Religion and IVF-advice?

posted 2 years ago in TTC
Post # 16
Member
1571 posts
Bumble bee

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BeepBopB00p : My first impression is that your husband is undervaluing your life and effort. IVF is not without health risks to the woman, and by not utilizing all of the eggs, you are hampering your likelihood of success and and increasing the probability you will need another round. I’d be questioning how little he values you if he is willing to risk your health and yet unnecessarily compromise your success and chance of motherhood over a couple of clumps of cells. 

On another note, my understanding is that eggs can also be frozen.

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gardenpeas :  Could you elaborate how the growth rate of embryos is relevant? Embryos not implanted are usually frozen. Additionally, embryos aren’t the only thing that grows quickly. So do tumors.

Post # 17
Member
9 posts
Newbee

anonymousbee001: I’m not here to hijack the thread and try to convinve others that life begins at conception. But since you asked me to clarify, I’ll answer. Tumors don’t differentiate into cell layers that will eventually form the nervous sytem, circulatory/skeletal system, and lungs within a week or two after their creation like an embryo does. 

OP is looking to nagivate IVF in a way that she and her husband can see eye to eye. I shared my beliefs because I want to fully disclose where my values come from. Precisely because I understand her husband’s concern, my comments may be helpful to OP. That’s for her to decide, of course. My primary concern is for OP to discuss all relevant facts so she can move forward with her husband. Notice I never asked her to back off from IVF. I believe there are nuances and, with the right information, her husband may be agreeable to IVF. 

Post # 18
Member
1571 posts
Bumble bee

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gardenpeas :  My point was that the growth rate (and differentiation) of an embryo in the first couple weeks is irrelevant to the discussion of whether it has societal value or to OP’s decision to pursue IVF, hence why I drew to the analogy to a tumor. 

Post # 19
Member
15471 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You may be able to find a doctor who will retireve less eggs, but would probably have to travel to one of the few.  (I have come across this topic on inspire.com and recall someone mentioning that this does exist.  It’s rare though, since this reduces chances of success and most clinics dont want to decrease their stats).  I can’t speak to the religous aspect, but as far as eggs/chances go… as someone who also has high AFC 25-30+ too… it’s possible that most those eggs aren’t mature, or high quality.  I’ve done 8 retreivals, probably 150ish eggs retreived and only 8 blasts.  I transfered 2 at a time twice, resulting in 1 implanted and lost each time.   The 5th embryo I implanted is my son.  If i’d been picky about not retreiving and fertilizing each one to see what would happen, I likely wouldn’t have had any success with those odds.  Just because you have that many eggs doesnt guarentee that many will develop and grow.

Post # 20
Member
2377 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

I think it is admirable that you and your husband are having this conversation. We too had to have this exact conversation before proceeding with IVF. We believed we are responsible for each embryo created and did not take the process lightly.

I suggest you both sit down and list all your ethical quandaries and then discuss how they can be overcome without compromising the sanctity of each embryo. Take that list to your fertility clinic and explain what makes you uncomfortable and listen to what suggestions they have. We had a sit down with our embryologist and RE and explained that we were pro life and these were our concerns. For us, it was how do we ensure that we give each embryo we create a chance for life.

I would  also suggest coming up with a limit of what you are both comfortable ultimately transferring. Allow those to be fertilized and freeze any extra eggs you have. That will avoid unnecessary egg retrieval on your part. Also it helps to explain to your husband how natural biology works. Not all embryos are compatible with life, naturally or in a laboratory. That’s partly why we only have a 20% natural success rate each month of getting pregnant. Some eggs get fertilized and just never make it to implantation. So we were ok with discarding completely arrested embryos but not ok with the clinic discarding based on likelihood of survival. 

We made it clear that all embryos that were still alive were either to be transferred to me or frozen. I suggest finding a clinic that gets there were no compromise on that fact.

At one point in time we also consider mini IVF but ultimately decided to go traditional controlled route. You can look up a blog called Always Katie as an e.g of someone who froze half her eggs and fertilized the other half.

Good luck, I’m sure you both will come up with the best solution for you, just dont be afraid to ask the hard questions and search for the right answers.

Post # 21
Member
416 posts
Helper bee

I’m Christian, and I know of pastors who went with IVF. 

The way my pastor explained it to the church about other couples’ decision to go with IVF was that God has a plan, he put that plan into your heart as a desire (eg. a strong desire to be a mom, because trust me, not all of us have that need). God made the doctors, the researchers, the people behind IVF and while we should pray and trust and lean into His promises, we should also not discount the people and options that He places in our lives to help us in that path – whether doctors or IVF or adoption agencies. 

My super-controversial POV however is that I don’t believe Christians who are against “hot-button topic” involving women’s rights, should be able to seek IVF or absolution for IVF – because so many cling to the argument that life begins at conception, well then the X number of unused embryos are alive too. Compassionate transfer, to me, also just seems like another way of assuaging guilt without changing the outcome. To me, that sort of mental gymnastics is hypocritical. If your husband feels that uncomfortable, then offering to adopt out the unused embryos to other couples may be the only option he feels okay with. The other option would be to transfer all viable embryos and only discard non-viable ones. If I’m honest, from a theoretical, journal article perspective….the number harvested tends to be a lot higher than the number that make it through to transfer and implantation.

 

OR, you guys could adopt an unused embryo instead. To avoid the idea of discarding/freezing your own.

Post # 22
Member
416 posts
Helper bee

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gardenpeas :  Some tumours kinda do. Teratomas being the chief one – they arise from germ cells, and differentiate into different cell types – they can develop to the extent that you’ll find hair and teeth and eyes, even veins, muscle, bones in a single tumour.

[Sorry to interject, I get your point, I just had to discuss one of my favourite pathology pots]

Post # 23
Member
2377 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

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littlemissdimsum :  I dont want to derail this thread but your super-controversial POV reads a bit myopic, reductionist and uninformed. Some one can still believe life begins at conception  and do IVF, I think it’s the point of the OP, how not to discard of unused embryos, because her husband views it as alive.

As I suggest to the OP do some research, ask the hard questions and search for the right answers that preserve at all time the humane integrity of each embryo. Sure it might be the less travelled road to take but certainly not insurmountable.

 

Post # 24
Member
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I don’t understand his discomfort. The process of IVF is a scientific one developed by humans. Either he thinks it’s natural or he thinks it’s unnatural (i.e. “unnatural” in that it is not a creative process done and/or sanctioned by God).

If he thinks it’s a natural process (because God created humanity with brains that can thereby develop such scientific processes, and so the process is indirectly a creation of God), then he needs to accept that the discarding of embryos is a necessary part of the natural process and is thus sanctioned by God. 

If he doesn’t think it’s a natural process, then he shouldn’t agree to IVF one way or the other. 

I recognize that he’s reticent to engage in this process (probably because he doesn’t, ultimately, see it as sanctioned by God but merely as the product of humankind), but it seems like he’s (or you are) trying to have his cake and eat it too. He wants the pregnancy, buuuuut… how can he get it in a way that is “natural,” you seem to be asking. Well, it’s going to be the product of a scientific process developed by humans, period. He has to define what that means to himself first and foremost. 

Post # 25
Member
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

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BeepBopB00p :  I had some simular worries with ivf…I didnt want more embryos then I could use…but as others have said….you will get a lot more eggs then embryos. The doctors wont know which egg will fertilize until they try them. You could talk to your RE about your concern . Maybe they could aim for a smaller # of eggs? Unsure if that is a good idea though…because that may mean doing multiple retrivael .  I have heard of a mini ivf which is where they just aim to get one good egg out…but I dont think the success rates are all that great and my clinic doesnt even offer it. You could also do pgs testing…that really narrows down which embryo is best. Because creating too many embryos was a concern for me…my RE suggested if I get 5 or more embryos to do pgs to chose the best embryos. I only got 3 so I didnt do pgs. 3 was doable for me. Although I had a friend who did pgs and still ended up with far more embryos then she can use….so there is no guarantee and very good to make sure you and your husband are on the same page before deciding to move forward. Basically me and my DH decided to pray on it and take a chance with ivf. Only you two will know what’s best for you. Anyways I would talk to your RE and go from there. I am sure you not the first couple they have talked too that had this concern.

 Good luck!!

Post # 26
Member
1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - City, State

I’m Catholic and so I do not believe in doing IVF, and would not do it. 

Post # 27
Member
241 posts
Helper bee

I think your next step is to have a sit down with the RE and embryologist and get the facts.  You need to get your clinics success rates, whether they recommend genetic testing in your embryos, how many embryos on average are used to achieve a successful pregnancy, average amount of cycles and retreavals needed etc.  I think your husband also needs to be educated on how natural conception works and how it translates to IVF regarding embryo creation, successful implantation, pregnancy rates etc.  Once you have the facts and figures, not just your moral assumptions, have that discussion with your priest/pastor and figure out if IVF is an option. 

I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, but when it comes to religion and morality, I feel that often our fears tend to drive decision-making, rather than facts and science.  IVF is not a choice to be taken lightly- religion aside- and is often underestimated how difficult it can be physically, emotionally, financially, and the strain it can put on the most solid relationships.  

Post # 28
Member
898 posts
Busy bee

Again, IVF ignorant here, but I’m curious…couldn’t you simply freeze *unfertilized* eggs, and attempt to fertilize them a few at a time rather than all at once? This way there’d be no actual embryos wasting in a freezer, or the need to discard embryos if “too many” become viable but won’t be used. They could extract a bunch of eggs at once, and then just pull out ~4 at a time from the freezer, until one sticks? No idea what that would mean for cost or anything, though…but discarding unfertilized eggs would be no different than finishing into a condom. 

Definitely talk about your options more in depth with an expert. My brief Googling searching seemed to indicate there are quite a few options for religious convictions, but an expert would know best

Post # 29
Member
5249 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

As an ever doubting catholic I have to say I really struggle to understand the arguments against IVF. 

The argument that ivf is anti life is laughable to me, what could be more pro life than going through such a tough process to achieve a child?  One of the arguments against it is to do with doctors being involved in the act of procreation and altering “the destiny of the human person”, and yet surely by that argument there would be a bunch of catholics going around rejecting chemo and other life saving procedures? 

Linked to this argument is that it wasn’t willed by god, so are we saying infertility is a punishment of some sort that god has inflicted on these couples since he made them that way? 

In Ireland the church has come out and said that another reason is that the fundamental cause of infertility could be traced back to premarital sex.  I can’t even say anything back to that except the world’s biggest eye roll.

But he is pretty adamant on continuing to try and I think he still thinks it’ll just happen if we eat more veggies lol.

It sounds like you and your husband need to be much more serious in the conversations with your doctors and making a big effort to educate yourselves.  When you are on your 3rd IUI your husband should be much more knowledgeable about the process and your specific chances as a couple.  The reality is if you are struggling to conceive naturally you either want the baby bad enough to go through IVF or you don’t. 

Post # 30
Member
1824 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Would he consider what they call “snowflake adoption”?  When you are finished having children, you could offer any extra embryos for adoption to other infertile couples, rather than destroying them.

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