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The use of reproductive technology

Do all women have the right to make babies? After all, isn’t that what being a woman is about, her natural ability to have babies versus men who cannot?

Some women aren’t happy with the men available to marry and have children with, and remain happily unmarried. These women may find Reproductive Technology in the form of the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) sperm donor attractive. She could have her baby with no strings attached to a man who may walk out on or abuse her and their child, or in effect never live up to the expectations of being husband and father. So why not?

Firstly, there are good men out there ladies! We encourage you to read a book from Family Life Center Publications entitled The ABCs of Choosing a Good Husband by Stephen Wood that can help women as a practical how-to-find-and- marry-a-great-guy guide.

Ladies, we know you will enjoy the first chapter ‘Attract a Man Who Will Love You as a Person’ where testing the male results in truthful revelations that would assist you in your quest for a good man. And yes, for the men reading this, there is a book for choosing a good wife by the same author!

For those who appreciate Philosophy, reading Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (St John Paul II) would broaden this topic vastly. In it, St John Paul II thoroughly examines the importance of the old saying “be friends first” where he wrote that the love between a man and a woman “must become friendship” for it to be sincere, mutual and mature. Pope Francis also notes that “Marriage is likewise a friendship marked by passion, but a passion always directed to an ever more stable and intense union” (125, Amoris Laetitia).

Secondly, God’s plan for marriage is that it is “for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” (1601, Catechism of the Catholic Church). However, “marriage was not instituted solely for the procreation of children but also that mutual love might properly be expressed, that it should grow and mature” (125, Amoris Laetitia).

It is due to the “all-encompassing” love between a husband and wife that this love is “also exclusive, faithful and open to new life” (125, Amoris Laetitia). “Children are the supreme gift of marriage” (50, Gaudium et Spes). In effect, bearing a child is a “fruit” of their love.

With this in mind, we can now understand that the Church “did not judge the use of technology to overcome infertility as wrong in itself” (Begotten Not Made: A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology by Dr John Haas http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/reproductive-technology/begotten-not-made-a-catholic-view-of-reproductive-technology.cfm).

Thirdly, when it comes to Reproductive Technology, “some methods are moral” while some are “immoral”. According to a Vatican document Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life) Dr Haas noted that as Catholics we have “an obligation to protect all human life when married couples use various technologies to try to have children….

“If a given medical intervention helps or assists the marriage act to achieve pregnancy, it may be considered moral; if the intervention replaces the marriage act in order to engender life, it is not moral….In IVF, children are engendered through a technical process, subjected to ‘quality control’, and eliminated if found ‘defective’.

“In other words through an unnatural process of harvesting eggs and sperm, they are put together and the newly conceived children are sorted and the imperfect ones get thrown out. IVF is also expensive, costing at least $10,000 (US) per attempt. Over 90% of the embryos created perish at some point in the process.”

Natural Fertility Regulation assists married couples in achieving pregnancy. A study conducted by Research Team of Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia Limited in 2003 included couples who enrolled at any one of 17 Australian Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) clinics.

The Method had assisted 65 per cent of the sub-fertile couples in the study achieve pregnancy. To learn the BOM here in Trinidad and Tobago it is a maximum of TT$100 or free-of-charge. Beyond this, “Spouses to whom God has not granted children…can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, hospitality, and of sacrifice” (CCC 1654).

Contact BOMA-TT: 384-1659, email: billingstt@gmail.com, website: www.billingstt.com