Does God have anything to do with technology? Are we playing God with the advancements in technology? How far is too far? These are just a few of the questions asked in regards to things like IVF and stem cell research.
So what are these things and what does God have to do with them? First, I’ll go into what each of these things are. IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a process in which couples who aren’t able to conceive naturally are able to artificially conceive a child. Basically, what happens in this process is the sperm and eggs are harvested from the prospective mother and father. The eggs are then fertilized in a petree dish. When the fertilization has been completed the eggs are then implanted into the mother in the hopes of a successful pregnancy. Stem cell research is as it sounds, using stem cells to research things like treatments for diseases, drug efficacy and safety, and learning how diseases occur.
These things sound great, but what does God have to do with them? This is where the controversy is at. In IVF, couples who can’t conceive on their own naturally are able to conceive. This has resulted in thousands of births that may not have otherwise happened. But, what some people have the issue with is that when the eggs are fertilized, not all of them will be implanted in the mothers uterus. So what do they do with them? One of two main things happen. They are either stored for later use by another couple or they are used for stem cell research. Some Christians take issue with this because they can be used in stem cell research. However, the other main issue they have with IVF is that the leftover embryos are either frozen and forgotten or discarded as waste. For pro-life christians, this is destroying a human life.
Along those same lines runs stem cell research. These cells come in two different forms. The first is cells that are harvested from an adult that have already been assigned a specific job, such as heart stem cells. The second is embryonic stem cells. These are the most usable of the stem cells because they have not been given a specific role. They are harvested one of two ways. One way is through a newborn’s umbilical chord blood. The other is through an embryo. There have been no ways to harvest stem cells from an embryo without completely destroying it. This is where the issue lies with many christians.
Both of these procedures pose risk to unborn lives. However, they also can be very effective in saving or creating other lives. Stem cells have the potential to eradicate so many diseases, but using cells that already have assignments doesn’t always work. This puts pro-life people in a tough position. It makes me wonder, if God didn’t want us to use these methods, why would be have discovered them? Why would there be cures to diseases and ways to help couples conceive life if they weren’t meant to be used. Some say that using these methods puts us in a position to play God in picking and choosing who lives and who doesn’t.
These things are the reason why these methods are questioned. Personally, I haven’t come to a conclusion as to which side is morally right or what God would choose as I see both sides equally. There are both benefits and setbacks to both positions. However, these are both relatively new things and there is still a lot of research that needs to be done before any definitive decision can me made on my part. I would like to see an option that offers a middle ground. Whether or not that’s possible, I don’t know. God has allowed us to discover these the technology to do these things so I believe He will provide the technology that can keep both parties from having to sacrifice their lives.