Throughout my life, I’ve always been somewhat tied to the Catholic church. My father was raised Catholic (converted for my mom), as a child my grandparents took me to Catholic mass, I almost exclusively dated Catholics (I have no idea why), and I am now married to a Catholic. I’ve always liked Catholics, they aren’t overly touchy feely about their faith. They also don’t take issue with drinking or gambling (in moderation of course). Nothing I love more than a Catholic casino night (25 cent bingo with $1 beers, don’t mind if I do!). Oh, and they have damn good fish frys during Lent. Sign me up!
I really didn’t want a Catholic wedding, if you’ve been to one you know why, so I thought I’d wait until after we got married to convert to avoid pressure from my grandma and MIL. They have this convenient (for me) rule that non-Catholics can’t get married in a Catholic church, so it wouldn’t be an option for us. The process to become a Catholic isn’t nearly as easy as it is to join a protest church. There is a weekly class you have to attend for several month, so I’ve been procrastinating.
I really never thought we’d have to do IVF, so the Catholic church’s opinions on it were just never on my radar. However now that we’ll definitely be utilizing it, and hope to have a child through it, I certainly can’t ignore them any longer. Basically the Catholic church prohibits (that’s right, they don’t just discourage, they prohibit!) IVF for two main reasons, 1) children should only be born as a result of sex, 2) what is done with excess embryos. If you’d like to read their exact stance, you can do so here.
Reason 1 is just flat out ridiculous. If you think reason 1 is valid, then you should also be against cancer treatment. If you think IVF is playing God, then keeping someone alive with chemo must be too. For that matter, any medication/device/treatment that extends life should be classified as playing God, right? My opinion is this, God gave us the skills to develop these technologies so we could use them. I refuse to believe that God would rather have me be childless than utilize ART.
Reason 2 I can at least understand why they have to have that position. But at the same time, what percent of couples actually have extra embryos anyway? I realize a lot of people do, but I bet it’s not over 70%. And even if there are extra embryos, there are options that don’t result in simply destroying them. Almost all other denominations are just fine with IVF, so I am sure there are other arguments I’m missing for why this isn’t enough to prohibit something.
Finally, the Catholic church puts SO much emphasis on procreating, how dare they prohibit IVF? You can’t preach and preach about the importance of having children, the joys of having children, and then take away the only means I have to have a child. I attended a Catholic wedding once where the priest mentioned in his lecture that a marriage without children wasn’t truly a marriage in God’s eyes or something ridiculous like that. Luckily that was years before I knew I’d struggle with IF or I would have made headlines for punching a priest.
So unless the Catholic church changes its stance, I won’t become a Catholic. My husband doesn’t understand why I feel so strongly on this, but I think he may feel differently if we actually have a child through IVF. He doesn’t think anyone in his church would actually be against it, but it is the principle of it for me. Luckily he’s supportive of joining a protestant church instead (which we had considered at one point for other reasons anyway).
Moving on, since I don’t usually post over the weekend I just wanted to wish you all well on this difficult weekend! Let’s all just hope and pray that next year at this time we will all get to enjoy the celebration as moms or moms-to-be!