Why Making Babies in Test Tubes Is Not Pro-Life

By Katy French Talento, originally published April 22, 2024, The Federalist

The IVF industry enables the abortion industry by feeding the cultural entitlement to God-like powers over life and death.

Reactionary legislation is being considered in Congress that would require the health plans covering the majority of American workers and their families to provide coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Christians and Christian employers will certainly be troubled by this legislation.

The bill, authored, but not yet introduced, by Republican Sen. Roger Marshall and Democrat Sen. Cory Booker, requires coverage not only for infertile male-female couples but even for same-sex couples or transgender-identifying employees. The bill does not exclude requiring coverage for medical and IVF services associated with surrogacy, including commercial surrogacy.

Although IVF supporters are touting IVF generally and this bill specifically as pro-family and pro-life, nothing could be further from the truth. A significant fact for religious employers is that only about 10 percent of lab-created embryos are born alive. Indeed, IVF procedures treat embryos — tiny humans — as commodities to serve the needs of adults who may not even be related to them. Many embryos don’t survive the freezing or thawing process, or the transfer via a needle into the mother’s or surrogate’s uterus.

Any expansion of IVF insurance coverage will give aid and comfort to a largely unregulated industry that exploits, harms, and kills the poor and vulnerable — in other words, some of the groups Christ said He came to save, whether embryonic or full-grown.

The industry expands the commercial surrogacy market that commodifies and sells the wombs of poor and desperate women, often nonwhite women or women in developing countries. IVF facilities and sperm banks purchase porn to fuel the masturbation often required to obtain sperm sold to IVF customers. Eggs are typically harvested in bulk and purchased from a low-income woman. It’s usually only possible to fertilize the many eggs needed for the process after carcinogenic hormones are injected to hyperstimulate the ovaries.

Eugenics isn’t pro-life, that’s for sure, as well as at odds with Christian belief about the dignity of every human life. However, the IVF industry normalizes the shopping of sperm and eggs on the basis of a host’s attractiveness, IQ, academic achievement, and race. Then the embryos are genetically “screened,” a euphemism for deeming certain embryos the wrong sex or genetically “inferior,” after which they are simply destroyed after their short life. Millions of tiny embryonic humans meet this fate every year. Others are actually aborted when many embryos are inserted into the mother’s uterus in the hopes that one of them will “take.” If too many do so, some will be “selectively reduced” to give their stronger, bigger siblings a better chance at survival.

Is it pro-life to indefinitely freeze embryos, sometimes for decades? What happens when their parents break up, divorce, or just decide they’re done paying for the cold storage? Custody battles where one parent wants to destroy the embryos and the other doesn’t have been documented, including with high-profile celebrity couples.

The Alabama case that started the latest IVF public policy frenzy resulted from parents suing an IVF facility after a random stranger walked into the storage facility off the street and broke the test tube where their embryos were living. These bizarre custody-related legal scenarios are par for the course in this not-so-pro-life industry.

[READ: What The Alabama Supreme Court’s Ruling On Frozen Embryos Means For Big Fertility]

Children have a right to know and be raised by their biological parents. When that can’t happen because of death, or because of abuse or neglect, society rightly grieves with the child and tries to create a compassionate Plan B through foster care and adoption. How is it pro-life to intentionally create motherless or fatherless children by design — to serve the needs and desires of often unrelated adults? But that’s standard practice of the IVF industry — intentionally creating children with only one parent, prioritizing the desires of a single parent or a same-sex couple over a child’s natural right to his or her mother and father?

Christians are committed to protecting children, but what about the predators that continue to find expression for their sexual abuse and fraud? Whether it’s the single men creating IVF babies for the purpose of sexually abusing them, or the freakish IVF doctors who use their own sperm to create dozens of their own children instead of the intended fathers’, the lack of regulation and oversight of this industry is a threat to any child’s well-being.

Ultimately, the IVF industry enables the abortion industry by feeding the cultural entitlement to God-like powers over life and death. I know firsthand the grief and loss of infertility. But sometimes the price of our misguided attempts to end suffering is the creation of far more suffering than it solves. There is remarkably little scientific research into the root causes of infertility, including the reproductive toxins being manufactured by Big Food, Big Chemical, Big Plastic, and Big Pharma. Their profiteering guarantees a steady customer base for Big Fertility, and this unholy alliance has no use for healed bodies, suffering redeemed, and pro-life families who don’t need them.

Bills like the Marshall-Booker insurance mandate and many others now being considered in the wake of the Alabama IVF case must be seen for what they are: aid and comfort to a greedy and exploitative industry trying to hide behind the good name and moral high ground of the pro-life movement.

Note: This post has been updated since publication.

Katy Talento is the Executive Director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. She is an epidemiologist, naturopathic doctor, and was the top health advisor on the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Trump Administration.