DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece by Christian Hacking
The ethical vaccine debate
On Wednesday this week Emeritus paediatric professor at UCL- John Wyatt debated David Brennan from Brephos (the Greek word for child, in and outside of the womb) on whether Christians should accept vaccines that use fetal tissue cell lines in their production. The debate was a friendly affair between brothers, with plenty of agreement around the facts, and a charming moment at the end where each of the debaters introduced the others' website. This said, the debate did clarify a fundamental difference between the two men's ethical approach to the vaccines and the Scriptures.Read more
We value every single human being as uniquely precious regardless of the circumstances or methods of their conception. We treat every human being with respect and dignity, including those created through IVF and those who have been involved with IVF in any way.
The purpose of this page is simply to be a factual introduction to what IVF involves.
What is IVF?
IVF involves the removal of mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries and sperm cells from a man’s body in order to fertilise the eggs in a controlled lab environment outside the human body (in vitro - “in a glass”).
At the moment of fertilisation, a new human life has begun and is known as a fertilised egg or a human embryo or a blastocyst. This young and tiny human being already has his or her own unique DNA, and rapid development and growth have started independently of the mother.
In IVF, these fertilised human embryos are then transferred to the uterus or womb, in the hope that one or several will implant in the lining of the womb and then normal pregnancy can ensue all the way up to natural birth.
In practice, however, many more human beings created through IVF are intentionally destroyed without even being transferred to the womb, or die unintentionally in the process.
Multiple Embryos and Embryo Destruction
Normally speaking multiple embryos are created for every one woman seeking to bear a child: data collected in the UK over 21 years showed that 15 embryos were created per woman conceiving through IVF - a total of 3.5 million embryos.
Of these, half were “discarded” (killed), whilst more than 800,000 were frozen indefinitely. More than 5,000 human beings were set aside for “scientific research”.
1.4 million were transferred to the womb, but only 1 in 6 of those survived.
Only 7% of embryos originally created resulted in a pregnancy.
“Fetal Reduction” - Killing the Twin
Because more than one embryo is often transferred to the womb in the hope that at least one of them will implant and survive, multiple pregnancy (e.g. twins or triplets) is more common with IVF.
In some cases, doctors will offer or recommend “fetal reduction” which means killing one of the babies in the womb on the grounds that it is in the health interests of the mother or of the remaining baby.
The Purpose of IVF
The original purpose of IVF was to help parents with fertility problems to conceive a child. It is also an express aim of IVF providers today to “prevent genetic problems”.
It must, however, be noted that in reality genetic problems are not prevented through IVF: rather, human embryos who are believed to have said genetic problems are killed instead of transferred to the womb.
“Preventing genetic problems” is a euphemism akin to “ethnic cleansing” or “improvement of the race”. The “race” is not “improved”, but rather certain members of that race are killed or sterilised. “Ethnicity” is not “cleansed”, but rather people of certain ethnicities are exterminated. Similarly, IVF is not actually “preventing genetic problems”, but rather is being used to kill people with genetic problems.
Even where the biological parents themselves do not have genetic disorders, the vast majority of embryos created are still destroyed or frozen rather than transferred to the womb and given a chance to survive.
Only those human beings deemed to be genetically superior are “selected” for “use” rather than “discarded” or “unused”.
In practice, therefore, IVF represents the industrial scale killing of hundreds of thousands of tiny human beings.
Further Information on Freezing Embryos
- According to Pacific Fertility Center, “Embryo freezing is a very routine part of the IVF process and approximately 60% of patients end up with some embryos in storage.”
- According to Dr. Sonya Kashyap, medical director of Genesis Fertility Centre and a clinical assistant professor at UBC, “80 to 90 percent of embryos survive the thawing process.”
- IVF has resulted in more embryos being created than are implanted. It’s been estimated that the United States has 1 million human beings in freezers.