Ethics Quandary: How do we deal with single IVF mothers?

Here’s the situation:

A friend of my mother, who has known me since I have little, recently offered to “set me up” with her son’s sister-in-law (trust me, it’s even weird than it sounds!) She sounds like a totally great gal, we’ve got similar interests, but there’s one problem:

She has a daughter by IVF…and she’s never been married…. I guess she decided a few years ago that she didn’t want to wait on having children since a husband was not in the picture. My conundrum is two-part:

  1. What is the church’s/Bible’s position on children out-of-wedlock by this manner? I’m a little rusty on my casuistic thinking. First, we have to tread the Regulative/Normative principle waters here, since obviously the technology to have a child without sexual intercourse (at least directly) was not present in Biblical times. Second, there’s the awkward progressive revelation point: Mary, the mother of our Lord, was also (by obviously a different method) found in the same way
  2. The higher standard being the station of the pastorate: What should a pastor do when in my situation? She and I are in similar waters. We both have not “found” the one to marry due to God’s timing. We both want children, but also want to follow God faithfully. I have time, but she does/did not. But it is not exactly like marrying a widow with children…or is it?

I’d like to hear discussion on this, but I will moderate the less kind or on-topic comments as needed.

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2 Responses to “Ethics Quandary: How do we deal with single IVF mothers?”

  1. jordancristine Says:

    Hello Andrew!

    I’m shocked by this post. Here’s Why–Everything about this decision is selfish.

    Here is what comes to my mind.
    1. Abraham didn’t wait on God’s timing for Isaac, No, rather he forced his own desire and had Ishmael by Hagar. This was the son of the flesh– and God’s bottom line was, “cast out Hagar and her son”. God wanted Isaac, the child born through faith to carry on Abraham’s line. Christ came through Isaac.
    2. Inevitably this will create hostility in the home– Ex. “Mommy, why don’t I have a daddy?” Answer 1. Because I didn’t wait for God to bring me one. (That is the most honest answer, which should be promptly followed by “please forgive me.” When the baby grows up and wants to know her father (truly an unavoidable identity crisis, or should I say avoidable?) then there will (likely) be no way to know, B/C of the anonymous nature of IVF.
    3. Further questions that will hurt– Why can’t I have the love of my real dad too? What were you thinking? What rationale did you have? Why didn’t you adopt? How do you justify conceiving another man’s child and calling it moral? Am I a freak? Why should I listen to you about whom to marry, or whom I should have children with?
    4. Although there is no specific verse about IVF, there are numerous principles from scripture that would oppose and condemn this particular use of it.

    5. I will close with this– Imagine a father telling a daughter to stop dating a man that she loved, b/c he loved her and knew the relationship was foolish and would result in pain and brokeness. Then picture the daughter, running to a clinic and having her boyfriend’s sperm fertilize her egg, b/c she loved him, but still wanted to obey her father. Could this act possibly please her dad? No. It is more of a smack in the face, seeking to find a moral loophole that you attempt to justify. This story can be translated into God being the loving, all-knowing Father very easily. From the beginning of time God made a man and a woman, in proper relationship to Him, create children. It takes faith, and patience, but w/out faith it is impossible to please God.

    May God bless this woman with a heart to repent so that she may have a faith filled future with the daughter God blessed her with, despite the folly of the decision to conceive “In the flesh.”

    Nels Carlson

  2. thehigg Says:

    Nels,

    A few thoughts/responses:

    “When the baby grows up and wants to know her father (truly an unavoidable identity crisis, or should I say avoidable?) then there will (likely) be no way to know, B/C of the anonymous nature of IVF.”

    In this age when the role of the father is downplayed in the media, I’m not sure if that existential crisis will arise…that’s part of the question I’m asking: How do we make fathers matter? Saw recently some interesting findings about father’s effects on children…maybe the tide will turn!

    “4. Although there is no specific verse about IVF, there are numerous principles from scripture that would oppose and condemn this particular use of it.”

    Would you mind citing them? That’s part of the problem: we think that the concept is there, but we can’t nail it down.

    “seeking to find a moral loophole that you attempt to justify. This story can be translated into God being the loving, all-knowing Father very easily. From the beginning of time God made a man and a woman, in proper relationship to Him, create children. It takes faith, and patience, but w/out faith it is impossible to please God.
    May God bless this woman with a heart to repent so that she may have a faith filled future with the daughter God blessed her with, despite the folly of the decision to conceive ‘In the flesh.’”

    I agree in this situation: a moral loophole was sought, but was it found? And what do we say about the state of moral ethics in the church if we still look for loopholes…and we condone their usage?

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