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Test Tube Babies.
« on: December 26, 2006, 05:58:48 PM »
Technological changes are occurring at an alarming rate, and one of the major fields involved, is Reproductive Technologies, in particular, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Latin: In vitro=in glass. The moral issues that are in question are: How far can we manipulate life, and are all these new advances acceptable to the child of God?

It is not until we have worn the shoes of infertility that one can fully empathise the anguish and bitterness of infertile couples.

15  The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: 
16  The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.   Proverbs 30.

2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. 1 Samuel 1.

Before one can make judgement, a person must understand exactly what the IVF process involves.

A typical cycle begins with shutting down of the ovaries, followed by strong stimulation of the ovaries to ovulate. The shutting down, and stimulation of the ovaries, is by means of chemical drugs. When the cells are ready, then the final step is to stimulate the maturation of the eggs, which are subsequently harvested by passing a thin needle into the ovaries and suctioning the eggs from the follicles.Within the cycle, characteristically 5-15 eggs are harvested and are fertilised by adding 100,000 sperms to each egg. If the egg will not naturally become fertilised then intracytoplasmic sperm injection is performed, which involves the puncturing of an egg ,and injecting a sperm into the egg. Success of this fertilisation is confirmed under the microscope. The embryos are then observed for 3-6 days,after which, three to four of these ,are  transferred through the cervix into the uterus. It is possible within the IVF, to transfer more advanced stages, such as the blastocyst stage. The blastocyst stage occurs seven days after fertilisation.
A pregnancy test is performed 2 weeks after the initial observation . Clinical pregnancy,is defined, as evidence of a pregnancy on ultrasound scan at 6 weeks' gestation and not just a positive blood test. Success of the IVF procedure ranges from the mere 11% to a greater possibility such as 45%.Success rates can be affected by many factors, including: Genetic factors ,Age of the female partner, Conditions contributing to infertility, Quality of eggs and number of eggs recovered, Quality of sperm (including motility and ability to penetrate the egg) ,Quality control in the laboratories; and Skill and competence of the treatment team.  The IVF procedure is very expensive and each cycle costs about 7,000 US dollars. These embryos can also be transferred directly into the fallopian tubes, bypassing the uterus. This differing procedure still holds the same success rate but involves an anaesthetic. It is a common practise to fertilise more than one egg, and as a result, a number of embryos are produced in order to make sure that at least several healthy embryos are available for transfer, and also some can be stored for future pregnancies.

Assuming that the embryo is successfully implanted ,a healthy and completely normal baby is born in the traditional nine months, creating a miracle for the infertile parents, whilst also taking a significant portion of their savings, making one implication certain, that the only people capable of making their infertile lives happy, are those who can afford it.

The next important factor that creates controversy is what will be done with the remaining embryos. The first idea is to discard the embryos if the family wishes to have no more pregnancies. The second idea is to donate them for the benefit of stem cell research. The third is to donate the remaining embryos to infertile couples and the final idea is to freeze the embryos in liquid nitrogen.The first two options result in the death of the embryos, and the third is not a morally accepted option by the parents, as they are reluctant to give the embryos for adoption as they will have no control over who will raise this part of themselves they have produced. In regard to the fourth option it is a well-established fact that a significant number of frozen embryos will die as a result of the freezing/thawing process as well as the somewhat unethical nature of the act. Embryos are human beings yet the dignity that each embryo identity deserves as with its own human right to live has been discarded as the tornado of money interests and unethical science takes command of society.

Assuming you have chosen the final option of freezing embryos, there are six different options. The first option is that the embryo is donated for research in which case the embryo dies. The second option is to donate to other infertile couples in which case the embryo survives. The third option is to that the embryo is thawed and discarded and the embryo dies. The fourth option is to sell the embryos to public individuals (a good embryo can have a price tag of around 50,000 dollars) however one must question what defines a, "Good" embryo and whether a scientist looking at an embryo through a microscope can possibly have an accurate picture of what this embryo will one day become. The fifth possibility is the failure of the storage containers, resulting in loss of liquid nitrogen and death to the embryo. The final possibility is that criminal activity can result in damage to the containers and death of the precious contents.

There are thousands of human embryos frozen at infertility clinics remaining from IVF programs, however human eggs cannot be frozen and later thawed for fertilisation. All the eggs collected must be fertilised first then embryos implanted. Embryos can be frozen immediately after fertilisation at the pronuclear stage (early cleavage stage 2-8 cells) or after 5-7 days of culture, at the Blastocyst stage. The pregnancy success rate with the frozen embryos is the same as with the non-frozen embryos. It is possible that some or all of the embryos may not survive the freezing process and if they do survive, the risks associated with freezing such as birth defects are not clearly established. As one knows, a sperm and an egg are needed to create an embryo. The sperm may come from the father or may be donated. (AID). If it is donated the donor must remain anonymous and this raises the possibility of consanguineous matings or even incest,for the future.

17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity. 

The average donor may be used for up to fifty pregnancies. Legal problems also can surface in the cases of failed marriages where the husband claims no responsibility for child support since the sperm was not his. A further problem would be an increasing number of lesbian couples having children and also an increase in the number of surrogate mothers and the flourishing of, "Rent-a-Womb", businesses. Another issue is the psychological problems that can affect the child, how do you explain that their mother was paid to bear them? Unfortunately modern society seems to allow children to be born to lesbian homosexual or even transsexual environments.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  Romans 1.

If AID is used to fertilise the egg ,then do we have to deal with the problem of adultery?

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20.

Although adultery involves the sexual act, it is not entirely limited to a physical act, adultery thoughts and ideas are also within the boundaries of this sin.

Whether the sperm is from the father or whether it is from a donor it has to be collected ,and this is usually by means of masturbation with use of a pornographic aid, and thus this separates the sexual act from marriage. Although the bible does not specifically forbid or encourage masturbation the question is, does it bring glory to God?

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. As stated in 1 Corinthians 10.

David says  that he would walk with integrity even in his house when no one could see him.

2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101.

An embryo or foetus is considered to be a living human body and thus a living human soul. Throughout the bible the baby in the womb is assumed to be a living human being:

21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.   
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. Genesis 25.

44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.Luke 1.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. Psalm 139.

A fundamental principle of biological science is that life begins at fertilisation with the union of the sperm and the egg to form a diploid zygote. The zygote-one cell embryo contains all the genetic information necessary for the formation of the new individual such as: sexual characteristics, colour of hair, eyes, height, body type, personality, and intelligence. The sperm and the egg on their own cannot be considered as a human life as they only contain half the genetic information necessary to form the individual. Fertilisation or fusion of the sperm and egg give rise to the full complement of genetic information necessary for the production of the new individual.

Many theories have been developed as to when human life begins, some have argued that human life begins when the embryo becomes viable, for others it is twenty-four weeks after conception whilst others argue that life begins after implantation.As  Christians we should believe that life begins at the time of fusion of the egg and sperm and that is when the breath of life enters the embryo.

7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. Judges 13.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  Psalm139.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Luke 1.

The bible shows us that Christ’s human life began at conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary, thus human life must begin at conception as well. The bible shows the implications that life beginning at conception has. Having accepted the fact that human life begins at conception the embryo’s life then has meaning, dignity and sanctity, as it is related to God who created it.

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4.

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1.

It is because of the doctrine that we have been made in the image of God that murder is such a heinous crime. This is because a human being is the most God-like living being in this world. The taking of innocent life is always condemned in the law of God .

13 Thou shalt not kill. Exodus 20.

Frozen IVF embryos are human beings whose lives have been held below freezing in a state of suspended development. They are not inhuman resources or commodities to be bought or sold in the biotechnology industry or for the sale to public individuals. Man has no right to destroy life only God alone has the right.

6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. Samuel 2.

Life begins at conception and the breath of life enters the embryo at this time. An embryo may not function the same way as an adult does ,nevertheless it is still a human being. It is considered a human just as a person with a mental or physical handicap cannot function as a normal being yet they are still human. As we have no right to terminate the life of a handicap person because they are not functioning as a normal human being neither do we have the right to terminate the life of an embryo simply because it is still made up of one or more cells and can not function as an adult. Given time, the one-celled embryo has the genetic information necessary to develop into a fully mature normal adult human being.

God allows technological advances to cure disease but IVF does not actually cure the disease of infertility, as the individuals are as infertile after, as they were before the procedure. The process of IVF separates sexual love from conception. The sperm is collected by masturbating usually using a pornographic aid. The doctor then harvests the eggs from the ovaries after chemical stimulation and maturation and technicians fertilise the egg and sperm in some container outside the body. In resolution the doctor finally artificially implants the fertilised embryo into the womb. If you can call this sexual love between the husband and wife, then we should redefine our understanding of love.

There is so much interest in the preservation of the environment, the ozone layer and the land, but is there the same interest in the preservation of human life? We destroy human life without a second thought to the moral law of God or even if we think of the law we modify it to suit our purposes. It so easy to say that human life does not begin at conception, thus making it no sin to kill the embryo. Thousands of embryos are sold to research facilities for experiments then discarded, or frozen which all result in the death of the embryo and breaking of the moral law of God. There are no limits to the morality of man. We argue that the embryo is not a person so therefore we owe it no protection, but would you demolish a building if you were not certain that people are inside?

Killing an embryo is not morally different from killing a child or adult. Are we to continue descending deeper into the abyss of humanism, where unwanted embryos are discarded or experimented upon, by the new breed of medicine men that dispenses life or death for a fee? Or are we to return to the Christian values of the dignity of man and the sanctity of human life?

We are certainly not justified to produce one human being at the expense of many others, and this is where humanism is leading us.

kai ean diabainhs di¢ udatos meta sou eimi kai potamoi ou sugklusousin se kai ean dielqhs dia puros ou mh katakauqhs flox ou katakausei Isaiah 43:2


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