Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Sad: Children of Artificial Conception Share Their Painful Stories



The Church teaches that In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is wrong.  Many consider this teaching to be hurtful and uncaring toward those who are not able to conceive a child.  Perhaps those who disagree with the Church on this point should read the personal reflections of the children who have been conceived through anonymous donor programs.  The website "The Anonymous Us Project" provides a space for those children to share their stories and their pain.   Here are a couple of excerpts:

I am a human being, yet I was conceived with a technique that had its origins in animal husbandry. Worst of all, farmers kept better records of their cattle's genealogy than assisted reproductive clinics had kept for the donor conceived people of my era. It also made me feel strange to think that my genes were spliced together from two people who were never in love, never danced together, had never even met one another.
And another:
My mother said the only way to unlock the donor records was if I were to get a terminal illness, since having my father's medical information could help the doctors treat me. It turns out she was wrong about that -- there was no way to find out the identity of my "donor" under any circumstances. According to the office where my mother was inseminated, her records had already been destroyed by the time she told me this story. But I don't think either of us knew that at the time. A fact I've never told anyone else until now is that I prayed for a disease that would allow me to unlock the file that I imagined would tell me who my father was and what siblings I had. I prayed for it every night for I'm not sure how long -- at least a few weeks, but it seemed like a few months -- as I cried myself to sleep.
 I found out about the Anonymous Us Project through a post by Fr. Tim Finigan at the Hermeneutic of Continuity.  Father Finigan points out that the 1987 Vatican document Donum Vitae asserts that one of the moral wrongs associated with IVF is that it deprives a child of a "filial relationship" with its parents.  The child does not know its father or, possibly, even its mother. 

Just recently while waiting on line at the supermarket I caught sight of the cover of a magazine showing the singer Elton John and his boyfriend with "their" new baby.  What a tragedy.  They have no right to that child.  A child is not a trophy.  A child is not a pet.  A child is a human being who should not knowingly and willingly be deprived of a mother and a father.  At times it happens that a child is left without parents due to death, accident or some other difficult situation.  To "manufacture" children to fulfill the desires and whims of those who cannot conceive naturally is completely immoral and puts the needs of the child way below the desires of the adults.  We live in a very selfish culture.  Unfortunately, children seem to take the brunt of it.  The stories at "Anonymous Us" bear this out.

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