Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Silly Catholics

I was raised Catholic, but the Catholic faith has never resonated with me. I have never felt comfortable praying or with organized religion in general, and while I believe in some sort of higher power, I don’t believe in the archaic rules prescribed by the Catholic faith.

Two examples:
1. From USCCB: IUI (intrauterine insemination) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse) but technologically prepared semen sample.

The sperm are collected from a perforated condom after normal intercourse, washed, and then injected into the uterine cavity, bypassing the cervix to avoid "hostile" mucus. Cervical mucus hostility is an immunological reaction brought about by several known, and some unknown factors. A postcoital test would find no living sperm in mucus during the fertile phase. Other treatments for cervical mucus hostility include abstinence for two years to allow the antibodies to diminish or disappear, or the use of condoms (not acceptable for Catholics). Various treatments with steroids have been tried without much success.

The logistics of this boggle my mind. IUI is okay, but only if the guy doesn’t masturbate to provide his sperm sample, because masturbation is a sin. So you have to collect the sperm by having sex while wearing a condom, but because Catholics condemn birth control, the infertile couple has to make sure they’re not blocking conception by perforating the condom.  

2. From The Catholic Insight: In IVF, a fertilizable ovum is removed from a woman's ovary and put in a petri dish (the Latin for dish is vitrum) to which a few concentrated drops of sperm are added. On the third or fourth day the fertilized ovum is put in the woman's womb. Only a small percentage of fertilized ova result in a child being born. The other children are lost or killed. 

The instances of infertility can be increased by previous venereal disease, late childbearing, the previous use of intra-uterine devices, irreversible tubal ligation, and previous abortion, for all of which a woman might be responsible. IVF also is expensive. 

No person and no couple has a right to a child. A child is a person with rights; it is not merely an object, a possession. A doctor treats disease; he should not do what is over and above the goal of health. He is allowed to treat a woman for a condition causing infertility, but not to "manufacture" her child. And medical treatment of the woman is often more successful than IVF in overcoming infertility.

Other considerations are that (1) in IVF, imperfect sperm are not screened out as they are in natural conception, (2) imperfect or supernumerary foetuses are often killed, (3) more children are born prematurely, with problems resulting from this; (4) medical problems for a woman can occur in IVF more than in natural pregnancy; and (5) the whole process is a degradation of parenthood, which should begin with an intimate and profoundly personal expression of love. 

Sometimes the ova that are put in the petri dish come not from a man's wife but from another woman, or the sperm fertilizing his wife's ova come from another man. This can easily result in psychological and legal problems, and certainly results in a moral one. 

Questons: What is the status of this teaching?
Answer: . For the reasons given, the Church considers IVF to be mortally sinful. Indeed, one of these reasons is sufficient of itself to outlaw the practice: the degrading of the two-in-one-flesh unity of parents by deflating the importance of the flesh as a vehicle of love in the formation of new life. 

My problems with this way of thinking (and there are many) include the following:
1)      Saying that infertility can often be caused by previous STD or abortion, and blatantly putting the blame for infertility on the woman, is irresponsible, dishonest, hurtful, and just plain factually inaccurate.
2)      medical treatment of the woman is often more successful than IVF in overcoming infertility” Really? I’d like to hear more about that, because it’s not like women are just dying to do IVF. It’s almost always a last resort when all other treatments have failed.
3)       Is it true that imperfect sperm are screened out in natural conception?
4)      “the whole process is a degradation of parenthood, which should begin with an intimate and profoundly personal expression of love.” NICE. What about parenthood that begins with rape? That child is somehow less worthy because it wasn’t conceived in a profoundly personal expression of love?

Silly Catholics. All your rules are written by men, anyway.

1 comment:

Roccie said...

My head just exploded.