A married couple is suffering. They desperately want to have a child but because of infertility cannot. Medical science developed many techniques and therapies and they decide to choose, yet which one, if any?
Along with the choices comes a serious question, What are the ethical and moral implications in the techniques involved? First is to consider the status of a human embryo. This leads to a crucial question, When does life begin—at conception or later?
If married couples believe that life begins at conception, then there are other questions that must be considered. Should the couple allow doctors to follow the common procedure of fertilizing more eggs than the one or more being inserted? What would happen to stored surplus embryos if the couple became unable or unwilling to have more children? What will happen if the couple divorced or if one of them died to any stored embryos? Who would shoulder the responsibility for destroying such embryos? This last question cannot be dismissed lightly. In certain places it is ethically acceptable for a fertility clinic to destroy stored embryos without any written authorization if they have been abandoned for more than five years. See the active link below, How Long Can Eggs, Sperm And Embryos Be Stored?
Couples may be urged to donate unused embryos for stem cell research for example to find new ways of treating illness, but the process of extracting embryonic stem cells can destroy the embryo. And what about preimplantation genetic diagnosis? (PGD) This technique imply a genetic screening of the embryos and subsequent selecting of the one that has to be implanted into the uterus. But this can lead to gender discrimination, if this technique was chose for gender selection. And another ethical question is, What happens to the embryos that are not selected?
By considering this issues, how will you decide? True Christians are guided by the viewpont of our Creator. Consider that he disposed for procreation. (Psalm 36:9) Although the Bible does not directly comment on modern assisted reproductive techniques, for such procedures were not available in Bible times, there are clear principles that indicate God’s viewpoint. This principles help us to make right decisions and that leave us with a clear conscience. (1 Timothy 1:5)
When does human life begin? The Bible says that life begins at conception. (Psalm 139:16; Exodus 21:22, 23 ) These Bible verses indicates that our Creator views life as precious even during the very early stages of development in the womb and the willful destruction of an embryo would be viewed as abortion.
Is a human embryo a human life? Consider if we put a newborn baby into an outdoor field, how long would the child survive? It is helpless and, like an embryo or a fetus cannot sustain itself. This to underline a simply fact will we argue that a human embryo is not a human life for the impossibility to nurturing itself. The life of an unborn is sacred in and out the womb.
What about one’s reproductive powers, are there any restrictions as to how they may be used? The Bible says: ”You must not give your emission as semen to the wife of your associate to become unclean by it.” (Leviticus 18:20) This principle indicates that a man’s semen should not be used to inseminate anyone other than his wife, and that a woman should not bear a child for someone other than her own husband. Briefly, the reproductive powers are not to be used for someone other than one’s marriage mate.
In a nutshell, when making a decision involving assisted reproduction, true Christians must consider carefully what the Bible says, what is God’s thinking through Bible principles.
See also: A Baby Boom Through Assisted Reproduction, edited by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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