by Dr. Jovieh Madlos-Liray, Guest Writer
There’s a word war between Sir Elton John and Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) regarding In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). To Dolce and Gabbana, IVF babies are synthetic babies or chemically created human beings. D&G believe that the only way to make babies is through the natural method and that babies must belong to a normal family, which consists of a mother and a father. Thus, for them, if one belongs to the LGBT parents, you just have to accept the reality that, together, you are not bound to procreate. On the other hand, Sir Elton John, as everyone knows, has a husband and two sons through surrogacy.
Before I express my view, I just want to reiterate the fact that I’m a Catholic … have always been and forever will be. Being raised by Catholic parents and honed in a Catholic school from kindergarten to college, my belief in God and everything that the Holy Bible says has already been ingrained in the gray mater of my brain and interwoven in every fiber of my heart for as long as I’m alive.
I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the value of the traditional family. However, this does not mean that I do not respect the choices and opinion of other people who have the same rights as I do on this planet. For it is the very religion that I grew up with that taught me such virtue.
Going back to the issue of IVF. Having worked at a ‘mother and baby’ setting for nine years has opened my eyes to the reality that this is something real. I never thought that the day will come that I will be able to hold the so-called “test-tube babies” in my hands. The fact is, IVF is an option for individuals and parents who are not as lucky to have babies the natural way.
Although it is a very expensive and intensely painful and agonizing procedure, it has become very common that it is no longer surprising among healthcare workers who are able to take care of these families in this part of the world. It feels so natural already that no one questions anymore the reasons why these babies were born or why the parents or individual (because not all babies are born to married couples; some are born to a solo parent) chose to have them. It’s not a big deal anymore because I, for one, believe that the only reason they go through the difficult and expensive process is because they have so much love in them that they need to share it with another individual. I believe that nurturing is inherent in them.
Do you know why I believe that it’s “LOVE” that motivated them to have these babies? The cost of the procedure is not even an issue because if one has a good health insurance, it’s usually 80-100% covered and even without a good health insurance, as long as you have the money (some people saved for years just to be able to afford the procedure). It is the process of In Vitro Fertilization that requires dedication and sacrifice. These women would have to go through so much testing that they literally have to go to the hospital or clinic every other day, if not everyday. They would have to undergo different kinds of procedures, such as, consulting, counseling, a series of laboratory testing, being injected with tons of hormones, harvesting and retrieval of the ovum, implantation into the uterus and many more.
But, guess what? Due to their utmost desire to be able to hold and kiss and love a baby, they do not even mind doing all these things. Only those with the best of intentions and have the strongest of hearts can endure such a long and arduous process. And that is not even the hardest part. For them, it is the “waiting” that they find unbearable. They have to anxiously wait whether the implanted fertilized human eggs a.k.a. zygotes would successfully develop and grow. It’s only then that they can actually say that they are already pregnant!
The truth is, not every attempt is successful. For others, it takes years. There are also those who were never successful at all. Come to think of it. Even if you have the money or the means, are brave enough to undergo the whole process, or are willing to wait for years, if God does not want you to have a baby through IVF, no doctor, hormone nor state of the art health care facility can make a baby for you. With this, it takes a fearless individual to accept her fate.
Yes, making babies out of test tubes is like “playing god”. You might ask yourself whether the “end justifies the means.” You’ve got to consider the morality of the action, the morality of the outcome, and the morality of the person performing the action. It is not for me to answer this question. The answer is based on your own opinion and belief. Yes, there’s an ethical debate on this … which, I guess would never end.
I would just settle on the belief that these parents have every right to decide on what options to take. All I care about is that, as long as they value and love these test-tube babies and take full responsibility to raise them as good citizens of this world, then my answer is “Yes, the end justifies the means.”
One can only imagine how blessed and grateful these parents feel just by looking at their IVF babies who don’t seem different from the naturally-conceived ones. I believe that every human being has a soul; it doesn’t matter how he/she was conceived. One’s character is a reflection of one’s soul. After all, the body is just a receptacle. If these babies grow up in an environment filled with love, nurturing, and respect, then they will all grow up to be beautiful souls, which is what the world actually needs.
Now, there are women who are able to conceive naturally without any glitch at all … yet, they don’t value their babies as much as the IVF moms do. Some take drugs and attempt to get an abortion and others maltreat, neglect or abandon their babies anytime from birth onwards. In short, everything worked well from conception to delivery but love is nowhere in the picture. Which is worse then?
I will go to bed with these thoughts, “love is enough reason to sacrifice.” It is my belief that respect begets respect. Hurt people hurt people. To each his own. Your beliefs, as long as they do not bother other people to the point of hurting them, is between you and your God.
Lastly, to us, who have been blessed to have conceived and raised our babies in the most natural way, we should never get tired of loving and nurturing our children. We must forever be grateful and humbled for having been given the opportunity to take care of another soul with much less difficulty. When the going gets tough, when the challenge becomes overwhelming … think about the parents whose only choice was to do In Vitro Fertilization … and those who were never successful, whether natural or IVF.