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Question and Answer

In Vitro Fertilization


What does the OPC think about in vitro fertilization?


Thank you for your very good and important question to the OPC Question and Answer Web page.

Well, the OPC does not have a position on IVF as such, although what we believe does lead us to have concerns over some of the moral issues associated with IVF.

For instance, we would certainly be against the creation of multiple embryos only to have some left over (which can happen in IVF) which would be destroyed or not used. God's word teaches us that we shall not kill, and destroying embryos is a form of abortion and murder. (For more information, see the OPC's statement on abortion adopted by the thirty-ninth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1972 here; see also the majority report of the Committee to Study the Matter of Abortion presented to the thirty-eighth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1971 here.)

What is more, IVF may cause adverse side affects in both the mother and the child conceived. I wonder if such medical procedures "count the cost", considering the health risks involved.

Lastly, IVF opens the door to bypassing the "natural" way in which families are formed so that any two people, whether they are husband and wife or not, may participate in such a program and conceive a child which will be raised in an unhealthy family environment.

In my opinion, Christians should avoid such procedures. If, in God's providence, a Christian couple is unable to conceive, it may be that God has in mind a task for them which is ignored in the IVF process, namely, adoption. The Bible is rich with adoption language. For Christians who cannot conceive, adoption is a wonderful way to serve their neighbor—by taking a child to themselves who would normally not be raised in a Christian home, and giving that gift to them. The need for children without families to be raised in a good and godly environment is great. If a Christian couple were to go for IVF my question to them would be, "Are you unsatisfied with God's providence? Why do you need a child of your own if God has apparently said no? Could God be calling you to a more self-sacrificial (and exciting!) mission"?

I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know and I will be happy to further explicate my answer.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

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You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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