Words at War: In vitro fertilization

Scientific progress at its best

I’ve always found it somewhat odd how we as an industrialized society fill our heads with these romantic notions of nature. We’re willing to pay more for food that has the same nutritional content but has “organic” stamped on it. This idealization of the so-called “natural” extends, of course, beyond what we choose to eat and into the dark void that is human sexuality. One example of this is in vitro fertilization, the process by which an egg is inseminated outside of the womb.

When it comes to the idea of trying to be “natural,” I have to shrug. Nature is a mother dying giving birth to children who will probably also die. Nature is crippling diseases and winter as a death sentence. It is with this worldview that I approach the issue of in vitro fertilization. Is it natural to conceive outside of the womb? Of course not! It isn’t natural to cure diseases or grow agriculture or build homes and heat them either.

Of course, “unnatural” is only one of many objections raised against in vitro fertilization. Many point out all the children waiting to be adopted. In this regard, choosing to spend an exuberant amount of money to conceive a child sort of makes you look like a selfish prick when you could have just adopted. Then again, so does not spending any money and just conceiving the old-fashioned way. So does flat-out not adopting a child regardless of if you want to conceive or not. We can’t blame society’s apathy entirely on in vitro fertilization. Besides, if someone wants to conceive and we have the science to do so, they should be allowed to.

Now obviously, there are examples of in vitro fertilization going wrong. “Octomom” comes to mind. She is irresponsible and spoiled, sure. But a few people who abuse the system don’t nullify the legitimate reasons to choose in vitro fertilization. Though, I think she’d also be less willing to conceive so many children if she wasn’t living off the state but that’s another issue entirely.

What of the industry behind all of this? Surely no one could like them; it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, after all. Well, I can’t say I even have a huge problem with them. If they can provide a service people are willing to pay for, good for them. If they can make ridiculous profits off of it, even better for them. They are providing a service people want at a price they’re willing to pay.

Overall, in vitro fertilization is a great procedure for couples (or individuals or groups or whatever your thing is) trying to conceive and finding it difficult. I think it’s great science has progressed to the level that we are able to create human life outside of the womb. People are understandably wary of progress, change is always uneasy. But I think this is ultimately that: progress. n