Infertility Ethics Symposium in Review

Here are a few intriguing quotes from last Saturday’s Infertility Ethics Symposium.

(mea culpa: I took notes the old-fashioned way – by hand – during the symposium, so please forgive any unintended inaccuracy in my quotes.)


From Rev. William Cwirla’s “Be Fruitful and Multiply: Fertility Ethics Viewed in the Light of Creation and Redemption”:

“We have never said no when it comes to the gift of children, and God has never said yes.”

“Jesus heals a myriad of diseases in His ministry, but He never healed a barren couple.”

“Anything that shapes our identity apart from Christ is idolatry.”

“We are stewards and we are priests of God’s creation.”

“Vocation is not the location of our identity but the location of our service.”


From Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb’s “IVF: from Created to Creator”:

“I believe the place we start as theologians in a discussion of IVF is the incarnation of our Lord…We go to a fallopian tube in the virgin Mary.”

“We have a Savior who was an embryo once.”

“God wants every person, every embryo, to be splashed by the waters of Baptism.”


From Rev. Christopher S. Esget’s “Pastoral Care for Those Experiencing Infertility and Miscarriages”:

“Barrenness is not just a diagnosis. It is an ongoing reality.”

“We must be sensitive to the unintentionally excluded.”

“We must preach contentment in the vocations we have, not in the ones we wish we had.”


From Rev. Dr. Robert W. Weise’s “Embryo Adoption: Helping or Hurting My Neighbor?”:

“The one-flesh union is the blessing that God gives the union of husband and wife. We have it physically and spiritually.”

“Surrogacy is a substitute. This is a disconnect in the marital union.”

“Embryo adoption is troubling, because it involves surrogacy…and the death of embryos.”


Interested in knowing more about what was said by our six presenters at the symposium? Look for a downloadable document of the presentations on LCMS’s website sometime within the next few months.

The Truth which Comforts

Issueswidget-1This past June, Rev. Todd Wilken interviewed me on Issues, Etc. on the topics of barrenness, in vitro fertilization, and embryo testing. If you are interested, you can listen to the full interview here.

In this post, however, I want to specifically draw your attention to the fact that the most comforting words offered up in that conversation were not spoken by yours truly but, rather, by the interviewer.

“God does not promise to deliver you from suffering; He makes promises to you in the midst of suffering.”


“Every vocation, every gift, is given by God, but it’s always given under the cross. We never get out from under the cross. As Christians, there is an attendant suffering that comes along with these things, a burden that comes along with them, always to both remind and to connect us to the suffering of Christ and His cross.” 

Thank you, Rev. Wilken, for faithfully speaking the truth which teaches and comforts for the benefit of us all.

Children were harmed in the making of this article.

EmbryosFrozenEmbryos are people.

When you read this article found at People.com (Oh, the irony of the site’s name!) about the first baby born from a transplanted womb, you will notice that such people are being unconscionably created to have their lives risked, all for the sake of other people’s – adult people, that is – happiness.

“Earlier this year, Brannstrom began transferring embryos into the seven other women. He said there are two other pregnancies at least 25 weeks along.”

If we put the best construction on this situation and assume that there were only seven total people created for individual implantation attempts in the seven successfully transplanted wombs, then that means there are at least three* people living today (one person born, two in utero) because of this experiment.

That also means there are at least four people dead today because of this experiment.

The obvious must be pointed out, as the media continually fails to do so:

We are quick to laud and celebrate the people that are born from such experiments, but we fail to acknowledge, mourn, and defend the people that unjustly die.

And our intentionally ignorant silence is to our shame.

* Best construction assumes that there are not additional living people currently frozen and waiting in liquid nitrogen.

Symposium Schedule

What do IVF, embryo adoption, and miscarriage all have in common?

They’re topics which will be addressed at the Infertility Ethics Symposium at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis on Saturday, November 8th. Please, do everything you can to make sure your pastor can attend.

Here is an itinerary of the day’s events as well as descriptions of the papers which will be presented.

You can find out more information about the symposium as well as how to reserve your pastor’s spot by visiting LCMS Life Ministry’s website.

It’s time for the Church to speak on these things.


The Wisdom of Melissa

P1030754 copyI was such a chicken in the beginning.

really didn’t want to write about IVF.

“I think you have to,” Melissa gently encouraged. “It wouldn’t be responsible to write a book on barrenness and not talk about the medical side of things. It’s a part of the whole issue. Every woman ends up there at some point or other.”

Melissa was right. She usually is. Her wisdom is 3 parts Scripture and 1 part grit, shaken in a tall tumbler made strong as iron from countless barbell cleans, burpees, and a life lived under the cross of Christ.

I ceased splashing my filmy, water-color impressions of infertility medicine on the page and, instead, drew careful, measured lines through the landscape of infertility ethics. It was scary at first – I felt so alone and inadequate as an artist – but Melissa helped me choose which colors to use and tutored me in the art of shading. After all, there were foggy, gray areas in the world’s portrait of infertility which would benefit from less darkness and more of Scripture’s light.

One thing is certain. I couldn’t have written that book without the help of someone as sage, smart, sympathetic, and strong as Melissa.

I’m so glad I didn’t have to.

The Wisdom of Kristi

P1060196More than a few times along this HRTB blogging journey, I have been broken in such a way that required someone else putting me back together. That someone was almost always Kristi.

“I don’t think God’s going to give us any children,” I remember sobbing into the phone to her one afternoon. I felt so worthless to the world as a childless, married woman, and the guilt and shame of barrenness and failed adoptions and empty arms threatened to overwhelm me.

“I love you just the way you are,” Kristi spoke evenly into my ear. “I wouldn’t change one thing about you. God has given you what you have today, and He works all things for your good. You are blessed even without children.”

When scathing correspondence began pouring in from IVF advocates around the world, Kristi kept me on task.

“People need to be educated in a gentle yet honest way,” she cheered, “one that points them back to Christ, Who keeps them.”

There were even times when Kristi seemed almost telepathic, as if she could sense what particular burdens and doubts I was struggling against that day.

“Your marriage has been blessed by God,” she pointed out, “despite not being blessed with children either biologically or adopted. Your marriage is a gift from the Lord, and that is something to be cherished.”

But there is one little bit of correspondence from Kristi that, still to this day, moves me more than anything else. It’s just so selfless and generous. For, from across an ocean and in the middle of a sleepless night just after her adopted baby girl had finally been put into her arms for the first time, Kristi emailed me – insignificant, childless me:

“I know there is joy and pain for you personally on this day. Know this, dear sister, you are loved for who you are TODAY. Your worth is found in the shadow of the One who has borne all of our suffering. His gifts are yours each and every day, despite your earthly pains and sorrows. You. Are. Loved!” 

Even now, the fact that Kristi put her own joy on hold to sit with me in my grief, stings my eyes with liquid salt.

Kristi is that person who tells me the truth – the unpolluted Truth which comforts and restores – when I need to hear it the most, and I am better for it.

That’s why, whenever I sit down to write a post on this website, I try so hard to be like her.

Rejection of Unborn IVF Babies Is for Real

Please, read this article which appeared in yesterday’s Breitbart News.

What is it about?

Well, to pull a quote from the article given by Robert Oscar Lopez, professor of English at California State University at Northridge: “‘Our republic can’t function if human beings are the objects of property rights until they become adults.'”

Surrogacy does this to human beings.

Lord, have mercy on us all.