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Amoris Laetitia, Part 3

Thomas Kadmon, ICR. Image: Family Planning in a Brave New World - Fertilitypedia Blog

What is the genesis of the family, its nature and purpose?

At a micro level what is needed is a sperm and an egg and a blessed interaction. Two sperm won't achieve it; neither will two ova. There is one natural way to achieve this. (Hint: it involves a penis inside a vagina.) At the micro level we shall see there are ways of imitating the genesis of the family. Then there is the macro, social level on which to consider the genesis and destiny of the family. Whether the family is cobbled together by necessity, from broken and blended elements, or whether it has arisen in a more natural and traditional way, one can be sure that the family will become the basic building block of society. Society, in turn, will sanction and reinforce patterns of family according to the dominant ideology. This will make it easier or harder for the traditional order of the family to be valorised. Ideologies of overpopulation and planetary burden promote a contraceptive mentality and smaller families which, in turn, can compromise a society's capacity to replace itself and flourish long term. We can expect disappointment if the propagation of the species comes down to a technocracy controlling the quantity and quality of fertilisations in a clinical environment. In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, there is no privacy, family nor monogamy. Everyone belongs to everyone else. And instead of looking at the roots of one's unhappy alienation from the Creator and the creative forces of the universe, one need merely pop the narcotic soma, which distracts one with the illusion of feeling pleasured.

Artificial reproductive technologies aim to produce the same result as natural childbirth.

Artificial ways to produce fertilisation include intrauterine insemination, where sperm is technologically introduced into the uterus. Then there is in-vitro fertilisation (combining sperm and egg outside the body in a laboratory) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the former employed for female infertility, the latter mainly for male infertility. For those who like to exercise some control over what kind of human should be born, there is preimplantation genetic diagnosis - a genetic profiling of foetuses prior to implantation). Surrogacy is the use of one woman's womb to gestate someone else's baby. Whether voluntary or further vexed by commercial complication, it is an artificial substitute for natural gestation. Gamete donation, as the name suggests, is when somebody donates sperm or eggs for somebody else to have a baby. Because artificial reproductive technologies greatly increase the chance of multiple pregnancies, 'foetal reduction' is a euphemism for terminating the number of foetuses in a pregnancy, usually from 3, 4 or 5 to 2. It is a species of abortion. So we come full circle from attempting technologically to manipulate the genesis of life, to technologically entailing the destruction of life.

These artificial reproductive technologies are controversial in today's multifaith world.

The ways detailed above are controversial. A secular humanist may have no ethical issue with any of the cited methods. So too might Jews accept this litany of technologies, although some Orthodox Jews may demur here and there. Shi'a Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists would broadly consider these artificial reproductive technologies to be a positive thing, and give their approval. On the other hand, Shintoist Japanese culture and Confucianist and Taoist Chinese culture do not like surrogacy. Christians generally will say no to surrogacy, gamete donation and foetal reduction. Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics resist genetic profiling, although Protestants tend to favour in-vitro fertilisation. Practising Catholics resist the whole menu of artificial reproductive technologies. The traditional Christian mindset sees a problem when the sexual act is split off from the procreative act. It is then no longer about husband and wife birthing a child by giving themselves to each other in holy lovemaking, but becomes about medical technocrats controlling the origin and destiny of the human person. This is regarded as insufficiently respecting the dignity of the human person. For the ethicist, the fundamental consideration must be the significance and consequences of separating sex and procreation. Can the ends justify the means or must means and ends be more integrated? On the one hand splitting sex from procreation leads to the attempt to enjoy contraceptive sex without its leading to pregnancy. On the other hand the split leads to the use of artificial reproductive technologies.

Do sacred sex and clinical medical technocracy really produce the same result?

Interested reader, please turn that question over to your conscience. At the micro level, distinguish the environments and the receptacles in which the gametes come together. They can leap together joyously, as it were, as an expression of the intimate loving embrace of their donors, and of their donors' sex organs; or they can be somewhat forced to bind with each other under the power of laboratory instrumentation. It is possible to see violent rape taking place in the lab rather than in the bedroom. The clinical setting, too, is a loud demonstration that it is not God, but medical technocracy that has the ultimate power over life (and death); over the origin and destiny of human beings. I personally do not find that prospect attractive in the slightest! It is worth considering that God could be present microcosmically in the energetic field magnetising sperm and egg; and more macrocosmically present in the sanctified relations of husband and wife; that is, holy lovemaking. The natural way glorifies God as the author of life. If childbirth itself becomes too medicalised with intervention leading to intervention, and natural childbirth midwifery marginalised, this also reinforces the impression that clinical technocracy controls the gateway of life. It's a small step from there to affirm that it should be the arbiter of death too, in its many forms from abortion to euthanasia.

Brave New World and the City of Man

If the technocratic state made the baby, it logically should seek to dominate the raising and education of the child. Acquiescing to the first condition paves the way to acquiescing to the second. Instead of the parents being the agents primarily responsible for the education of their children, and able to delegate portions of their authority to educators of their choice that can help fortify their pro-family outlook, they essentially become onlookers who must not interfere with the educative agenda of the technocratic state. Instead of being traditionally accorded honour and respect by their children, parents can now expect antagonistic disengagement and judgment. Tradition, the wisdom of the past and of elders, become stumbling blocks to the evolution of the new, which the young feel pressured to pioneer. The disconnect from family, heritage and tradition exacerbates the modern psychological disease of alienation in the young, pushing them towards self-harm and suicide. It is an all-too-familiar pattern stemming from an ancient, all too-familiar conflict between those who follow the rules of the technocrats and those who follow the rules of the Creator as handed down to them. The City of Man versus the City of God.


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