Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Judgement + IVF


The Bible has a whole lot to say about judging others, (a sprinkling of which you will find here) and it's pretty clear that it's a religious no-no akin to a diabetic drinking regular soda and ordering funnel cakes at the fair. So why, then, are religious people sometimes the most judgmental? I have to say, it's a huge turn-off, and one of the main factors that kept me away from organized religion for so long. It also has me questioning why I went back.

I can sort of understand the church itself taking a stance against certain issues...after all, someone has to. And some things are clearly right or wrong even in the secular world. You don't need a Bible or any of the 10 commandments to tell you that you shouldn't kill someone. But when a layperson then uses the church's stance to look down on another, well...that's a different story. Just who the hell (pun intended) do they think they are?

The church has been wrong before. 
Did you know that the Catholic church considered slavery morally acceptable, as long as the masters treated their slaves humanely, from day one until after the Civil War? That Galileo was condemned in 1633 for teaching that the earth revolved around the sun, not the other way round as the church believed, and the poor guy wasn't let off the hook until 1992? That the church taught sex in marriage to be a necessary evil for the procreation of children until the 20th century? (citation).
And they will be wrong again. Especially with new things that involve technology, like the IVF we are now planning. 

For those of you who aren't Catholic, let me tell you that the church is against this modus operandi for getting pregnant. We have already had someone vocal in their lack of support for what we're doing. Why? Well, some of their objections are as follows: 
  1. A child has the right to be conceived in the marital embrace of his parents.
  2.  IVF makes the child a commodity produced in a laboratory.
  3. The sperm used is usually obtained by masturbation, which the Church teaches is immoral. 
  4. Most of the embryos conceived die, are frozen indefinitely for later implantation, are used for research, or are discarded. 
You may think I'm making this up, but it's actually all right here, in the church teaching on IVF. Numbers 1-3 are laughable and so there's no need to even offer a rebuttal. But I take issue with number 4, which is purely just a lie. "Most" embryos don't die. And the ones that don't make it when fertilized in the lab, would not have made it had they been fertilized in utero. Its the same reason miscarriages happen: not all fertilized eggs have the right chromosomal or genetic components to thrive, whether they are in the womb or in the lab. It's not like there is some mad scientist who goes in there stabbing all of the 8 cell future humans. And even the church, who believes human life starts at conception, calls them embryos. 

And to the second part, that they are used for research: they cannot be without our written permission. Should we have any left over, we have decided we will not have them frozen "indefinitely" (impossible since you have to pay a yearly fee) or discarded, we will use them a few months after our first child or children are born. 

In couples with undetermined fertility problems, sometimes the egg is getting fertilized, but is not implanting. Or, the egg is fertilized, but not picked up by the Fallopian tube. Remember, it takes almost two weeks to actually become pregnant. One could argue that couples who continue to do this instead of seeking assistance are killing more embryos than if they went the IVF route.

So, back to my question: why are religious people often the most judgmental? With my background in psychology, I would hypothesize that judgmental people are insecure, and people who feel bad about themselves often feel somewhat better judging others. These same people may also be more inclined to cling to a religion. Or, maybe they're not more judgmental, they're just more vocal about it. It is, after all, somewhat normal to judge in some ways for survival, the focus of countless studies done on in-groups and out-groups. We've all done it. Or maybe, religion can sort of create that in those who may otherwise not be very opinionated about it. I guess only God knows. 

But all of this does have me somewhat reluctant to call myself Catholic, lest I be confused with people like them. But, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and I have to remind myself that, as my husband says, no one "owns" Catholicism. And, both of our sets of parents are in full support.

I should have sympathy for those who feel the need to judge, not judge them for their judging. I also have to remind myself that many of my friends, even those most pious, don't have a judgmental bone in their body.

I'm quite excited about our decision, and my appointment tomorrow. And if there is a God, I know he will be more than pleased with my route to becoming a Mom. Especially if it means that my Mom gets to realize her dream of becoming a grandmother.

14 comments:

  1. Also, if G-d wanted you to have children, He'd have blessed you with them.
    No one ever seems to consider that G-d provided a way for man to overcome infertility, just has He provided a way for man to travel beyond the simple walking/crawling that most people associate with the human form.
    Why do we accept wheelchairs, crutches, riding horses, boats, cars, planes, etc. as acceptable technology to compensates for the limits of our bodies, but reproductive technically, oh, that's going too far!

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    1. Such a good point! Thank you for your support!

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  2. Dear Megan. Your post broke my heart. Infertility is something that is taboo to talk about. I will say up front that I don't agree with your analysis, or with your assessment of the Church's teaching (although I am sure there are many Catholics out there who can be very judgmental! And not just Catholics, many Christians too!) A friend of mine recently posted 2 articles on this topic, so I am going to link them here. The first is 10 things to know about IVF that sometimes are not always discussed -- like just how invasive it can be on your body. The second deals with the topic 'ok, if not IVF--then what?' It is her personal reflection on her experience, so take that for what it is worth. In the meantime, I am praying for you and your family.

    http://www.aleteia.org/en/health/article/10-things-you-really-need-to-know-about-ivf-5272725291532288?page=3

    http://www.aleteia.org/en/health/article/10-things-over-than-ivf-that-could-help-a-couple-suffering-with-infertility-5905598654709760?

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    1. Thank you for the links - will check them out now!

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  3. If it is not apparent by the comments you have recieved thus far, you will always feel judged by ignorant people who have no understanding of your pain and struggles.
    As a mother of triplets, I would like to make the following recommendation to you. Get very comfortable with people thinking they know everything about your life and feeling like they have the right to overtly judge you for everything you do. Grow a thick skin and then learn to realize these people are meaningless to you and your journey. It will not stop with IVF. You will be judged well after you are blessed by God with a child, or two or three.
    The people like those who've already commented lack the fundamental emotions that make us good and decent people. Compassion, empathy, and the willingness to understand. I'm certain that God would support these attributes, not those who choose to slander you with hate, negativity and judgement and call it "God's will". Ignor the stupidity thinly veiled as religion, and take the path to motherhood that you so greatly deserve. Teach your children the compassion, empathy and love that you did not receive from religious organizations and ignorant people. Much luck and love to you on your journey.

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    1. Thank you so very much for your support! It means a lot to me.

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  4. Sigh, I think it's a right of passage for every IVF blogger to receive a comment from someone telling them they should consider NaproTechnology instead (the aleteia.org articles above support Napro). As a Christian (not Catholic), I had to do a lot of research before deciding that I could do IVF and still respect pre-born life. I agree that everyone doing IVF should come to terms with the ethical issues involved, and I respect Catholics' right to believe what they do, BUT I really wish they would stop promoting Napro as an IVF replacement. Napro cannot get around blocked tubes, azoospermia, or a host of other issues. And for those who say that Catholics should just adopt rather than do IVF... well, adoption is often more expensive than IVF and financially out of reach for many people. By the way, my RE is a Catholic so he's apparently made peace with what he does. I appreciate that he prays for each embryo after every transfer and I believe he's actively seeking God in his practice.

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    1. Thank you so much for your support, Lisa!

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  5. The next time someone vocally judges you, look at them and tell them the following story:

    One day a man was out fishing on the ocean when his boat sprang a large leak and quickly sank. A passing boat saw the man and threw him a life preserver and urged him to take it so they could rescue him. He replied "No thank you, God will provide." A little bit later a tanker had spotted the man and also attempted to rescue him. He once again replied to the offer of help with "No thank you, God will provide." Later as the man is getting tired a helicopter spots him and hovers overhead and tries to rescue him. Once again he refuses the help and shouts "No thank you! God will provide!"

    Shortly after the helicopter the man passes out and slips below the water. He drowns and later finds himself at the pearly gates. Because he had lived a good life he was allowed to ask God one question. He asked "God, why did you not provide? I had absolute faith in you and yet, you let me drown." God replied "My son, I sent you a boat, a tanker and a helicopter, and you refused my help each time."

    It is said that God helps those that help themselves - and that is exactly what you are doing! I hope that your first IVF is successful!!

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    1. Debbi - I don't know how you found my blog, but I am so glad you did. I heard this story long ago, but never thought of it in relation to IVF. You just made my night. Thank you for your kind comment and support.

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  6. Hi Megan. I'm a Catholic. And I have MRKH- perfectly working ovaries, but no uterus. The only way my husband and I could have biological children is via IVF and a surrogate. After 10 years of prayer, sadness, etc., I truly have come to see the beauty of the Church's teaching, and the meaning of sacrifice and suffering in this case, and my life has changed in ways I never could have imagined. I wish you joy in your journey, and many blessings. Feel free to contact me if you'd ever like to talk.

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    1. Thank you so much Connie. Suffering can sure teach us a lot. All the best - Megan

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  7. Hi! I know this post is old now but I just wanted to say, I'm a Christian, not a Sunday face but a born again believer. I was born with a unicornuate uterus (half of a uterus) and only one fallopian tube which was removed when it ruptured due to an ectopic pregnancy. I waited on a wait list for 2 years to start IVF, my family (all Christians) supported my husband and I's decision. My husbands family, also Christians, had some reservations but no hard set objections once they were better informed. We started a new church after moving and had just started to settle in when I struck a conversation with a lady on the worship team one Sunday morning. I had just started my IVF meds and I was so excited to get the ball rolling that without thinking, I told her I had just begun IVF. She began to scold me and tell me I was in sin. Shocked and hurt I left and cried the whole way home, I contacted the pastor and spoke to him about it and he assured my husband and I that the church is not against IVF and they supported us fully. The pastor met with this lady and her husband and they stood their ground that IVF is sinful and the embryos that die are an ABORTION! I know you're past this and have your sweet miracle but I wanted to say, you're not the first person to get slapped by legalism and sadly I won't be the last. It saddens me that people like that are what people think of when they think of Christianity. Yes, we're all sinners but we are redeemed by Christ, our first calling is to love each other. I hope your experience with "religion" has made a turn for the best. Congrats on your darling little girl! XXX

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    1. Thank you so much for your support Brittany, I appreciate it!!! I have since realized that people who DON'T seek fertility treatment in a way could killing the potential babies. For example, if their estradiol levels aren't high enough to support a pregnancy, and the egg is fertilized and implanting, ya know??

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