Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Catholic Church change?
Sean Savage's third child was conceived via IVF and his wife carried another couple's baby to term after a transfer mistake.
May 10th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Catholic Church change?

Comment of the day: Not just anyone would be able to carry a baby to term and hand him over after birth. You are truly amazing people. -Summer819

Religion and conception

In a CNN.com "Belief Blog" post, Sean Savage explains why he believes the Catholic Church should reverse its opposition to in vitro fertilization, challenging the church’s stance that the only moral route to conceiving a child is through sexual intercourse. Savage, a lifelong Catholic, is the co-author of a book about the subject. He and his wife pursued IVF but accidentally received an embryo belonging to another couple. The mistake generated an intense media storm, and the day the child was born, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, publicly condemned IVF as "morally unacceptable.”

CNN.com readers who had either conceived or were conceived via IVF appreciated the column.

Jamie said, “Thank you for sharing your educated, well-expressed opinion. In a perfect world, couples won't have to choose between their church and their desire to build a family.” Charlie said, “I also want to thank you for your article. As the Catholic parents of a beautiful boy conceived through IVF we also feel blessed by God and in no way do we feel that we did anything wrong. The Catholic Church should understand that it is not only science involved in the process, but the blessing of God.” Amy said, “What a great article. I am a Catholic mother and we conceived our daughter using IVF. My husband had cancer as a child, which gave us little chance of ever naturally creating a child. God truly blessed us with our daughter and how she became is still a gift from God.” Tova said, “I am a woman conceived by IVF. My parents are Catholic – I left the church as a teenager, almost entirely because of this issue. I am here because I am meant to be here. It is not that my parents 'were not meant to have children' (though that's what my priest cousin told them, and that they should repent when they became pregnant with me).”

Others without an apparent connection to IVF  shared their thoughts about the controversy.

BigQuestions said, “If you believe that life begins at conception, IVF essentially results in the creation of many children, most of which will die before they even reach the womb (IE, many embryos do not survive thawing). If you believe that life begins at some other point along the path of pregnancy, you have started down a slippery slope that is used to rationalize abortion, etc. My wife and I have compassion for everyone else who is faced with these decisions. Ultimately we decided that we cannot set an arbitrary point when life begins and as such, couldn't go through with IVF.” Mario said, “Human life begins when an embryo is properly attached to the womb. Until this happens, the embryo is not a human being. This is the current approach in science. Moreover, Jesus Christ was not the product of a conjugal act.” Eric said, “If you check the scientific research, you will see that most ‘naturally’ conceived embryos do not survive either. Most of the time, a failure to properly implant in the uterine wall or an error in early cell division results in a spontaneous miscarriage, often before the woman has any idea that she is pregnant.”

Other readers either shared their support for the Catholic Church or condemned their stance on IVF.

David said, “I pray that we all look into our hearts to follow not what we want, or what we think is right, but what is right. We must be careful not to let what we say lead others astray. The church is our mother, who leads and guides us. It is not easy, but in the end it will be so comforting. May we all pray for God's mercy, guidance and understanding.” Dan responded, “David is somehow assuming that the Catholic Church is always right and people shouldn't think for themselves. David is wrong and that is a very dangerous position to take.” *SIGH* said, “If you are Catholic, you must accept the pope as the hand of God. In other words, the pope is your God. Live with it happily or find a church that is in line with your beliefs if you are not going to accept Catholicism in full and just piecemeal.” Michael said, “Sean: You and your family certainly deserve compassion here. As a fellow Catholic, I hope the lord gives you his grace to bear the cross of infertility. Also know that I am sure many have prayed for you and your family and perhaps even your bishop, who was likely well-intentioned to avoid confusion on the issue but missed the mark on compassion.”

Prime Minister gives up salary

Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said Tuesday that he will give up his salary until the nuclear crisis in the country is over. CNN.com readers praised his decision and questioned whether U.S. leaders would ever do the same.

kevinweslyn said, “An inspirational gesture. The disaster was not at all his fault or responsibility, yet he shows this solidarity with the Japanese people in order to underline how the populace is connected.” iperlady09 said, “I'm amazed by the honor and self-restraint the Japanese people have shown over the last few weeks. This sacrifice shown by the prime minister is how one truly leads by example.”

newsound said, “Would ANY U.S. politician show such benevolence and vision? Not in a million years!” AlienShark said, “Bloomberg doesn't take a salary for the position of mayor ... just sayin.”

Guest said, “Would that every rich CEO do something like this. We would be back in black in no time. Great sacrifice there, PM. Blessings to you!" marjie said, “The CEO of my husband's company didn't take a salary for several years rather than let employees go without jobs or raises. I was very impressed that he cared that much."

Bobby56 said, “I wish Congress would do the same thing since they bankrupted the country with mismanagement." vivismama said, “I agree, maybe after that they could be able to raise minimum wage so people just might be able to survive on it.”

Arnold and Maria split

After 25 years of marriage, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have announced that they are separating. The news came as a surprise to many readers who posted comments of support, while others took the opportunity to work in some of Schwarzenegger’s most popular movie lines.

misstrixie said, “That's too bad. I have always liked this couple. Maybe they'll work it out." fedupintexas said, “Too bad! I like Arnold and Maria! Glad he's making movies again!” And FullyAutoMag said, “Nice to see they can separate without going ballistic on each other.”

On a different note, BSideSlater said, “I left my wife and now I'm looking for Sarah Conner.”

ankanlion8 said, “Terminated!” elkilo said, “Hasta la vista baby.”

And the most popular movie line invoked? ucer0t said, “Arnold, I suggest you suck it up, look Maria in the eyes and tell her, ‘I'll be back.’” 5OnionRings said, “They'll be back.” arthurlele said, “He'll be back.” Waitforit said, “Don't worry Arnie, she'll be back.” OrangeGreen said, “I guess he won't be back.”

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. fsmgroupie

    how was baby jesus concieved? the church never goes into any detail on this but wasn't it a little on the in vitro side--or did the good lord come like a thief in the night and stick his godliness into the virgin mary as she slept. that would make for some pretty interesting DNA . half god -half human. if it was by some form of in vitro how did god get his seed out of his balls and into mary's body to fertilize her egg. a miracle I guess. no need to think - just believe the priest who likes little boys.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeezy Crisco

      Stop. Common sense has no place here.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • SimonC

      Why are you bothered with these details? You know, devil is in details.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • fsmgroupie

      simple simon
      you are absolutely right
      don't question anything
      just have faith
      it's much easier
      fug the details
      feeling better already

      May 11, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lou

    I am Catholic and I have 2 Catholic friends that went through ivf and with the approval of their priests. Although the church "officiailly" states that artificial conception is frowned upon, at the same time, they also encourage the creation of life, even if unconventional. I even have a very devout relative who is going through ivf, also with the acceptance of the church.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      You say your "very devout relative" has the "acceptance of the church" to do IVF. You are mistaken. The Catholic Church does not support IVF. I seriously doubt any priests gave "approval" of IVF. People hear what they want to hear . . . even if a priest were to "approve" that doesn't make it right. We all know a local priest is not the pope.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Hitler

    Gay Catholic priest's have always used artificial conception. Surely you don't think what they do to young boys is genuine or natural. Or do you. I'll bet half of you do.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michelle

    She looks quite old to be having children.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Frank Stevens

    How can a man who has no "True" children of his own or can not "Love" a woman in its true wording, know anything about having children? What is wrong with IVF? It is just helping nature along, when nature or something else has failed. The Catholic church is WRONG on IVF. If the "Chruch" thinks IVF is wrong, Then all good things that doctors do are wrong. This generation of thinking needs to die off. "I do not speak for my chruch, nor does my church speak for me".

    May 11, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Your logic is lacking, Frank. By the same logic, we could ask how any man can know anything about having children, because women have them.

      IVF destroys many human embryos, which are unique, living, human beings. Everyone alive today was an embryo. There are also ~500,000 frozen embryos in the US today. Frozen human beings are the by product of the very lucrative IVF industry. IVF also leads to many selective abortions when multiple conceptions occur. The fathers of IVF babies also get the sperm not via the conjugal act, but via self abuse, which is also a serious sin.

      Google Father Tad Pacholczyk, the leading IVF expert, who also has earned a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University, if you really want to understand the issues.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Redpeppertin

      You precisely demonstrate the folly of IVF and indeed the folly of sin itself. The root of all sin is selfishness.

      IVF is not born out of selfless love, but rather selfish love.

      When a couple is considering IVF they are not considering a person. If you hear the language of proponents of IVF they say things like "Why can't I have a child of MY own," and things like "Who are you to say that I can't have a child."

      Then here you try and make an argument about "Truly LOVING" a child? How much love does an adopted child deserve over a blood related child? Why don't you tell all of those happily adopted children that their parents don't actually know what its like to have children. Better yet, tell the parents they have know idea what it's like to have a child. What an insult that would be. What an insult to those who have loved and sacrificed more than you will ever know.

      God has created man. He has created all of nature to follow His laws. IVF is outside of His plan for procreation. IVF is a human being saying "Oh God, you haven't sent me children, I am going to take all of these extraordinary measures in order to try to do it anyway." Selfish.

      And where does IVF lead us? Far more embryos are destroyed. Far more destruction of human life. Far more human lives are frozen. Or even experimented on.

      The ones that survive are indeed miracles. Sent by God. Every little one of them.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mich

    IVF destroys many human embryos, which are unique, living, human beings. Everyone alive today was an embryo. There are also ~500,000 frozen embryos in the US today. Frozen human beings are the by product of the very lucrative IVF industry.

    The fathers of IVF babies also get the sperm not via the conjugal act, but via self abuse, which is also a serious sin.

    If anyone sincerely wants to understand why IVF is so immoral, Google Father Tad Pacholczyk, the leading IVF expert, who also has earned a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • fsmgroupie

      how did god get the sperm out of his gonads to fertilize the virgin mary's egg? did he also commit a serious sin? this nonsense just cracks me up!!

      May 11, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      "Self abuse..." Is that what Catholics call it? I have to be honest...that is hilarious.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeezy Crisco

      Yes Im sure God wants us all whipping ourselves like the albino monk from The Davinci Code. Just bottle all those hormones up for life and play with some choir boys. "Self Abuse" (snicker) allows me to treat women with more respect when Im talking to them, instead of thinking about them like objects for conquest. We were given urges and desires, so we could procreate. Our beautiful bodies were designed by a truly wonderful and logical being. Life is tough enough without having a few moments alone to be happy.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Marie

    IVF destroys many human embryos, which are unique, living, human beings. Everyone alive today was an embryo. There are also ~500,000 frozen embryos in the US today. Frozen human beings are the by product of the very lucrative IVF industry.

    The fathers of IVF babies also get the sperm not via the conjugal act, but via self abuse, which is also a serious sin.

    If anyone sincerely wants to understand why IVF is so immoral, Google Father Tad Pacholczyk, the leading IVF expert, who also has earned a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • David Funk

      If god didn't want it to be "self abused" as you put it he/she wouldn't have put it where we could reach it

      May 11, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Every sperm is sacred....!!

      May 11, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Observer

    The Bible actually offers more support for abortion than against it.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. David Funk

    At the end of the day why would God care one little bit how we procreate. Another baby born is another soul on the planet growing and gaining experience and adding to gods plan

    May 11, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bryan

    Another example of hypocrisy in the Catholic church. Also, funny how the right-wingers in Texas are aiming to pass a law that forces a woman to undergoe an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, but then none of these Texas lawmakers want to place their hands on the chests to feel the beating hearts of those criminals on Death Row prior to flipping the electrocution switch!

    May 11, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. dee

    what's is immoral is the cost of IVF.. gweesh!!

    May 11, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. david dinger

    as usual blind adherence to the myth (of religion) results in a display of situational ethics, in order to overcome evolution. If you can't conceive a child there is a reason. A reason that science can overcome but not negate

    May 11, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Redpeppertin

      It is also science that gave us the ability to obliterate hundreds of thousands of human lives in fractions of a second. Thereafter, more refined science gave us to obliterate every living organism on the face of the earth in mere fractions of a second.

      Truly, there are some avenues of science probably best left alone.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Le

    So much talk about compassion on the couples who use IVF. What about compassion for all the orphans in the world Dying for lack of love? Why is it soooo important for couples to spend thousands on IVF to have their genetic offspring rather then another child? Are they superior to everyone else? oooo that sounds compassionate! Looks like they already had 2 boys so they weren't barren. IVF simply shows how narrow hearted we Americans are- no room for those already in the world looking for love- that is the biggest sin involved in IVF

    May 11, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Redpeppertin

    the ability*

    May 11, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tinh Tran

    IVF or not IVF, ladies have to through Labors & Deliveries. In the Bible, God cursed: women must delivered babies in Pain. That were the Words of God. And all the doctors now went against God's Words with their intentions and effort to eliminate women's Labor's Pain. And what about the engineers who make A/C tractors. They also went against God's Words that men must sweat to make a living. Or we interpret God's word the way it fits our modern life??

    May 11, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • chief

      take your logic and move to a third world country and do Gods will..... your twisted

      May 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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