I don’t know why Nadya Suleman opted for single, poverty-stricken motherhood on steroids, pun intended, undergoing the in vitro fertilization procedure several times to produce 14 children since 2001. The last eight were born Jan. 26.
But Suleman has explained why she opted to have her remaining six frozen embryos implanted at one time. (Two split into twins.) A RadarOnline.com video released Feb. 23 revealed Suleman’s rationale while arguing with her mother, Angela:
Suleman: I planned on one growing, at the most two. … [T]his is all unintentional.
Mom: But did you read about the statistics?
Nadya: The statistics is that this doesn’t happen…. This never, ever happened. One person it happened to.
Mom: … [Y]ou should have considered your other six children.
Nadya: OK, but … I’m not gonna destroy the embryos, period. …
Mom: … They were frozen, and you did not have to do anything.
Nadya: They were lives. The only thing you can do with frozen embryos?… You use them or destroy them. … Do you want to know how they destroy them? They allow them to live – they allow the cells to live – and then they kill them.
One of Suleman’s publicists, Joann Killeen, stated in an interview before quitting due to death threats (taking bets on who made the threats, pro-lifers or pro-aborts), Suleman’s decision had precedent: “The last pregnancy she had before the octuplets was six embryos planted, and she had twins.”
After Suleman found she was carrying multiples, doctors recommended “selective reduction,” or aborting some of the babies in theory to save the rest. Suleman explained why she rejected the suggestion in an interview with ABC’s Ann Curry:
You know, what gives any human being a right to – to pick and choose which embryo – which fetus is more valuable than another. You know, that’s not up to human beings.
So it appears Suleman was prompted to have so many embryos implanted and carry them all to term by pro-life principles, which is laudable. No matter what the circumstances of conception, resulting human life is a blessing.
That said, I’m frankly not a fan of IVF – hard to say knowing beautiful children who wouldn’t be here sans IVF.
But I tend toward Catholic teaching that it is morally wrong to create the image of God in a petri dish.
Unintended negative consequences corroborate:
- The process to mature and retrieve multiple human eggs at one time for the IVF procedure is harmful to women’s health, involving the injection of numerous synthetic female steroids over several weeks. It has also led to the exploitation of women for eggs.
- Studies show children conceived via IVF have increased health problems including a doubled risk of dying at or soon after birth, low birth weight, birth defects and cancer.
- Thousands of human beings whose mother did not implant them remain in frozen suspended animation. These “leftovers that will be destroyed if not put to good use” have helped persuade the general public to support embryonic stem cell research. Now scientists are creating human clones, chimeras (human-animal mix) and shemales (mix of male-female DNA), to name a few.
Generally speaking, I think IVF is just another attempt to avoid the consequences of illicit sex. In Deuteronomy 28 we read:
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today … The fruit of your womb will be blessed. … However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today … The fruit of your womb will be cursed. …
I don’t think God meant He would simply zap people with fertility or infertility depending on whether they obeyed Him or not. Following or disregarding God’s guidelines for sexual behavior likewise leads to fertility or infertility.
Analogy: Jews avoided the Bubonic Plague by following God’s laws for diet and hygiene (so noticeably they were accused of spreading it among Gentiles and persecuted).
Desires for personal population control and illicit sex have resulted in the Pill, abortion and STDs, all complicit in the current epidemic of infertility, as is disregarding the prime years God built women to procreate. The Pill plays a secondary role by leaching estrogen into our drinking water.
I am not making a blanket statement on the cause of infertility. But if we would restore sexual values, we’d see a big drop.
Now to the gift Nadya Suleman has given pro-lifers. In one fell swoop Suleman has spotlighted problems with unregulated IVF and turned public opinion against unregulated IVF.
Now is the time for pro-lifers to introduce legislation in their states regulating IVF and with it regulating the creation and care of embryos.
There is perfect model language, introduced in the Georgia Senate last week, The Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act, SB169.
SB169 limits the number of embryos implanted to the same number fertilized, up to a maximum of three, which will stop the practice of freezing human embryos and curtail selective reductions.
The bill defines ex utero embryos as human beings with inherent rights, so court disputes must be decided in the best interest of the embryo, not either parent fighting over the embryo.
SB169 goes much further, outlawing all forms of human cloning, creation of chimeras, etc. David Prentice of the Family Research Council has endorsed SB 169.
Importantly, the wording of SB169 attempts to take Catholic concerns about IVF into account. Crafters are hoping for the endorsement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, even today.
There may be no better time to introduce legislation that addresses so many pro-life bioethical concerns at once.