I was listening to an interview with Liza Mundy on the National Public Radio show Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The discussion was based on Mundy’s book which takes up the current issues surrounding multiple births. She was well versed in the different procedures women use to conceive and the problems and extenuating circumstances that arise from assisted fertility. It was an interesting discussion, but, as often happens when I listen to these types of interviews, my blood begins to boil . . .
Mundy reasoned that if the embryonic research ban were lifted, parents would have less difficulty deciding what to do with their "extra" embryos. She rightly indicated that parents are not fully prepared for the emotional conflicts that result from having to make personal decisions about embryos they have created. From the very beginning, she said, parents have to make decisions about whether to keep, destroy or donate their embryos. Parents, once they have given birth, are often awakened to the reality that embryos will grow into human babies, and this makes their decision about what to do with their saved embryos very difficult.
What raised my ire was her rationale that the parents’ decision could be made easier if they could donate their embryos to science, as if donating an embryo to science changes the fact that a human life is being destroyed! Is it true that parents feel better if they can make their embryonic children martyrs for a scientific cause? When did martyrdom become something chosen for you? I believe all this truly does is massage the guilt of the parents. They have created a complex dilemma which lacks any real, moral solution.
A good read for anyone contemplating fertility treatments is Pope John Paul II’s The Gospel of Life: Evangelium Vitae. He warned us of the problems which are now being realized. Every time something comes up in the news about this, I ask myself, "Didn’t anybody listen to him?" If only they had.
Copyright 2009 Janet Cassidy
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