I could not swallow the horror I felt as I read this story. Thanks to a jewelry company called Baby Bee Hummingbirds, a couple in Australia has turned their seven “extra” embryos conceived through IVF into a necklace. Yes, you heard me. The mother is wearing her babies around her neck.
Most people do not understand why the Catholic Church refuses to approve the practice of in-vitro fertilization, or any form of artificial insemination, or any method of conception at all apart from sexual intercourse. The Church teaches that all such means of conception are morally wrong. The reasons are profound, thoughtful and humble. If you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth, read this, especially CCC 2375 – 2378.
But allow me to say it succinctly this way: What you manufacture, you own. It belongs to you, and you call the shots with authority. What you manufacture, you can control.
THAT is precisely why it is morally wrong to manufacture children. Many people will object to the word “manufacture” here, but it’s the only accurate term. Babies are ordered up and created in a lab, purchased and paid for by adults who have commissioned their creation. That’s manufacturing.
Babies are not ours to control. Human life is not ours to manipulate in that way. We have no right to create life, keep it in some suspended animation, and then decide to destroy it whenever it suits us. We are not God.
We do not own our children. We have no claim on their lives. It is not for us to decide whether they live or die and when. The Lord God is the giver and creator of life. We can only receive our children as gifts. No one can demand a gift, or claim any right to receive a gift.
Assuming the Prerogative of God
It is proper and good for a husband and wife to desire children, since that is precisely the purpose of marriage. Children are the gift and fruit of marriage; the visible result of married love as God intended. I don’t minimize the heartache and pain of couples who are unable to naturally conceive a child. Such infertility is a heavy cross to bear.
Even so, we are not justified in using any means necessary to create a child. Our longing is not a free pass to assume for ourselves the prerogative of God.
But, you may say, God has blessed our modern medicine with such amazing capabilities! How could it be wrong to avail ourselves of what modern medicine can do?
Because God has ordained marital intercourse as the method and means of procreation. It should be evident by now that bad things result when we separate sex from babies. When we believe we have the right and authority to decide when a child is conceived, how a child is conceived, and even whether or not that conceived child gets to keep living, we have grievously sinned.
We are no longer seeing the child as a human person; a gift from God. Rather, we have turned the child into a thing we can manipulate according to our own desires. We take the child as our right to have or not have as we wish. We demand new life, and destroy new life, when it pleases us.
Where’s the Humanity?
This couple in Australia said that donating those embryos “was not an option.” Why not? Why was life not an option? Seven human beings were denied the chance to live, after having been manufactured at their parents’ request, and are now mummified and encapsulated in a crystal heart on a chain. They’ve been turned into an ornament. An adornment. A thing.
See what I mean? What you manufacture, you own. You control. By that thinking, those babies had no inherent, inviolable right to live if their parents did not wish to have them.
The article also says the couple felt “the annual storage fee was an added financial strain, and disposing of them unimaginable.” We’ve made them, but now it’s just too expensive to keep them. So the babies must go away.
I am glad that “disposing of them” was unimaginable. Just typing the phrase “disposing of them” makes me want to vomit. But really, are those seven babies any less dead and disposed of now, hanging around their mother’s neck as an accessory? No, they weren’t rinsed down the drain. But their humanity was not respected.
Babies are Not a Commodity
We cannot afford to be lulled by sentimentalism. This is not honoring of human life. But this sort of thing will become more and more popular, and more people will celebrate this as a beautiful memorial, a truly special way to “keep” those precious babies you just couldn’t let live but didn’t want to “dispose of.”
I’m sorry, but it isn’t beautiful at all. It’s macabre. And I’ll say it — it’s depraved.
We simply must find the courage to recognize how wrong we are to treat human life this way. We may believe our intentions are good and right, but our actions are not justified. We keep pushing the envelope farther and farther, awarding to ourselves more and more power, more and more “rights,” yet we fail to recognize how we dehumanize our children. Pride is urging us to make ourselves like gods, and modern medicine cheers us on.
Just because we can do something, it does not follow that we ought to do it, or that we have any right to do it. Nowhere is this truth more immovable than as it applies to human life. Babies are not a commodity, and we have no right to manufacture them at will. No one — absolutely no one — has any right to a child.
The very same reasoning that approves of IVF condones abortion. They are two sides of the same coin. That will be a bitter pill for many to swallow, and I don’t say that viciously. But we must honestly confront the mess we’ve made.
There should never be any such thing as an “extra” embryo. (For more from the author of “Turning ‘Extra’ Embryos Into Jewelry: We Must Stop Manufacturing Children” please click HERE)