In part 1 of this series, we discussed the negative effects of In Vitro Fertilization or IVF on the soul and the good of the child. In this part 2, we discuss the negative implications of IVF on the woman and on marriage. We are back with our expert guest Samantha Stephenson.

Bryan: So those are just some of the crazy things. I’m beginning to see why the Pope said that it’s abhorrent. And I can also see how and why the child, and marriage in general is dehumanized in a bad way, you know, it’s not a good thing, but you also spoke about the woman. Maybe we can move on to that.

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think that this is a predatory practice towards women. This is exploitative of women. The desire for children is a good thing but it’s for sure exploitative of the pain that they experience. So essentially the effectiveness levels that are being put out by the CDC that I just described to you are 25%. If there was a drug on the market or a drug being proposed for the market that had that rate of effectiveness it wouldn’t even be a question. That’s not something that we would approve of. It was even lower, you know, 30 years ago when it was first being pursued. However, we have all of these women who are willing to submit themselves to become test subjects because they so desperately want a child. So, the fertility industry takes advantage of that. They say: “Yeah, we can. We can charge them a large sum of money to become our willing experimental patients.”

And that’s one issue. We also face the fact that we don’t really know the long-term effects of some of these procedures. Especially with something like egg donation. During the extraction, you are pumped with hormones. And we do know that there are very serious risks to things, like you can die from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is the goal of a donation where you want to get as many eggs out of a woman’s body as possible.  And this is how they’re obtained for, even if you’re going to be doing IVF with your own eggs, your body’s pumped full of these hormones so they can get, hopefully around 30 eggs. How many eggs does a woman’s body release normally in a cycle? One, maybe two, if she’s having twins. To get 30 o even 15, I mean, your abdomen swells up, you look pregnant, and you can experience some really dangerous side effects from that.  But there rhaven’t been any long-term longitudinal studies to see what happens to these women.  In 30 years, do they have higher risks of cancer? We know that can happen sometimes when we’re pumping our bodies full of hormones. Do they have higher risks of these other complications? And so anecdotally, we know that absolutely, yes, this is a risk, but nobody’s doing the research because why would you?

Bryan: Not only just risks and not only monumentally expensive, which is crazy, but I can see how they’re being taken advantage of. It almost seems like they’re just being used as incubators as well. They’re not even being seen as full humans. They’re just being used in a sense.

Samantha: Well, absolutely, with surrogacy, that is the case. I mean, by and large, these contracts always favor the buyers. That’s where the money is, and the woman who’s acting as a surrogate, whose womb is being rented, is systematically, routinely dehumanized. So, women are written out of contracts, their existence is written. They are put on birth control. There have been surrogates who have been forced into abortions. I think most recently Brittany Pearson, was forced to undergo abortion when she was a surrogate for this gay couple who decided that they did not want a child born early at 34 weeks, which is not really even that early; they didn’t want the possible negative effects of a child born. She was willing to push it out and to delay the birth until it would be healthy for the kids, but the intended so called fathers were not willing to allow to care for a child who might be compromised in that way and being born at 34 weeks. That’s a risk of many risks in any normal pregnancy, but no they insisted that she was forced to abort.

Then, there is the flip side of that, is parents break up. The intended parents break up and decide, you know what, we don’t want this baby anymore. Surrogates have been left just completely abandoned, footing the bill. Sometimes the surrogates end up with the baby because the baby does have Down syndrome or something like that, and they refuse to abort.

So, there are all kinds of blunders, but the women really are reduced to their biological function and treated as a machine almost more than a person.

Bryan:  It is indeed quite disheartening. Many aspects of these issues are not widely known. Personally, I do not have extensive knowledge about IVF. I am familiar with the basics but lack detailed information about many aspects of it.

Samantha: Bryan: So, we have the child, we have the woman being dehumanized, and many problems with the surrogacy process. What was the third part?

Samantha: It’s so violating of the goods of marriage.  We have the understanding, as Catholics, that marriage, and sexual union within marriage is for the purposes of unity and for procreation, and anytime we separate those, we run into trouble. So, it renders the act less than what it’s supposed to be.

And what did we talk about sin is missing the mark. So, we missed the mark on sexuality, when we take it outside of marriage, whether that’s premarital sex, whether that’s adultery, and we miss the mark when we separate procreative and unitive, so that is contraception, and on the flip side, that’s IVF.

So, when we try to have sex without conception, that’s contraception, we’re separating the procreative out of the act. But when we try to procreate without the sexual unit aspect, that’s the flip side of the coin, that’s IVF. Even when you are reproducing with, say your husband, say you’re doing it the most, straightforward way that you can do it. You’re using your husband’s sperm, which has to be obtained in ways that are by and large illicit, according to the church’s teaching, and you’re using the egg of the wife. You’re still taking it and ripping it away from the process that it’s supposed to come about, and you are inviting a third party, or sometimes more than a third party into that process by asking the doctor to come into that intimacy of your marriage with you.

So, there are problems with that.  We also have problems when, say, you’re reproducing with a sperm or eggs that are not belonging to the husband or wife. So, what we have there is what Dona Vitae implies as a kind of reproductive infidelity. And that’s a little bit more difficult for us to grasp because, well, for the majority of human history, you could not have a child with somebody else’s biological material without also having sexual infidelity.

And we understand, I think intuitively, why that is a problem for marriage, but it is a little bit more difficult to grasp the pain and the difficulty in marriage when somebody goes outside of the marriage to reproduce. So, what we are supposed to be imaging as husband and wife to each other in marriage, is total absolute acceptance of the other person in everything.

So that means accepting their fertility when we choose to come together in marriage and not using contraception, but that also means accepting and loving them in their infertility.  In fact, when we talk about this, morally, within the church, we want to focus on the couple as being fertile or infertile. The couple is experiencing infertility; isolating one or the other spouse as a problem is very divisive. It disrupts the procreative process that is supposed to be unitive. When one spouse goes ahead, even with the consent and desire, of the other person saying: “I do not want to hold you back from having your dream of a child.” It can be divisive.

So already that is separating the couple. And I think one of the really poignant examples, that I will never forget, is somebody who has expressed this pain. I do not believe she is Catholic; I do not know if she is even Christian, but actress Gabrielle Union talked about what it was like to watch her husband participate in the procreative process. She broke down in tears overseeing the surrogacy ultrasound, and everybody thought: “Oh, she is just so awed by the beauty of this life, and she is going to have a baby that is related to her husband.”

She said: “That is not why I was crying.” What she was experiencing was seeing that her husband could reproduce, not procreate, so easily with somebody else. She expressed that it felt like her soul was fine dust scattered in the wind.”

Bryan: Like number one, she was broken. She didn’t work right, but someone else did. So, she’s better than me. Number two, that’s not even my baby, in some sense. Like, I could see many problems occurring with that would lead to really just breaking down.”

Samantha: Yeah.

Bryan: And so, one of the tragic moments, like the Abraham story I brought up earlier, is what happened right after that?

Sarah got incredibly angry at the maidservant that she could have a kid and she started abusing her and hurting her because she had that same feeling. And so, the maidservant ended up running away.

Samantha: Right. Yeah. And although the biological processes may not explain it scientifically, but it truly was painful. The pain she is expressing there was not because she anticipated her husband being sexually unfaithful, but rather the pain arising as a result of her husband getting the desire of his heart, a child, and the desire of her heart as well, a child, that is not hers. It is somebody else’s child. That pain there is something that we do not hear a lot about, because it is very rare. This is a new development in human history to try to reproduce this way.  But then, how is a wife supposed to be honest with people about its pain especially after investing a significant amount of money dedicating so much health and time. But, despite all that, it is really painful. However, saying this might make her sound ungrateful, even though it reflects the reality.

And I believe that is the truth. If we examine the divorce statistics after IVF, especially when it does not lead to the desired outcome, the rate is approximately three times higher than couples who do not opt for IVF. Considering our already high divorce rate, this becomes a significant concern.

And then, if we do end up exploring natural family planning and incorporating pro- technology, as we discussed earlier, the divorce rate for couples who use natural family planning is approximately 3%, significantly lower than the standard rate. So, I believe these are aspects we should promote and raise awareness about this.

Bryan: Yes, absolutely. Amen. And I want to put a huge exclamation point after that about 2 to 3 percent divorce rate for people who practice NFP: Natural Family Planning and doing it God’s way. You know, the way he designed a woman’s body to work for life and for her health, for everything.

And I would love to have a whole show on that, in the future, because I think that’s important.  People don’t realize that contraception is like a huge grave sin, like, one of the biggest sins and no one has ever told them that. Or maybe they kind of heard that, but they don’t know why. I mean, if you point to everything the same, you might not know how it can hurt you as a person and it can hurt your marriage. It can hurt your children. It can hurt every part of aspect of your marriage. And there’s a lot of other aspects that I think need to be discussed, including the really shady multibillion dollar culture behind it all, experimenting on women in other countries, like really bad things, but maybe we’ll talk about that, on another show. And I just want to end by, kind of putting the word out there to any women: Maybe you have done IVF, maybe you’re thinking about it, we’re not here to judge. I don’t care if you’ve done it 20 times. Never. We won’t judge you. We’re here to listen and

to help if we can. We’re here to guide and steer you to the truth if we can.  If you want to contact us and talk about it or have questions about it. You can do that.

You can contact us directly and just say: “Hey, I need help. Can I talk to you?” You know, and that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here to judge. I’ve sinned my own life. I’ve sinned enough for 50000 people, if the God judges me, I’m dead. I’m going to hell, you know, but he had mercy on me. He loved me through my sin. We’re just here to do that with everybody else as well. Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Beautiful. And thank you so much for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to speak on this subject. Obviously, it’s one I’m very passionate about. I think that God has put it on my heart, and it’s blossomed in really fruitful ways, and so if I can help anybody through it, then I’m happy to do it.