Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed in her new book – coming out on Tuesday – that her two children were created through IVF after a miscarriage.
This news is getting tremendous attention both domestically and in international media. Obama told ABC’s Good Morning America in an interview that will air Sunday night that the decision was made after she had a miscarriage.
As the BBC reported Friday night:
Mrs Obama, a former lawyer and hospital administrator, told ABC that after her miscarriage, “I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them.
“We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken,” she said, adding that “it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen”.
She said that when she was around 34 years old, she realized that “the biological clock is real” and that “egg production is limited”, which made her decide to seek in-vitro fertilisation.
Obama also said that she and former President Barack Obama sought marriage counseling after Barack was elected to the state legislature. She said she was left alone to administer the IVF shots.
Suffering leads to evil means to create God’s children
The Obamas were not alone in either their miscarriage or their choice to use IVF to create children. Over one million babies in the U.S. alone have been created through IVF, and miscarriages are estimated to happen in anywhere from one in six to one in two pregnancies.
Many women suffer as Obama did after losing a baby to miscarriage. Like her, they then rely on IVF to create their child(ren). This has its own challenges, however; while IVF created two healthy and vibrant young women in Sasha and Malia, miscarriages while using IVF are about as common as recognized miscarriages through natural fertilization. Successful IVF implantation takes place only about one-third of the time, and pregnancy complications are more common for women who use artificial assistance compared to natural pregnancy.
Most importantly, though, IVF is an immoral process which treats humans like chattel and often ends in their deaths. It is therefore important that pro-life advocates be ready to articulately and compassionately stand against Obama’s contribution to the anti-life problem which IVF represents.
Treating humans like chattel
I first heard this argument from Professor Robert Oscar Lopez. Now at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lopez told me in 2014 that IVF uses “money and legal possession that forces the child into an emotional relationship, a kind of captivity, under the authority of two adults who have purchased the right to control this person.”
This is the transformation of human beings into chattel in a way we haven’t seen since before slavery was abolished. I have stated many times that this isn’t identical to the African slave trade, which involved far worse abuse, but there is an undeniable commonality between pre-13th-Amendment slavery [and IVF]…
Lopez was addressing same-sex couples who use IVF because of the natural sterility of same-sex sexual relationships, but his point holds true for everyone who uses IVF. This practice treats the unborn human person as a good to be exchanged for money. This is exactly how slaves were treated when they were sent to new masters.
Related, for every successful “live born” child, possibly more than a dozen other people are frozen – to be kept refrigerated in case the mother has a future use for them.
Our society should be horrified that we have embraced this tactic for creating new life. Instead, we celebrate that Obama is using her massive influence to push it as acceptable and normal.
The British government announced in 2012 that 1.4 million IVF-created embryos (babies) were thrown away between 1991 and 2012. That’s 1.4 million unborn children in just one country which were murdered simply because they were inconvenient.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the number of discarded babies is not known.
Every one of these “discarded” embryos is a human being. For Christians, the Bible proves this fact in Jeremiah and elsewhere. But even atheists should be able to get behind the science of unborn life. As noted by the think tank Just Facts (disclosure: a former client):
* At fertilization, the genetic composition of humans is formed. This genetic information determines gender, eye color, hair color, and facial features. It also influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.
* Per the medical textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology: “fertilization” creates “a new combination of chromosomes that is different from that in the cells of either of the parents,” and this marks the “beginning of a new human being.”
* Genetically speaking, with the exception of identical twins, once a woman conceives a preborn human, the odds against her conceiving the same one again are greater than 10600 to one.  In comparison, there are roughly 1080 atoms in the known universe.
Other issues with IVF
IVF is marketed as a solution to many challenges – infertility, miscarriages, and the sterility of same-sex sexual relationships, among others. Regarding the latter, Lopez – an ex-gay man who was raised by lesbians and is now married with four children – told me in 2014 that under IVF, “children are being forcibly removed from their birth kin and assigned custodians through a system based on buying and selling human beings. If [gay rights groups]do not like being compared to slavers, then they should come out strong against any arrangements that involve treating human beings like commodities for sale.”
The fact that so many same-sex couples pursue IVF is just one of many reasons why same-sex “marriages” will never measure up to the real thing.
Another growing issue is eugenics. A growing body of fertilization practices and thought leadership has endorsed the idea that removing the potential for diseases, illnesses, and/or disabilities from embryos is part of a brighter future. We know where this future leads – Iceland has “eliminated” Down Syndrome by eliminating babies with it, and the Nazis tricked a lot of people into believing the perfect race could be accomplished.
Third, IVF is expensive. Poor couples inspired by Obama’s example are in for tight budgets if they choose this route.
Lastly, IVF’s increasingly popularity will see a growth in government. Thirteen U.S. states already require insurance companies to cover infertility treatments, though three specifically exclude IVF as of this writing. As discussed here, Australia and Britain subsidize infertility treatments, and in 2001 the World Health Organization urged governments in developing nations to include treatments in publicly-funded programs.
Acceptance and adoption
The solution to fertility challenges is clearly not IVF. The best (and possibly most trite-sounding, coming from a male whose wife just had our first child) solution is to work with one’s spouse to accept God’s desires for you both. While I haven’t read her book on being childless, I know Chelsea Patterson Sobolik has written for both childless mothers and the churches which try to help them with this challenge.
Adoption is also a great option. There are hundreds of thousands of children in foster care and elsewhere just waiting for a loving home.