July 23, 2006 Q & A

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.



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