Sunday 27 April 2008

An immaculate conception?

It's Sunday and I feel like having a moan simply because we have now entered the luteal phase, more commonly referred to as the 'there is sod all you can do now, so sit quiet and squirm rat boy' phase.

This is cycle 13, making us 'officially' infertile, as opposed to the 'don't be such a drama queen with a willy' type infertility I've been rattling on about for the past year.

I am confident that things will work, but the prospect is ever larger that we need assistance.

On selfish reflection this is a slightly saddening thought, but honestly I don't have any huge issues with this. On the other hand, my 'spiritual leader' does.

In early March the Vatican listed a new and improved, better than your current leading brand, set of seven deadly sins by adding seven modern mortal sins.

This list includes 'Genetic Manipulation'. I had to do some checking to be sure, but this encompasses procedures such as IVF.

A few searches confirmed my thoughts that the Vatican would consider IVF a mortal sin, but to be certain I went to the Vatican's own website, to get it from the donkey's mouth, and found the following:

'The desire for a child - or at the very least an openness to the transmission of life - is a necessary prerequisite from the moral point of view for responsible human procreation. But this good intention is not sufficient for making a positive moral evaluation of in vitro fertilization between spouses. The process of IVF and ET must be judged in itself and cannot borrow its definitive moral quality from the totality of conjugal life of which it becomes part nor from the conjugal acts which may precede or follow it.(48)"

Basically, it's NOT the good thought that counts.

This saddens me in one way and aggravates me in another.

I'm sad because the faith I was brought up in, and which has to this day unseen influences on my life, is so far out of touch with real life it becomes almost impossible to defend it.

I'm aggravated and angry because this 'ruling' puts ET and myself on the cusp of a descent into eternal damnation according to Pope Benedict XVI.

Does the fact we have made the decision to try and have a family from a totally (probably for the first time ever) unselfish viewpoint not weigh in on this 'hell bound sentencing'?

We have invested, blood, sweat, and tears into this, all three quite literally, not to mention a few other bodily fluids, and we have as of yet, nothing to show for it only the prospect that any further action will see us keeping eternal company with murderers, paedophiles and rapists.

If I had any real faith left I'd be losing it right now.

If I wanted to get silly about it, and let's face it, that's what I do best, I'd start making claims that Jesus himself could have been the product of an assisted conception. Maybe Joseph had a touch of Spencer syndrome and had a few questionable wrigglers, maybe Mary was low on the old vitamin B6, we don't know, but we do know we are told that no uglies got bumped and yet voila! the son of God is delivered into the arms of his loving and soon to be sleep deprived parents.


I wonder did my main man Benedict even raise an eyebrow to the irony as he grasped his ruby studded gold pen from it's 14th century antique holder given as a gift from the court of some French or Spanish royal family, peering over his silver spectacle rims before penning the next mortal sin on his new list:

'Accumulating excessive wealth'

The Vatican website is located here, with the quoted passage located in their documentation, here.


MarĂ­a said...

Yeah, I may be named after the Blessed Virgin, but I really *don't* get Catholicism. Any religion for that matter...

Do what is going to make you two happy. Hopefully you won't burn in hell for it.

That does not sound good.

The Tall Red Head said...

Well, I was under the impression that God forgave us for all our when your time comes I am sure you be forgiven for being kind, loving and awesome parents.

And if not, I am stuffed as I had 4 pregnacies, (but only got three babies), all out of wedlock. So I may see you there. I am the Tall Redhead with dark Bags under her eyes.

Anonymous said...

De-lurking to say thanks for sharing this. I have had friends who have suffered judgement from religious folk because their battle with infertility led to more "invasive measures". It isn't fair. But I think seeing the comical side of the situation (as you did here) makes things a bit easier. I hope so. Good luck!

amy turn sharp said...

I am really saying some prayers for you!!! My BFF is going thorugh same thing right now. I love yr blog- :)

Hilary (Maya Papaya) said...

I think the moment you are holding your sweet little baby in your arms, you won't think about all this for another second.

There will always be naysayers, some more influential than others. The good news is you get to decide whether or not you care to listen.

Stacy said...

I don't get catholicism. To me it has always seems like if you turn your head and say it's not so then it's not

Anonymous said...

I'm in the "God forgave us all" camp along with the tall red head. If this isn't the case then we are all damned to hell anyway. Yes, all of us.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot i could say about the vatican covering up the cases of pedophilia performed by their priests and the pope generally being a force for evil in this world.

But I won't, because I'm at risk of getting a reputation of ranting inappropriately in the comments section of other peoples blogs.

Anonymous said...

OH what a load of horseshit. I swear, the Catholic religion is a joke.

I used to think I'd probably burst into flames if I ever stepped into a catholic church. Now I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even make it up the stairs.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Dude, Benedict is just a man.

Do what you feel is right between you and your God. Religion will not get you to heaven.

Then just say a few Hail Marys to be on the safe side.

Anonymous said...

I know very little about the Pope's Catholicism, save for what I read in the media (and you KNOW that's not good.) On the surface, to me, the out-of-touch list of sins seems absurd. Still, I can't imagine the pain of feeling betrayed by your own beloved faith. So I'm sorry. :(

Anonymous said...

What Tall Red Head and Chuck said is entirely correct (honest guv). He's all loving and forgiving so when you get up there you'll be fine. Besides, you'll have your entire brood praying for you at that point which will surely score points!

Julie said...

Geesh. My cousin's religious beliefs include the idea that your marriage is not sanctified in the eyes of God if you DON'T have babies...(I am not sure which version of Christianity this little nugget of love is from.)

Damned (literally) if you do (by IVF), damned if you don't.

Isn't this covered by the old "if God didn't want people to have babies, he wouldn't have invented scientists and doctors with test tubes?"

I think pretty much just surviving through puberty puts us all squarely in hell...and since I very much doubt God would toss everyone away, and because I am a Lutheran, I am pretty confident you are not going to hell.

Besides -- isn't hell where all the really fun people are? (I know. I am going to hell for various offenses against good taste and judgment -- ask my kids -- and thus must be suspected of ulterior motives and hidden agendas...)

The Miss of Abyss said...

Um... weren't the sin thingies laid out by the 'him up there' deity?

Benedict can add all the new sins he likes, you don't answer to Benedict.

I get really, really annoyed at stuff like this. You and ET are trying your poor little hearts out to bring a human life into the world. And if that means acquiring some reproductive assistance, then so be it.

Heh, I'm the last person to be commenting on the rights and wrongs according to God, but I fail to see how God is going to toast you and ET for wanting to have a child.

Momo Fali said...

Sheepishly commenting here...

You know I am Catholic. I believe strongly in my faith, but I do not agree with this. There are other things I disagree with as well and I think a lot of them will be addressed by the next Pope, though you obviously can't wait that long. If I were you, I'd talk to my priest and ask for some guidance. I'm behind you and cheering you on, no matter what!

GoaldeeBug said...

The Pope can shove that ruby crusted pen straight up his arse!

Where did these mortal sins come from?

It's a crock of shit and it makes me so mad to think that crap like this can badly wound sweet people like you and ET.

Just because HE never had any kids..... sheesh!

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

I was SO scared that you were going to say that you weren't going to go forward with IVF etc.

WHEW! Glad you came to your senses and realized those crazy popes don't know everything and go w/ your crotch, I mean gut.

Judge not lest ye be judged. I ain't no religious folk, but I live by that one.

Deb said...

I didn't see any mention of IUI, which would be the first step before IVF. So tell the Pope to go... oh, shucks... you know.

morninglight mama said...

I'm what you could call a "Recovering Catholic," so you have my sympathies and understanding of this ridiculous dilemma the Pope has caused for you and your wife.

I second (and third, and fourth) all the other comments about forgiveness-- any God that I want to believe in would think the Pope is on a bit of a power trip, methinks...

justmylife said...

I completly agree with all those who say He is all forgiving. I also agree with say a few Hail Marys just to be safe. My grandmother was a Catholic who married out of her religion, I have heard the story of her "funeral" too many times to count. She always told me to follow my heart, I suggest the two of you do too!

Anonymous said...

I guess as long as you are worth less than the Catholic church you are not a sinner...

I didn't see little boys on his list.

Anonymous said...

Zoesdad said it best; this is between you and your God. I think the world is ripe with bad examples and blatant hypocrisy of what many people/religions are willing to do in the name of "Their God".

Ashley said...

I'm Catholic as well...

But, you know...religion isn't about the Pope or church leaders, it's about God. There are a few things I don't agree with...but as far as I'm concerned, no religion on this Earth is PERFECT. If talking to your priest about it would make you feel better, then do. could just take this one straight to God...

On another should cut yourselves some slack. It's cycle 13, and I know that now they throw in the scary word "infertility," but it may not mean much. I mean, they had ME convinced when they threw that word at me almost 2 years ago that I would never be a mom, something I felt I was BORN to be. I was devastated. Turns out, docs use that word quite lightly. Now that you are taking all of these supplements/vitamins and are "changed" so to could almost start recounting. As in, this could be cycle 1 or 2.

And, back to the IVF...don't stress too may not need it anyways...

Feebee said...

I heard a priest on the radio recently defending the Catholic church's stance on IVF. His argument was that all children should be born out of love and the sexual act was an act of love. Making a child in a laboratory is not an act of love.

Are there any IVF babies that are NOT born out of complete love and longing for a child? And all sexual acts are acts of love?????

The thought also crossed my mind that Jesus was not (allegedly) born of a sexual act.

Another funny thing is that IUI in itself is not considered sinful but if the man masturbates to produce the sperm then it is a sin - testicular biopsy is the recommended method of procuring sperm.

PG said...

I am a recovering catholic so yeah, I feel you here. A tad harsh that hierarchy.

Blondefabulous said...

I didn't know there was an addendum to the first 10 rules we had to live by! How is it they get to add on? Did they get an email from the big guy?

Better yet, why would Pop, Junior, and the Spook make us in their image, give us the knowledge to do things like IVF and such, and not expect us to use it?!? Eh,....must be just me.

Putz said...

too many theological immpilcations for me to comment

Martin said...

@Immoral Matriarch - That's a way to put it, hope we don't burn forever in Hell.

@The Tall Red Head - I think we are ALL stuffed. When I hear the God forgives all, I wonder what was the fuss about to begin with!
Thanks for the comments.

@Shannon - I'm VERY glad you de-lurked, glad you find something of use. Feel free to point them in this direction. Nothing is black & white in this game, the very best of luck to them.

@Amy t sharp - Thank you, it's very much appreciated.

@Hilary - Yes, the freedom to choose is the crux of it in the end.

@Snowmanpoop - I've been raised to 'get it' and I still don't really.

@Chuck - all who repent are forgiven (I believe), but how could someone be sorry for creating a life? sigh.

@Dan - Don't worry about any ranting here, If I wasn't getting the feedback I am I might not even be still doing this. And I absolutely feel your frustrations regarding the church.

@Breigh - Tell us what you REALLY think eh ;0)

@Ed - Indeed, it's not going to change our minds on the subject should it become a necessity. I don't feel any guilt as a result of considering it.

@maggie, dammit - You know, I think you've hit closest what I think about it all, I feel a bit let down. Almost like I'm not represented by my religion.

@bsouth - I guess, either way, can hell be much worse than here ? ;0)

@Julie - nail on the head woman! Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

@Anja - relax, deep breaths.... you'll give yourself a coronary.

@Momo Fali - thanks for commenting, I know the sheepish feeling of 'should I or not' quite well, and it's not particularly nice. To be honest, I find less and less that I CAN agree with as time progresses, and I'm not particularly liberal or left field about most matters.

@Goaldeebug - someone call this woman a taxi...

@A whole lot of nothing - It won't affect our decisions in any way, should they ever need to be made, I can guarantee that. It's the asepct of being officially doomed by your church that irks me somewhat.

@Deb - Indeed, its all theoretical at this stage. Two weeks from now maybe no assistance at all will be needed!

@Morninglight mama - I believe the stance on IVF has been long standing, but the addition of the new mortal sins has just brought it tom my attention. No, indeed, not entirely easy to get your head around.

@justmylife - thank you... we certainly will.

@Wpat - Meeeeow....

@Nukedad - indeed, the difference between a god and their representatives on earth grow ever larger.

@Ashley - I haven't 'had a priest' in a long time. I would just end up arguing with one I think, and that would do no one any good. I ain't setting no clock back to cycle 1 thank you very much !

@Feebee - You know what is even more annoying there? those are not the same reasons I have read that the church are against IVF. So which is the real reason, and why are the explanations differing, is it a case of "here's a rule, just follow it"?
One concise reason would be easier to 'swallow' I think.
I couldn't say it any 'truer', there are no IVF babies not born out of love.
I'm irritated now again ;0)

@PG - Interesting term 'recovering', are there ANY 'normal' Catholics anymore? people who can honestly say they agree and live by the teachings. Other than the clergy itself, I wonder are there any.

@Blondefabulous - Definitely not just you at all!

@Putz - I understand the urge to step back from such discussions quite well.

Jason Roth said...

I was raised Catholic so I understand the strange complexity of the situation. However, if I were you I'd do whatever you have planned, afterwhich I'd go to the confession booth, state my sins, seek forgiveness, recite a few Hail Mary's and be on my merry way. Screw damnation. I don't go down like that.

Miss Awesome said...

If it makes you feel any better I asked a friend of mine who is a priest to pray for you guys. He's Greek Orthodox, not Catholic so maybe his god will sympathize with your plight and not damn you to hell :)-

Anonymous said...

the touch of your child's hand in your's is worth any and every sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that IVT would cause a religious problem. It's a tough situation. Not sure if it really applies here, but I've been told that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. Good luck!

BusyDad said...

My wife is Catholic (and like PG, I am too a recovering one), and she said it best when we were watching news footage of his NY visit. "He looks mean." Yup. I couldn't agree more. Wouldn't keeping someone "artificially" alive with machines and drugs exist in the same plane as making someone alive via "artificial" means? Either way, someone is living when they are "not supposed to." I say you bring a good lawyer with you to Hell to argue this one.

Karen MEG said...

Grew up Catholic, not particularly practising anymore. Now if you can get your head around all that gobbledy-gook, it seemed implicit to me that this would be the stance of the Church on this issue. That's why I didn't delve into it too far during our journey.

And while I say I'm not really religious, my little G is really a gift from God. The sex with hubs has always been good, just not particularly fruitful in this regard. I think all the blood tests, cycle monitoring, examinations, ultrasounds, injections, retrievals, sperm producing sessions, ups and downs in the relationship ... all in the interest of producing a beloved child ... all are acts of love... each and every one of them.

All the science in the world cannot make that implantation happen. There's still that last bit of luck or whatever it was that made it happen. I prayed a lot during those years and I think it may have helped.

So you should do what you need to do, what's right for you and ET; take it one step at a time. It is a difficult dilemma, this Catholicism thing.

Craig D said...

Well, I'm a life-long Lutheran, so I won't be so ungracious as to comment on the Vatican's position on IVF.

Two things, though:

1. Happy anniversary with the effort.

2. Even in the pit of your despair you crack me up.

Tara R. said...

Being a non-Catholic... a lot of what the Vatican decrees makes no sense to me. A husband and wife, trying to have a child, no matter the method, cannot be a sin. It just can't.

Anonymous said...

I find it helps to separate 'faith' from 'church'. I'm a catholic too - not a good one by traditional catholic standards but I'm there most weeks.

I don't agree with everything the church teaches and I think that in the circumstance of a committed couple such as you and your lovely wife wanting to conceive that the church has it wrong. But the churches are mans attempt to explain and understand god and we all know men are flawed creatures with large gaps in their knowledge. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by on my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. I've added you into my feed reader so that I can keep up on your progress.

My 2 cents worth - in the past the catholic church has deemed many things sins that it has later taken a step back on. Currently they prohibit birth control, which leaves many African countries churning out babies that they cannot support.

We've had cases such as the Magdalene laundries in Ireland, where "fallen" women were basically enslaved and their out-of-wedlock babies taken from them. We've had priesthood child sex scandals, priests running off and having babies with parishioners. They really aren't the best example at all!

If you have faith, then you may not need organised religion. Faith teaches us to be kind to our fellow man, to look after them and help them whenever we can. Organised religion puts rules and boundaries about what counts as acts of faith and what counts as acts against faith.

I treat medical science as a branch of the work of God - doctors and nurses have taken knowledge that comes from him and are using it for the good of humankind. But, as I said, that's just my opinion - you should make up your own mind about what is right for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Mention Catholics and conception and the comments go wild..

hehehe Can I have a ruby pen too???

cheers Kim xxx

Anonymous said...

Fuck me dead, he is more out of touch than I realised. That is some serious fucked up logic there.

And one scary looking man.

Now I understand what you were Twittering about last night. Sorry it took me so long to come over and visit.

Oh and sorry for swearing on your blog. You know I do it with love to you both.

Man, that has seriously pissed me off.

Anonymous said...

Organised religion scares me a little, is that bad?

Kori said...

I really like the loophole in the quote that says "...between mand and wife." you and the wife could get a divorce and then do the in vitro and it would be okay? Oh, nope, no divorce either, sorry. Yikes, that really sucks, on SO many levels!

Anonymous said...

Let me preface this comment with this: I too am Catholic, and I am completely, 100%, flawed. I have broken most (if not all) commandments, and probably still break some on a weekly basis. I can't judge!

There were quite a few angry comments (understandably), and I just want to shed a little light on the Invitro issue for some of your readers.

The Catholic Church believes that a human life begins as soon as the sperm fertilizes the egg. Invitro Fertilization uses as many female eggs as can be harvested, then fertilizes as many as possible, then selects the most likely candidate, and inserts it into the woman's womb. So far, so good. The actual problem is that the other fertilized eggs are destroyed once the woman is "pregnant". This is where IVF is at odds with the 6th commandment. Benedict didn't "make up a new sin", but rather applied an exisiting commandment to a new issue.

A perceived Loophole: If the unused fertilized eggs were frozen (if freezing them is even possible), then used for the next child a few years later, or if they were donated to other infertile couples, then this would not be considered a sin.

My friend, I don't have any answers for you, but I want you to know that since I found your blog you've always been in my prayers. I know that both of you will be great parents when the time finally comes, regardless of how it happens.

Regarding bringing a good lawer to hell; you probably would not need to bring your own. They're all already there! (my attempt at levity on an otherwise weighty subject).

Martin said...

@Roth Family Adventures - I think those are the strongest words I've ever heard from your er..fingers.

@Big Mama Pimplishness - It's things like that that make this blogging stuff all worth while. Thank you. Very Much.

@Struglas - Not a doubt in my mind sir.

@Jeremy - Us Catholics can cause a dilemma from ANYTHING!

@BusyDad - Bring a good lawyer to hell... hahahahaha....

@Karen Meg - Absolutely, there surely can not be many greater acts of love?

@CraigD - I just hope we aren't both here in another 12 months repeating ourselves! Good luck to you & yours sir.

@Tara R - I'm on the 'inside' and it doesn't make any more sense from here, Ill tell ya.

@Bettina - Nice to hear that. Separating is hard though.

@Elly Parker - That line you wrote really caught my attention. And I am well aware of all the scandals, I'm Irish born and raised. Thanks.

@Frog ponds Rock - Trust you....

@Kelley - Quite astounding from certain viewpoint's isn't it?

@Veronica - Gives me the willies as is...

@Kori - I chose a specific passage, but it's not just between spouses, the issues as mike below you described is the crux of the issue, married or not.

@Mike - You are 100% correct< I probably should have been more precise as to what the mortal sin was, the IVF itself is not, rather the commonplace destruction of 'extra' embryos.

I don't want to avoid sin on a technicality.

I personally find it impossible to marry the good I know would come of it with the evil that we have described to us from the procedure.

Your words are very kind Mike, reassuring that there is room for humanity within these laws.

And Thank you, very very much.

@ALL - You are not a bad bunch of folk after all, some even semi-personable ones among you ;0)

Anonymous said...

After 44 comments I'm not sure what I can add. I learned one thing that I didn't know about you - you're Catholic. So am I.

I think you'll be easily forgiven for wanting to bring a child into this world and loving it and teaching it to be a good person - oh how terrible that would be.

Thanks for all your comments on my blog - I don't know how you do it. You obviously stay pretty busy over here and I'm always late to the comment party.

Hope you guys have a safe trip.

Martin said...

I was born and raised Catholic, but I don't know how Catholic I am now.

Every rule has been broken time and again.

This is the closest I will have come to MORTAL sin, the super duper bad ones, the ones that send you straight to hell.

I was talking about this with ET, about 'being forgiven', you can only be forgiven if you repent, and I can't ever imagine being sorry about this if it were the only route to bringing the beginnings of a family about.

I guess Catholicism would just have to struggle on without me in it's ranks from that point on. for where I get the time, no kids, remember ;0)

Mr Lady said...

Not that it helps, but masturbation is a totally way worse sin, brother. You're screwed either way. Might as well keep plugging along.

Krista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krista said...

I know I'm a little late to the party (for this post anyway), but I've happened upon you before and this time I'm going to remember to put you in my reader.
So... reading back through all your posts and the first thing that jumped out at me about this one was that from everything I know (and I guess that's not much, but I am a scientist) IVF isn't genetic manipulation. So I'm not sure where the Pope gets off calling it that.
And I just have to add, (per some commenters) yes, I believe God is all forgiving... if you have believed in him. Guess I'm of the camp that doesn't believe everyone just "gets" into heaven. Then again that's between each individual and God.
Good luck with all this!

Martin said...

Hi Krista, you can't be too late for this one, it really fascinates me.

To clarify, the genetic mutation is the umbrella term.

IVF in itself is not the sin, but the (almost inevitable) destruction of fertilized embryos is.

If they were to be frozen for later use, or all transferred back into the/a mother then we'd escape the firey demise.