Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Pro-life couple decides to allow extra embryos from IVF to be adopted

This story is from Life News.

Excerpt:

One of the problems with in vitro fertilization is that unused or unwanted embryos are often discarded or destroyed. Unfortunately in 2011, a study in the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine revealed that 19% of unused embryos are discarded and 3% are donated for scientific research.

However, thankfully, there are many people advocating for “embryo adoptions,” which is the implanting of unwanted or unused embryos in an adoptive mothers’ womb. Although this doesn’t remove all the ethical concerns with artificially creating human beings, it does provide an alternative to discarding embryos and destroying lives.

[…]When Becky and Chris Henderson decided to use in vitro to start their family, they decided to keep their 11 unused embryos on ice because they believed life began at conception. Now another family has been blessed by the Henderson’s unused embryos.

They link to this story from the Christian Post for more:

Two couples have been blessed by one couple’s decision to donate their unused embryos and adopt them out to other couples in need.

“We have been blessed with three when we didn’t think we’d have one, so, what kind of awesome thing is it to bless another couple and let them experience the same kind of joy we did?” Becky Henderson told USA Today.

Henderson and husband Chris gave birth to twins via in vitro fertilization and then had a “miracle baby” five years later. After the twins were born, the couple still had 11 embryos frozen; they decided to keep them on ice until they could come to a decision about what they wanted to do. They both believe that life begins at conception, so they decided to place the embryos up for adoption. Eventually, they found Kelli and Dan Gassman, who were looking to have a family of their own.

The four decided to have an “open adoption” and after the Gassmans welcomed son Trevor and, two years later, daughter Aubrey, they still remain close. They share pictures of the children, who are biologically related.

“It was kind of like a joining of hearts,” Gassman said.

“Having an open adoption with communication helps you get over the fears and the doubts,” Becky said. “The what-ifs? It helps get beyond that.”

Now that the Gassmans have their own children, they have returned the remaining unused embryos to the Hendersons. The Hendersons have found another family to help and will continue to do so until all of the embryos are used.

One of the reasons why I blogged about infertility yesterday is because I wanted to people to plan to marry early and about using IVF. The trouble with IVF, as the Life News article notes, is that there are often leftover embryos. Most people, as they noted, just discard the extra embryos, but this is wrong. Each embryo is a distinct genetic code for a male or female human being. Each one is a boy or a girl. Each one has a right to life equal to any able-bodied adult. You and I were all embryos when we were started off. So in order to avoid having to make tough decisions with these extra embryos, I recommend that people plan to marry earlier and have children normally.

Filed under: News, , ,

Fertility and pregnancy: how long can a woman wait before having a baby?

This is from Aeon magazine. The author writes for several ultra-leftist publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon and Slate.

She writes:

Many studies show that women are not only woefully ignorant when it comes to fertility, conception and the efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) – but they overestimate their knowledge about the subject. For instance, a 2011 study in Fertility and Sterility surveyed 3,345 childless women in Canada between the ages of 20 and 50; despite the fact that the women initially assessed their own fertility knowledge as high, the researchers found only half of them answered six of the 16 questions correctly. 72.9 per cent of women thought that: ‘For women over 30, overall health and fitness level is a better indicator of fertility than age.’ (False.) And 90.9 per cent felt that: ‘Prior to menopause, assisted reproductive technologies (such as IVF) can help most women to have a baby using their own eggs.’ (Also false.) Many falsely believed that by not smoking and not being obese they could improve their fertility, rather than the fact that those factors simply negatively affect fertility.

Fertility fog infects cultures and nations worldwide, even those that place more of a premium on reproduction than we do in the West. A global study published for World Fertility Awareness Month in 2006 surveyed 17,500 people (most of childbearing age) from 10 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America, revealing very poor knowledge about fertility and the biology of reproduction. Take Israel, a country that puts such a premium on children that they offer free IVF to citizens up to age 45 for their first two children. According to a 2011 study in Human Reproduction, which surveyed 410 undergraduate students, most overestimated a women’s chances of spontaneous pregnancy in all age groups, but particularly after receiving IVF beyond age 40. Only 11 per cent of the students knew that genetic motherhood is unlikely to be achieved from the mid-40s onward, unless using oocytes or egg cells frozen in advance. ‘This can be explained by technological “hype” and favourable media coverage of very late pregnancies,’ the authors concluded.

[…]For a woman over 42, there’s only a 3.9 per cent chance that a live birth will result from an IVF cycle using her own, fresh eggs, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). A woman over 44 has just a 1.8 per cent chance of a live birth under the same scenario, according to the US National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Women using fresh donor eggs have about a 56.6 per cent chance of success per round for all ages.

Indeed, according to research from the Fertility Authority in New York, 51 per cent of women aged between 35 and 40 wait a year or more before consulting a specialist, in hopes of conceiving naturally first. ‘It’s ironic, considering that the wait of two years will coincide with diminished fertility,’ the group says.

[…]‘No one talks about fertility,’ said [reproductive endocrinologist Janelle Luk, medical director of Neway Fertility in New York City], who does not believe women are really open to hearing about it. ‘I don’t think women know that there’s a limit: the message is equal, equal, equal. Women say: “We want to go to college, we want to work on our careers, we want to be equal to men.” But our biological clock is not.’

[…]Another way women might even out the fertility playing field is by focussing on the so-called male biological clock. But is there one? Although there have been recent news stories about how advanced age in men (over 40 or 50) increases time to conception and the incidence of autism and schizophrenia, the absolute risk is negligible. ‘When you look at the numbers, you have to separate what the absolute risk and the increased risk is,’ said Natan Bar-Chama, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. ‘The absolute risk is still really very small.’

I think if I ever have a daughter, I will be sure to urge her to be skeptical of her emotions and intuitions, to learn how to assess probabilities, to disregard exceptional cases when making plans, to resist the feminism in the culture, to get wisdom from older married women with children instead of young unmarried childless women, to accept that she is not so special that laws and rules don’t apply to her, and to accept that the universe is not malleable according to her needs and desires. I hope my wife will see the value of reining our daughter in before the catastrophes like infertility happen.

Where does the organized opposition to educating young women about fertility facts come from?

‘We feel that women should be able to talk to their ob/gyn about fertility,’ said Sandra Carson, ACOG’s vice president for education. ‘We certainly want to remind women gently that, as they get older, fertility is compromised, but we don’t want to do it in such a way that they feel that it might interfere with their career plans or make them nervous about losing their fertility.’ In other words, there are no guidelines for talking to a woman about her fertility unless she herself brings it up.

All this talk of ‘gentle’ reminders and ‘appropriate’ counselling has a history – a political one. Back in 2001, the ASRM devoted a six-figure sum to a fertility awareness campaign, whose goal was to show the effects of age, obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted diseases on fertility. Surprisingly, the US National Organization for Women (NOW) came out against it. ‘Certainly women are well aware of the so-called biological clock. And I don’t think that we need any more pressure to have kids,’ said Kim Gandy, then president of NOW. In a 2002 op-ed in USA Today, she wrote that NOW ‘commended’ doctors for ‘attempting’ to educate women about their health, but thought they were going about it the wrong way by making women feel ‘anxious about their bodies and guilty about their choices’.

We don’t want women to feel bad, so it’s best to let them follow their hearts. That view is not helpful to women! If we want to help women, we must tell them the truth, and take the consequences.

All this talk about fertility could be accompanied by a discussion of the hard fact that a woman’s attractiveness will decline as she ages. This is a troubling lesson that countless women have had to learn the hard way. When you are young, you stand a much better chance of finding a successful male with good values and who is willing to commit to marriage and parenting. Many women will testify that, as you get older, this convenience deteriorates quickly. The good men will be claimed by the responsible women who don’t waste their youthful years seeking thrills.  Men who are contemplating marriage value a woman’s appearance, fertility, vulnerability and submissiveness to his leadership. Women need to be careful not to embark on a course that will reduce their ability in any of these areas that are important to men, e.g. – careerism, premarital promiscuity, etc.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jennifer Roback Morse lectures on sex and sexuality at Harvard University

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Morse delivers a talk based on her book “Smart Sex” at Harvard University.

The MP3 file is here. (21 Mb)

Topics:

  • the hook-up culture and its effects on men and women
  • cohabitation and its effect on marriage stability
  • balancing marriage, family and career
  • single motherhood by choice and IVF
  • donor-conceived children
  • modern sex: a sterile, recreation activity
  • the real purposes of sex: procreation and spousal unity
  • the hormone oxytocin: when it is secreted and what it does
  • the hormone vassopressin: when it is secreted and what it does
  • the sexual revolution and the commoditization of sex
  • the consumer view of sex vs the organic view of sex
  • fatherlessness and multi-partner fertility
  • how the “sex-without-relationship” view harms children

52 minutes of lecture, 33 minutes of Q&A from the Harvard students. The Q&A is worth listening to – the first question is from a gay student, and Dr. Morse pulls a William Lane Craig to defeat her objection. It was awesome! I never get tired of listening to her talk, and especially on the topics of marriage and family.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Who thinks that it’s OK to buy and sell human beings?

From The Public Discourse.

Excerpt:

Having children is currently our only legal path to achieving both genetic and memetic immortality. But having kids isn’t easy. You have to find a mate. You have to look outside yourself and into the eyes of another person and convince him or her of your decency, your desirability.

[…]There are two categories of infertility: clinical and social. Clinical infertility arises from physical medical problems. Social infertility occurs when someone is unwilling or unable to attract someone of the opposite sex to procreate with.

Studies indicate that up to 15 percent of couples of childbearing age are clinically infertile. Much of this is due to our toxic environment, pollution, and unsafe chemicals, but there is also something to be said about our toxic behavior. At least one quarter of female infertility is a direct result of sexually transmitted infections.

The sperm bank industry initially began as a mission in eugenics, but ballooned due to our unspoken epidemic in low sperm count. Clinically infertile heterosexual couples began quietly using donated sperm. After a while, they began to be open about using donated sperm and insisted that biology doesn’t make a difference for the child’s well-being.

Then lesbian couples began using sperm donors. They argued, if biology doesn’t matter for a child’s well-being, then why should a parent’s gender? They declared that parenting is a set of tasks and obligations, and women can fulfill those tasks just as well as men can. Single-moms-by-choice followed, saying if biology and gender don’t matter, why should the number of caretakers?

So what happens when fathers become disposable? Public Discourse readers are well aware that fatherlessness invites a stark range of social ills. For instance, 90 percent of homeless and runaway youth come from fatherless homes, as do over 80 percent of rapists with anger problems. Now, those who promote fatherlessness via sperm donation are celebrating motherlessness via egg vending and surrogacy.

Think motherhood is sacred? One surrogate pregnancy can generate $100-300,000. Today, the motherless child has become the fertility industry’s most lucrative enterprise.

Because this is an industry, we shouldn’t be surprised that fertility industry professionals are trying to industrialize the process and do things more efficiently. Surrogacy attorney Theresa Erickson was an “industry sweetheart” until she was convicted of baby-selling. Rather than waiting for commissioning parents to sign a contract before conception, Theresa expedited the process. She shopped for egg and sperm donors on her own and found surrogates to impregnate. Then, after the baby reached the second trimester, she would find parents, lie to them and tell them the original couple had backed out, and charge up to $180,000 per child. She created thirteen babies this way.

The only thing illegal about what Erickson did—the only reason she was put in jail for baby-selling—is that the paperwork was done after conception rather than before.

At a workshop where I once was on a panel with Theresa, she justified separating children from their parents by commenting that her mother was adopted, so what’s the difference? Most people I speak to relate third-party reproduction to adoption just as she did.

We’ve accepted adoption as a good. And adoption can often be very good; it is an institution that finds parents for helpless children who desperately need a decent home. But, at some point, our concept of adoption slid. Many people now think of it primarily as a way of “getting” kids. We know that adoption is made possible by the fact that the relationship between biological parent and child has been severed. So if adoption is good, some reason, then the severing of that relationship must at least be neutral.

But it is not neutral. It’s actually very sad.

Adoption is only morally sound as an institution that provides a loving home for existing children who—for some uncontrollable reason—cannot be raised by their biological parents. Third-party reproduction is inherently unethical, because it serves as a market to manufacture children for any adult who wants them, purposely severing the biological parent-child relationship for the sake of profit.

I hate to write about these things without offering some solutions, but it’s hard to come up with solutions when there are so many powerful, wealthy people wanting to buy and sell other human beings. How am I supposed to stop that? But I actually do have a course of action, even if it’s just a shot in the dark.

My thinking is that we need to be focused on courting properly and having strong marriages, and being more open about showing off the love in our marriages and homes. I think that Christians need to take courting and marrying more seriously as a witness to the watching world. We need to be more serious about how our partnerships can influence the outside world by setting a standard for love of spouse and love of children. If people knew that there was a real difference if you do marriage right – the right pre-marital behaviors, the right courting, the right commitment – then maybe they would learn to be more careful and less selfish with children. It might help people to think more carefully about their own plans and focus on making decisions that will allow them to welcome children into the world and give them what they need.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , ,

Dennis Prager explains what feminism has achieved for women

Dennis Prager has summarized many of my viewpoints on this blog in a tiny, tiny little article. He calls it “Four Legacies of Feminism“.

Read the whole glorious thing and bask in its wisdom!

Full text:

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s feminist magnum opus, The Feminine Mystique, we can have a perspective on feminism that was largely unavailable heretofore.

And that perspective doesn’t make feminism look good. Yes, women have more opportunities to achieve career success; they are now members of most Jewish and Christian clergy; women’s college sports teams are given huge amounts of money; and there are far more women in political positions of power. But the prices paid for these changes — four in particular — have been great, and outweigh the gains for women, let alone for men and for society.

1) The first was the feminist message to young women to have sex just as men do. There is no reason for them to lead a different sexual life than men, they were told. Just as men can have sex with any woman solely for the sake of physical pleasure, so, too, women ought to enjoy sex with any man just for the fun of it. The notion that the nature of women is to hope for at least the possibility of a long-term commitment from a man they sleep with has been dismissed as sexist nonsense.

As a result, vast numbers of young American women had, and continue to have, what are called “hookups”; and for some of them it is quite possible that no psychological or emotional price has been paid. But the majority of women who are promiscuous do pay prices. One is depression. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently summarized an academic study on the subject: “A young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.”

Long before this study, I had learned from women callers to my radio show (an hour each week — the “Male-Female Hour” — is devoted to very honest discussion of sexual and other man-woman issues) that not only did female promiscuity coincide with depression, it also often had lasting effects on women’s ability to enjoy sex. Many married women told me that in order to have a normal sexual relationship with their husband, they had to work through the negative aftereffects of early promiscuity — not trusting men, feeling used, seeing sex as unrelated to love, and disdaining their husband’s sexual overtures. And many said they still couldn’t have a normal sex life with their husband.

2) The second awful legacy of feminism has been the belief among women that they could and should postpone marriage until they developed their careers. Only then should they seriously consider looking for a husband. Thus, the decade or more during which women have the best chance to attract men is spent being preoccupied with developing a career. Again, I cite woman callers to my radio show over the past 20 years who have sadly looked back at what they now, at age 40, regard as 20 wasted years. Sure, these frequently bright and talented women have a fine career. But most women are not programmed to prefer a great career to a great man and a family. They feel they were sold a bill of goods at college and by the media. And they were. It turns out that most women without a man do worse in life than fish without bicycles.

3) The third sad feminist legacy is that so many women — and men — have bought the notion that women should work outside the home that for the first time in American history, and perhaps world history, vast numbers of children are not primarily raised by their mothers or even by an extended family member. Instead they are raised for a significant part of their childhood by nannies and by workers at daycare centers. Whatever feminists may say about their only advocating choices, everyone knows the truth: Feminism regards work outside the home as more elevating, honorable, and personally productive than full-time mothering and making a home.

4) And the fourth awful legacy of feminism has been the demasculinization of men. For all of higher civilization’s recorded history, becoming a man was defined overwhelmingly as taking responsibility for a family. That notion — indeed the notion of masculinity itself — is regarded by feminism as the worst of sins: patriarchy.

Men need a role, or they become, as the title of George Gilder’s classic book on single men describes them: Naked Nomads. In little more than a generation, feminism has obliterated roles. If you wonder why so many men choose not to get married, the answer lies in large part in the contemporary devaluation of the husband and of the father — of men as men, in other words. Most men want to be honored in some way — as a husband, a father, a provider, as an accomplished something; they don’t want merely to be “equal partners” with a wife.

In sum, thanks to feminism, very many women slept with too many men for their own happiness; postponed marriage too long to find the right man to marry; are having hired hands do much of the raising of their children; and find they are dating boy-men because manly men are so rare.

Feminism exemplifies the truth of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for — you may get it.”

I wish I could add something to this, but I can’t because every time I think of something to add, he says it in the next sentence.

If you like this short essay, then this medium essay arguing against feminism authored by Barbara Kay would be nice follow-up.

It might be worth forwarding these articles along to your friends. And I highly recommend books on male-female relationships and roles by George Gilder, especially “Men and Marriage“.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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