Question Submitted: I found your article in The Lutheran Witness, “Why Am I Barren?” very thought provoking. There was one statement in it that I did not understand or catch what you meant or intended. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, a gift from Him, and that good gift is received, NOT MADE MANUFACTURED OR MADE.” [caps added by submitter]
What are you saying with the last phrase? Are you implying that in vitro fertilization brings forth a “manufactured or made” child? And therefore in vitro fertilization is not God pleasing and contrary to His will?
We have grandchildren who are precious gifts from the Lord via in vitro fertilization. Their mother is an OB-GYN doctor who has delivered over 1,000 gifts from God to their parents.
I believe that the Lord answered our daughter’s barrenness with a son and a daughter by the same modern, medical technology that grants His healing and extends lives by kidney dialysis, heart transplants, and chemotherapy which are all “manufactured and made” answers to prayer by the talents and abilities that God grants to people.
I really appreciate that you shared with me the details of your family’s experiences. Praise be to God for the precious gifts He has given you in your grandchildren!
I think we would agree that, as Christians, we interpret all of life in this world in light of Scripture. Therefore, we can know with certainty that all children are exactly what God tells us they are in His Word: a heritage from Him. Whatever controversies surround in vitro fertilization (IVF), the children that are conceived and born to us through such procedures are still a heritage from the Lord. God’s love is what makes any and every child valuable in this life, not the means of parentage. Your grandchildren, without a doubt, are precious treasures who are wanted and cherished by our Lord, so much so that Christ died for them.
I also agree that healing medicine in and of itself is part of the daily bread God provides for us. It is part of how He richly and daily provides us with all that we need to support this body and life. Seeking medical attention where there is infirmity is natural and right. It is appropriate to try to make the body whole as long as it does not break one of our Lord’s Ten Commandments.
Knowing that, we must be consistent and interpret all of life in this world – even IVF – through the light of Scripture, and it is the genetic testing, grading, discarding, and freezing of embryos as well as the selective termination of the multiple fetuses implanted in the procedure of IVF that set it apart from other healing medicines (such as the kidney dialysis, heart transplants, and chemotherapy you listed in your question). We break the Fifth Commandment of our Lord (“You shall not murder”) when we employ any procedure that hurts or harms our neighbor in his body and fails to help and support him in every physical need. This commandment includes children in our wombs and unwanted, discarded embryos.
Consequently, in answer to your question: I feel confident in writing that any procedure which breaks commandments of our Lord is, indeed, contrary to His will, and I do not see how IVF, a procedure which serves the needs of self over the needs of the neighbor, can be pleasing to God. Thankfully, God is pleased with us because of Christ and forgives us of our sin, and He promises to work all things, even infertility medicine, for good for those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Also, here are a couple resources I recommend from the LCMS website that can better and more fully articulate the controversies surrounding IVF:
What Are We to Do with the Embryos? by Richard Eyer
A Review of Reproductive Technologies by Richard Eyer
I am thankful for the candor in your question, and I do not mean to make light of all that you must feel as a grandfather regarding this topic. Yet, my brother in Christ, we must interpret all of life through Scripture. Know that Christ has died for all sin, and, please, as you read these posts and documents, go talk with your pastor. He is God’s man there for you.