(Originally published at The Federalist)
York Times contributor Alicia Lombardini just chronicled her obsession with becoming a single mother through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with a stranger’s sperm. The June 15 autobiographical article, titled “I did IVF without a partner. It shouldn’t have been so hard,” also unwittingly illustrates the inherent connection between abortion and IVF.
Following the predictable storytelling formula of alternative family-building, Lombardini obsessively focuses on her own hopes, dreams, suffering, and sorrows. She laments the challenges she faced in her quest to become a 40-something single mother, including: “societal judgment,” the 1-5 percent chance she had of becoming pregnant, the $30,000 price for each IVF cycle, and the laws in various states and countries that curtail singles and homosexual couples from employing IVF or requiring their insurance company pay for it.
Lombardini’s quest to create a fatherless child is wrapped up in a tidy, adult-satisfying bow when she finds a fertility doctor who “believed in my right to be a mother and believed she could get me pregnant.” After two rounds of IVF, Lombardini successfully brought a pregnancy to term and gave birth to her son. It wraps, as most such narratives do, with a modern family’s fairytale ending: satisfaction of the adult’s desires.
Except — Lombardini mistakenly casts herself as the star of the show. The real players with the most invested in this story, the children, are unable to deliver their lines.
Like many other women of advanced maternal age, Lombardini struggled to get pregnant as a single woman in her forties. But we also learn she was pregnant in her thirties — twice. She chose to abort both children because she found herself in an “unhappy situation.” Lombardini’s appreciation for human life is entirely dependent on her immediate desires, treating babies as objects to fulfill an adult’s wants.
The abortion industry is in the business of baby-taking, and Big Fertility is trafficking in baby-making. Both regard children as adult-pleasing commodities instead of vulnerable people whose rights deserve protection. Neither is concerned with a child’s right to life nor their right to their own mother and father. Lombardini’s attitude illustrates how abortion and Big Fertility are two sides of the same coin.
Wanted or Unwanted
The coin of the abortion and reproductive tech realm is adult desire. Abortion advocates believe adults have the “right to choose” — the right to force children out of existence if the child is unwanted, no matter if it violates their right to life.
Big Fertility cheerleaders believe adults have a “right to parenthood” — the right to force a child into existence no matter if it violates the child’s right to their mother and father. Want alone is the driving force for Big Fertility.
While it is possible to perform IVF without violating children’s rights, those outcomes are exceptionally rare. In reality, only about 7 percent of lab-created embryos are successfully brought to term. Most either dwell eternally frozen in the lab, are deemed “non-viable” by the gods of science and thawed for discard, won’t survive the transfer from freezer to womb, or are aborted “selectively reduced” if too many embryos implant.
In the event every embryo created is implanted and brought to term, children are still regularly separated from one or both biological parents at the moment of their conception. For single and same-sex IVF users, that separation is a certainty.
In rare scenarios only the gametes of the actual parents are used, every embryo created is immediately implanted, and no babies are aborted for being non-viable or the “wrong” sex. But such scenarios are so cost-prohibitive they are nearly nonexistent. The reality is, IVF is not child-friendly.
This clearly violates children’s fundamental human rights. Children’s rights are not subject to adult desire. Children are human beings, full persons, whose fundamental rights deserve respect and protection. They are, in the words of Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, “subjects of rights, not objects of rights.”
Adult-Centric Treatment of Fertility
Those who cheer “abortion on demand without apology” measure success by whether an adult’s want has been satisfied by the procedure. The dismembered body of the child is irrelevant.
The same goes for an IVF procedure. The only consideration is the successful implantation of a child, anyone’s child, so long as adult want has been satisfied. The right the child has to know their biological parents is irrelevant.
Some couples employ Big Fertility with the intent to create their own biological child, but some specifically choose anonymous donors to minimize the possibility of interference from the child’s other biological parent. These adults cater to their own desire to be genetically related to their child, but any desire the resulting child might have to know their other genetic parent is conveniently ignored. IVF is successful not when the child is related to the intended parents, but when adults get the child they ordered.
IVF is considered a failure when the adults involved are unhappy. Such unhappiness might be caused by finding out a sperm donor believed to have multiple degrees in neuroscience and a clean bill of health is actually a mentally ill criminal, or the sperm bank giving you a baby of a different race than you arranged for. Defective products do tend to make consumers unhappy, especially when they come with a five-figure price tag.
Harmful to Children
Abortion harms children in the most obvious and ultimate way: taking their lives. The abortion of 62 million babies since 1973 should provide all the evidence we need to acknowledge the brutal evils of the industry. We will never know who these kids would have become.
It’s possible we’ve killed the cure for cancer in a mother’s womb. Surely the world has missed out on inspiring art, architecture, and the songs of the silenced. Siblings have been denied the love and laughter that accompanies the unplanned arrival of a baby. The victims of these adult wants will never be able to tell their story of how abortion harmed them.
Big Fertility is more subversive in the way it harms children. Unlike the victims of abortion, children conceived via sperm and egg donation are bravely sharing their stories of how their bought-and-paid-for conception has damaged them, provoking identity struggles, the pain of missing half-siblings, and feelings of commodification.
It’s no surprise a woman who discarded the lives of her first two children would also discard her third child’s right to a relationship with his father. Her mindset — that her children exist to satisfy her alone and their lives depend on her desires — determined the fate of three children. Lombardini’s story illustrates the opposite of its headline: it should be much harder than it is to violate the rights of children.
“In rare scenarios only the gametes of the actual parents are used, every embryo created is immediately implanted, and no babies are aborted for being non-viable or the “wrong” sex.
Unfortunately the meaning of the phrase “actual parents” is being blurred by IVF. The rights of true parents (those who make babies the old fashioned way) are being trampled by those who choose frankentube conception, regardless of gamete source.
America has two touchstones for exceptionalism – “created equal” (1776) which guarantees the right to life and “the child is not the mere creature of the State” (Pierce vs Society of Sisters, 1925) which recognizes the right of parents to direct their child’s education. The latter rights are going to be auctioned off if people start dressing up as parents without grounding themselves and their children in the marital act.
Are abortion-on-demand and Big Fertility examples of the consumer society at its most “consuming”? In centuries gone by, humans were bought and sold by other humans in the slave trade… Have we sold the truth about authentic humanity to buy ourselves a sophisticated-sounding lie?