Christian Ethics and In Vitro Fertilization

Nikhil Arora, guest blogger over at Christian Science Monitor recently had a blog post entitled, ‘In vitro debate: Is it wrong to sell donor eggs at high prices?’ I have seen it listed places that eggs go for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000!!!

But, this question is part of a much larger discussion especially from a Christian perspective…what is the role of in vitro fertilization in society and how should Christians respond to in vitro fertilization?

The issue at hand here is reproduction vs. procreation. If children are a result of reproduction, then they are nothing more than a product that we can buy for the right price. If children are a result of procreation, then they stop being a product and become a gift of God through God’s act of creating. So is in vitro fertilization an act of reproduction or procreation? In his book Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, ethicist Gilbert Meilaender states that it is hard to render a clear-cut judgment, but he thinks there should be concern, even when the egg and sperm come from the couple trying to have kids.

I would agree with Meilaender in that it is hard to render a clear-cut judgment. I think the concern should be the reason why the technology is being used. There is some point in which the desire to have a child becomes idolatry. When the desire to have kids results in reproduction, then in vitro fertilization becomes an act of idolatry.

Now, do I disagree with in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies? No. I think they have their place in society. I do think that as Christians, we need to look at our hearts and keep our focus on God…not the end result…kids. Is our calling to be parents? If so, to what extent should we go to follow that calling? Should other options be explored (ie adoption)? These are important questions to ask and consider. But I think there is no easy answer here.


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