Balancing Parenthood and Principles

The desire for parenthood is natural and good. Yet, infertility is a cross borne by approximately 9% of men and 11% of women, and the pain it inflicts prompts many couples to explore assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The Church in her wisdom teaches that there are ethical bounds to the conception of a child that must be safeguarded, and the scientific ability to create a child through various technological means does not make it just for the parents, child, or society.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple … infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ right to become a father and a mother only through each other” (CCC 2376).

With these principles in mind, we find ourselves compelled to address a matter of great concern currently before the Minnesota Legislature. Legislation under SF1704 and HF1658 would mandate that health insurance plans, including those provided by religious organizations, cover unethical infertility interventions.

A problematic bill

The legislation is broad in scope, requiring coverage of testing and treatment of infertility but also interventions that remove the conception of the child from the union of his or her biological parents, such as in vitro fertilization.

The risks to children conceived through ART are alarming. According to studies, ART-conceived children face higher rates of premature birth, low birth weight and other health complications compared to naturally conceived children.

It also raises concerns that we as a state are promoting eugenic practices that are often associated with genetic testing. For example, because the bill endorses a “single embryo transfer” for in vitro fertilization, genetic testing of that embryo is often integral to the process. This leads to concerns that embryos — the tiniest members of the human race — could be destroyed based on undesirable traits such as being the sex opposite of what the parents desire. Let us not repeat history.

If the violations of religious liberty through the insurance coverage mandate or the potential funding of eugenic practices do not prompt you to speak out, perhaps the dollar sign will. The bill does not set limits on the number of embryo transfers in IVF procedures to be covered, leading to concerns about the financial burden and increased insurance premiums the public would face. With the average cost of one IVF cycle ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, and with three to four cycles often required for a viable pregnancy, the financial implications are staggering, reaching upwards of $120,000 or more. Those costs would be passed onto insurance premiums that would raise insurance costs for employers and employees.

ART is not the answer for anyone involved

As individuals rooted in faith and compassion, we must carefully consider all the potential consequences of legislation that would compromise religious liberty and contribute to the resurgence of eugenics practices.

Take action and encourage your legislators to say no to this proposal!

Send your message now!

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