Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review...

So, while I am on temporary hiatus from my IUI attempts, I have decided to read a new infertility book. Its' called, "Outside the Womb-A Moral Guidance for Assisted Reproduction" by Scott B. Rae and D.Joy Riley. The authors are both very conservative Christians, one is a physician and one is a professor of Ethics at a Seminary. I purchased the book at the Christian Bookstore, so I was prepared for the book to be very conservative. I was interested in exploring a more conservative and biblical based view on Assisted Reproductive Technology, since I look at it from a very scientific, medical perspective.

I have to admit that the beginning of the book was very boring and I was bogged down by all of the discussions of ethics and theology. It brought me back to my college years sitting in my intro to Bib Faith and Ethics classes. I have to admit that I briefly skimmed through some of the paragraphs detailing the concept of "Substance and Property-Thinking" which questions whether embryos are truly "persons" or simply "property of the donors".

The book does an excellent job of detailing the Catholic Church's views on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). I knew that the Church prohibited IVF, but it was very interesting to read some of the more "official statements" regarding fertility treatments. I have to admit that I am glad that the Protestant Church is a bit more open-minded.

The authors then began a very indepth look and discussion at exactly when an embryo/fetus becomes "human". This is very a important concept when discussing the ideas of disposing of excess embryos, selective termination and abortions for various genetic conditions. The authors suggest that "being human" begins at conception, and hold a very strong stance against selective termination, excess embryos and abortion. I of course, agree with many of their ideas, but am concerned that some readers could take offense at some of their ideas. Specificially, their views on surrogacy, egg and sperm donation and any other use of  "third party reproduction". I caution any readers who have used surrogacy or either egg or sperm donation as means to conceive proceed with caution. I would like to believe that my views are a bit more open minded, and I look at "third party reproduction" as one of the many ways that God can use to help Infertility patients complete their families.

I will summarize the ideas of the authors in one closing passage, "Technology is a gift of God's grace, but must be employed as such, in recognition that it is to be utilized humbly, responibly, and gratefully. As a gift, it offers hope and fulfillment to many couples. But, as with any good thing, its misuse can have adverse ramifications: the panacea of reproductive technologies can inadvertantly become a Pandora's box of long-term detrimental consequences."- Susan M. Haack (2010).

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