In discussions about modern infertility treatments, many articles concerning in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy, and even the ethics of using a third-party gamete donor, have been written. As an extension of the ethical conversation surrounding fertility treatments, the fertility industry itself must be examined. From lack of reasonable regulations, to targeting young gamete donors, to the problem of anonymous donors and non-transparent medical information, the fertility industry itself does not at present align with Christian moral values. In the United States, however, there is currently no federal law prohibiting doctors from swapping chosen donor sperm with their own, or any other sperm for that matter. The New York Times reports that since the popularization of commercial DNA testing in recent years, over fifty doctors have been accused of doing the same thing. This is the case even though only approximately twenty-one percent of Americans have taken a commercial DNA test. The number of offending doctors may be much higher. The fertility industry in America is largely anonymous. Anonymity leaves the door open for serial donors to run rampant, for sibling pods to grow to excessive numbers, and for significant mental distress to occur in donor-conceived individuals and recipient families. In America, there is currently no national donor registry, making it difficult to track serial donors across multiple clinics. Because American donors can remain anonymous, and each bank maintains its own records without necessarily communicating with other banks, this can lead to enormous sibling pods — some reaching over one hundred. With more couples than ever before opting to use fertility treatments to conceive, it is imperative for Christians to weigh the ethical issues of the fertility industry alongside the procedures themselves. From regulation issues to problematic practices, the industry at present poses many concerns that must be thoroughly considered, prayed about, and weighed by Christians who are struggling to conceive. There may be situations in which Christians believe they can ethically make the choice to use various types of fertility treatments, but this industry should not be opted into without significant care and concern, with full awareness about the procedures and the industry’s current practices.

​This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with JOURNAL author Lisa Cooper about her online article, “Is Participating in the Fertility Industry Ethical?” 

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