In vitro-literally “in glass”-fertilization (IVF) is an increasingly popular form of reproductive technology that should raise significant moral concerns in the hearts and minds of believers.
First, there are major moral concerns associated with using biotechnology in place of the natural means for procreation. The fertilization of an egg in a glass dish can lead to viewing children as products to be made (and disposed of) rather than gifts from God. Indeed, IVF is already being used in the production and genetic selection of “designer babies.” It is imperative that we guard against subtle shifts in thinking that ultimately lead to the erosion of our Christian worldview.
Furthermore, the introduction of third parties through sperm or egg donation or through surrogate motherhood is inconsistent with the biblical pattern of continuity between procreation and parenthood (Genesis 1:28; 2:24). Accordingly, if IVF is used at all, the sperm and the egg must come from the husband and wife committed to raising the child. The potentially disastrous consequences of third-party involvement are clearly demonstrated in the lives of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar (Genesis 16).
Finally, because it is an established scientific fact that human life begins at conception (an embryo has a distinct human genetic code and exhibits metabolism, development, the ability to react to stimuli, and cell reproduction), discarding embryos or destroying them through experimentation is the moral equivalent of killing innocent human beings. Freezing embryos is likewise morally objectionable. Thus, if IVF is used, no more eggs should be fertilized than the couple is willing to give a reasonable chance at full-term life.
For further study, see Joni Eareckson Tada and Nigel M. de S. Cameron, How to be a Christian in a Brave New World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006).
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”