The title says IVF day 64, and technically it is, but it's also "pregnancy day 32." I'm a little over 4 weeks with a due date of November 19 and so happy to be saying that. So, in discussing the ethics behind IVF, I must admit I'm biased. Without IVF, my chances of becoming pregnant are slim to none.
But, I don't think I'm different than any other woman. No matter how well your career is going, how much your social life is booming, it's in a woman's nature to have the desire get pregnant and have a child.
My basic premise is this: if it's "natural" to want to have children why is it unnatural to seek treatment to do so?
Natural: existing in or formed by nature
It's interesting to me that critics of IVF lean on the argument that it's "unnatural." Sure, at first glance, it's odd to give daily shots, have almost-daily ultrasounds and bloodwork, and fertilize eggs in a petri dish. But, the entire process of IVF mimics the way the body should work. Hormones have to be at certain levels to produce mature eggs. The uterine lining has to be at a certain thickness and quality to support growth of an embryo. Fertilization still occurs. IVF ensures the body does what it should do in the "natural" way.
IVF doesn't change the way babies are made. All one has to do to see this is watch an IVF pregnancy and you'll see it progresses the same as a non-IVF pregnancy. The success/failure of pregnancy is almost identical. And, the difference in the statistics could be attributed to the fact that many women undergo miscarriages and never knew they were pregnant under normal conditions. They might just assume their period is a little late. This is unlikely in the case of the IVF patient since they're so closely monitored in the early stages.
Even the fertilization process of IVF mimics the body's selection process. The strongest, best sperm make it the long pathway to the egg and are able to break through the outer barrier for fertilization to occur. In the lab, similar techniques are used. Sperm are examined for quality and motility and the best are used for fertilization purposes. Still, there is nothing artificial in this process. Even in the lab, one sperm and one egg are needed to create one embryo. Same as in the human body.
After the sperm and egg come together, fertilization isn't a sure thing. If it does happen, it's up to that embryo to properly divide. Many stop growing as they should. There are many chromosome issues that just cause the embryo to arrest. But, there are a few that survive, that hatch and implant in the uterine wall, which is when pregnancy occurs.
What many people don't realize is that your body makes decisions every month during a cycle. It makes the decision which egg is the frontrunner, which will ovulate. Once sperm enters the picture, and fertilization occurs, the embryo has to divide at the proper rate or it will miss the opportunity to implant, because it needs perfect uterine conditions to do so. Many times an embryo is formed and passed and a pregnancy never occurs, whether a chromosome issue is to blame or the uterine conditions aren't conducive. Most of the time, a woman never knows this decision making process is occurring in her body month after month. We go on blissfully unaware because it's not us making the decision, it's our bodies. We don't feel guilty if a pregnancy doesn't occur, because we don't know why the pregnancy didn't occur. We don't know if an embryo was formed or not.
Just because the IVF patient and doctors are making decisions throughout the process doesn't necessarily infer they are "playing God." God set in order the natural process of how a baby is formed. One sperm and one egg are needed, fertilization must occur, the chromosomes have to be just right, the uterus has to be ready, and the hormones have to sustain the pregnancy. Researchers have worked to understand God's process in order to give a couple the chance of becoming a parent. It's a chance, that's all it is. The researchers can't create an egg or a sperm. They can't wave a wand and form an embryo. They work within God's parameters and laws of nature to treat a condition.
When a researcher studies anything they look at the normal process and how it *should* be. Think about a cancer researcher. They look at normal cellular processes and try to understand what goes wrong in a cancer patient. They treat the medical problem, but they don't work miracles. They work with the natural processes of the body, administer drugs to regulate the body, and even do surgery to remove the problem.
An infertile couple is no different. They are infertile for a medical reason. They seek medical treatment for their condition.
What many outsiders fail to realize is that infertile couples seeking treatment aren't looking for a blond-haired-blue-eyed baby. They are looking for the opportunity to become parents. Me, on the other hand...I put in my request for a baby that doesn't spit up and a teenager that doesn't talk back. What's wrong with that? I'm practical.
Of course, there are lots more issues related to IVF I could discuss (ie. PGD, when an embryo has rights, stem cell research), but frankly I don't feel adept to do so. If you're struggling with these issues, I highly recommend A Case For Life by Bo Kirkwood. The cover isn't the prettiest, but it's a quick-read, and makes complicated material simple for us non-scientists, all while keeping a God-centered view. One aspect of this book that I found particularly interesting was the discussion of "conception", which is a non-scientific term and difficult to pinpoint. Something I had never thought of before, but am now keenly aware.
As an update, my bloodwork is doing well. I go back tomorrow for my final beta and will report here when I get my test results. Still on those progesterone shots, too :)