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In vitro fertilization (abbreviated IVF) is the process of joining a woman’s egg (ovum) and a husband’s sperm in a lab rather than inside a woman’s body. (The Latin phrase in vitro means “in glass.”) When the egg is fertilized by the sperm, the result is a living embryo, which is then implanted in the woman’s womb so that it can develop like any other baby.
Evangelical Christians differ on the moral acceptability of this procedure, and some respected evangelical writers argue that IVF is always morally unacceptable.
Position - Principle - Teachings - Scripture - Objection
My own position is that, in principle, the teachings of Scripture present no moral objection to a married couple using IVF (as long as no human embryos are destroyed in the process), because it is simply enabling an infertile husband and wife to overcome their infertility and thereby experience the blessing of having children.
Infertility has been a source of deep sorrow for both men and women—but especially for women, for all of human history, as we see from some of the early chapters of the Bible. Sarah (Sarai) was unable to bear children to Abraham (Gen. 11:30; 16:1) for most of her life, until she miraculously bore Isaac in her old age (see Gen. 21:1–7). Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was unable to bear children for a long time after her marriage to Jacob (Gen. 29:31), as was Samson’s mother, the wife of Manoah (Judg. 13:2). Hannah, the mother of Samuel, cried out to the Lord in deep sorrow because of her infertility (1 Sam. 1:2–18). In the New Testament, Zechariah and Elizabeth “had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years” (Luke 1:7), but, again through God’s miraculous intervention, Elizabeth eventually gave birth to John the Baptist (vv. 57–66). These narrative examples portray overcoming infertility as something that pleases God, and...
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