Back in 1985 when I started my fellowship at the pioneering mecca of IVF, the Jones Institute For Reproductive Medicine, there were still many people and religious leaders who objected passionately with the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology to help people in need conceive. Arguments ranged from accusing IVF of being immoral to the potential dangers of playing God.
Physician defenders of this nascent technology offered comparisons to other medical problems that have been helped by technology, such as immunizations to prevent infectious diseases like polio, chemotherapy to cure cancers like lymphoma, kidney transplants, etc. To them, a world unwilling to use technology to aid the suffering is unethical. They see it as criminal to stand by and ignore the cries for help. To have infertility, is to be cursed with an inability to satisfy that basic human need, sited in the bible as a commandment to “go forth and multiply”, to procreate and build a family. How, in God’s name can a physician with the technology and know how, ignore such pleas from the suffering?
Yet, Jennifer Lopez feels it appropriate to speak up in 2010 against IVF saying, “I…believe in God and I have a lot of faith, so I just felt like you don’t mess with things like that”…”And if it is (meant to be), it will. And if it’s not, it’s not going to”.
I wonder if she would feel the same without the ability to cradle her babies in her arms. Or for that matter, if she developed a disease that required the use of some other “God-like” technology would she let herself suffer rather than take advantage of a potential cure.
I respect others’ opinions and beliefs and would never tell them they were wrong in following their faith. I wish that people like Jennifer Lopez would share the same respect for suffering infertile couples who think that IVF is an ethical treatment offering these patients their only chance at building their families.