procedure itself originated from a reasoning and logic contrary to protecting the value and dignity of life. Here is the evidence:
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology/Treatment (ART). According to the American Pregnancy Association, IVF involves
“The process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus.”
Hence, IVF is the manufacturing of human life in a lab.
Why is it used?
IVF is posed as a solution to couples who are struggling with infertility. Damaged fallopian tubes, removed fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, uterine fibroids, male factor infertility, and genetic disorders can lead to infertility. There are also unknown causes.
How does it work?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are 5 steps involved in IVF:
- Doctors stimulate the development of eggs in a woman’s ovaries by injecting her with hormones and fertility drugs.
- The eggs are extracted from the woman’s uterus through an invasive surgical procedure.
- A male donor produces and donates sperm.
- A scientist mixes together the eggs and sperm in a petri-dish. Sometimes, the scientist will puncture the eggs and inject them with sperm (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). The eggs are then monitored until they are fertilized and become embryos.
- About 3-5 days later, the scientist places the embryos into the woman’s uterus with a tube (catheter). Implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall or womb is hoped to occur about 6-10 days later.
What happens to the life created?
The Yale University School of Medicine published a recent study in the international journal of Fertility and Sterility. Their findings conclude that of every 100 eggs fertilized within an IVF laboratory, only 5 of the tiny human beings will ever make it to live birth. The vast majority of these left-over humans are left to die.
Through In Vitro Fertilization, there are five different ways in which these babies will die:
1. Implantation failure:
Multiple eggs are taken from the woman’s uterus and fertilized in case of failure. Since failure rate increases with a woman’s age, more than one embryo is often placed in a woman’s womb with the hope that at least one will implant and continue to grow. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology have outlined specific recommendations for the number of embryos to be placed in a woman’s womb, which vary based on her age.
At the same time, the rate of successful implantation still dramatically decreases with a woman’s age. The following figure is taken from the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago. It displays the percentage of embryos which are successfully implanted, after being transferred to women in different age groups.
From this graph, it can be deduced that:
For women <35: 62.9% of their embryos did not implant.
For women 35-37: 72.5% of their embryos did not implant.
For women 38-40: 81.3% of their embryos did not implant.
For women 41-42: 90.3% of their embryos did not implant.
For women 43-44: 95.9% of their embryos did not implant.
For women >44: 97.8% of their embryos did not implant.
An article in the Daily Mail recently sited figures gathered from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the fertility industry regulator of the U.K. which has monitored the IVF process since 1991. According to them, a total of 1.3 million embryos have been implanted and just one in six have resulted with pregnancy. All of the remaining embryos consequently died.
2. Embryos are thrown away:
During the In Vitro Fertilization process, excess embryos are created for the procedure. It is said that one IVF treatment might yield as many as 20 “surplus” embryos.
The Daily Mail once again sites the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in saying that 1.7 million embryos created through IVF have been essentially thrown away and killed. Only 7% of the embryos created led to pregnancy.
3. Embryos are frozen and thawed:
According to a RAND-SART survey, there are approximately 400,000 embryos currently frozen in the U.S. Sadly, many of these babies do not survive. Their destiny, if they are not re-used, is to either be donated for research or discarded. However, the storage process itself can be lethal. In their article, “Embryo Freezing (Cryopreservation),” the Genetics & IVF Institute state that 10% of embryos frozen and thawed “partially survive” (meaning less than half of their cells are still alive) and 20-25% of frozen embryos completely die.
4. Embryos are used for research:
Of the 400,000 embryos frozen into storage, it is said that approximately 2.8% will be used for research. That may seem like a small percentage, but in reality, that means 11,000 babies will die in a lab. Frozen embryos are typically used for embryonic stem cell research. You can read more about the destruction of life through embryonic stem cell research here.
5. Embryos are aborted:
The Mayo Clinic states,
“If more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus, IVF can result in a pregnancy with more than one fetus (multiple pregnancy).”
Hence, the life of the unwanted child can be terminated through “reduction” or abortion. Doctors and patients can also choose which baby they want to keep and which baby they want to abort in a selective manner. In Committee Opinion number 553 of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction, selective reduction on the basis of fetal sex, the presence of disabilities, and medical risks are discussed as options with the parents.
The Telegraph reports that Down syndrome is the number one reason behind the selective abortion of test tube babies. They site the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority in stating that 127 IVF babies were aborted in the year 2009 because of this genetic disorder. In addition, fetal abnormality accounted for nineteen abortions and Edward’s syndrome accounted for fifteen.
What are the health risks?
Besides the typical side effects of headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, there are many dangerous risks to using IVF which can directly impact both the mother and the baby created. It is impossible to know all the side-effects and many statistics are unavailable, due to the fact that IVF is a new technology. However, the known serious risks that accompany IVF are as follows:
Risks for the Mother
1. Bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel:
Researchers at Mayo Clinic state that the egg retrieval process always carries this risk. An aspirating needle is used to collect the eggs. This can cause severe injury inside of the woman.
2. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (HCG):
According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the fertility drugs injected into a woman’s ovaries can cause them to swell and become very painful. This can last a week to several weeks, and can sometimes cause rapid weight gain and shortness of breath. The US National Library of Medicine says that 3-6% of women undergoing IVF experience this syndrome.
According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the rate of miscarriage for IVF users is 15-20%. However, the chance of a miscarriage also increases with maternal age, and with the use of frozen embryos.
4. Ectopic pregnancy:
Mayo Clinic reports that about 2-5% of woman may experience an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants itself outside of the uterus and cannot survive. Ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous for women.
5. Ovarian cancer:
According to a study published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, researchers in the Netherlands tested 25,152 women who experienced fertility problems. Out of the 77 women who developed cancer, 61 of them had used IVF. The lead researcher, Professor Van Leeuwen, of the Department of Epidemiology in The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, says:
“Our data clearly show that ovarian stimulation for IVF is associated with an increased risk of borderline ovarian tumors and this risk remains elevated up to more than 15 years after the first cycle of treatment.”
6. Emotional Stress:
The American Pregnancy Association reaffirms that psychological stress and emotional problems are “common,” especially when IVF is unsuccessful. Mayo Clinic also says,
“Your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility. In addition, IVF can be time-consuming, expensive, and invasive.”
The cost of a single IVF cycle typically ranges from $12-$17 thousand dollars.
As reported in Science Daily, another study conducted in the Netherlands found a higher death rate for women with IVF pregnancies than for pregnant women in the general population. Specifically, there were 42 deaths per 100,000 IVF pregnancies, in comparison to six deaths among 100,000 normal pregnancies.
In an editorial for the British Medical Journal, Dr. Susan Bewley, obstetrician at Kings College in London, along with other experts, warned that although they may be infrequent, deaths related to IVF are a reality. Older women, women with multiple pregnancy, and those with underlying diseases are most likely at risk. They also argue that the dangerous side-effects to IVF, like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, should be systematically reported and addressed.
Risks for the Baby
1. Premature delivery and low birth weight:
A recent study performed on 12,287 babies produced through IVF published in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that IVF babies are at a significantly higher risk for being born premature and with a low birth weight. The researchers also state:
“Early preterm delivery, spontaneous preterm delivery, placenta previa, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and neonatal intensive care admission were also significantly more prevalent in the IVF group.”
They later recommend,
“In vitro fertilization patients should be advised of the increased risk for adverse perinatal outcomes. Obstetricians should not only manage these pregnancies as high risk but also avoid iatrogenic harm caused by elective preterm labor induction or cesarean.”
2. Birth Defects:
Dr. Maureen L. Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, documents in an in-depth report the serious health risks to babies produced in vitro. She states the following:
“While most human infants born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are healthy by most measures, a growing body of data indicates that children produced in the laboratory are at significantly greater risk for a wide range of medical issues, including neurological disorders, cancer, congenital abnormalities, and imprinting disorders.”
A study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), found that babies conceived through IVF had a 25% increased risk of birth defects, in comparison to children conceived naturally.
Dr. Condic also says that scientists are only now beginning to see the negative repercussions of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. This is due to the fact that the individuals produced by these technologies are finally reaching adulthood, and the complications and side effects are just beginning to be made manifest.
There are several stories written by children of IVF, advocating against its use. You can read these stories here.
Where did it all begin?
According to the Embryo Project Encyclopedia, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was introduced by chief scientist Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe in the 1970s as a treatment for female infertility, resulting from damaged or blocked fallopian tubes. The very first “test-tube baby,” Louise Brown, was born in 1978. In an article published by the BBC, it is noted that countless embryos were killed in the endeavor. Does experimental research constitute justifiable grounds for such loss of human life?
After his success with IVF, Edwards stated,
“I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory – it was us! The Pope looked totally stupid…It was a fantastic achievement, but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception.”
Dr. Peter Brinsden, Edwards’ successor at the Cambridgeshire clinic, also stated,
“In 50 years assisted conception will have almost become the norm. This is because screening techniques will have improved to such an extent that parents can make their children free of even minor defects.”
The intention behind the creation of IVF was not only to treat infertility, but to supply scientists with specimens for research, and to begin the production of “designer babies,” free from “defects.”
IVF is an artificial and unnatural procedure whereby human beings are scientifically manufactured in a test-tube. In the process, countless human lives are thrown away and systematically destroyed.
At the same time, this technology poses a threat toward the health of women, along with the future well-being of the children created. Not everything is known about IVF, and to this day, these women and children remain subjects of volatile experimentation.
Taken from the words of the founding fathers themselves, IVF is more than an infertility treatment. It is a stepping stone toward further manipulation of human beings for research purposes and the selective creation of “designer” children.
In Vitro Fertilization threatens and disregards the dignity and value of the human person. We do not encourage nor support its use.
Are there alternatives to IVF?
There are in fact alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization. These alternatives preserve and protect human life, are safe for women and children, and have relatively higher rates of success.
One option that is always available for infertile couples is adoption. When a couple chooses to adopt, they give a child the gift of a home, a family, and most especially, love. If you are interested in adoption, you can learn more at:
Bethany Christian Services: 1-800-Bethany (1-800-238-4269)
American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846
Adoption Center of Illinois: 1-800-676-2229
In addition to adoption, there is a new women’s health science called Natural Procreative Technology, or NaPro, which has proven to be a successful alternative for couples with fertility challenges. Scientists take a fertility-care based approach, rather than a fertility-control approach. Surprisingly, women with several types of fertility challenges have shown significantly higher pregnancy success rates when using NaPro, in comparison to IVF. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating new technology, visit: www.NaproTechnology.com .