SHG position on in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter (SHG) is guided by a profound respect for all human beings, irrespective of their age, size, potential, or “viability.” We consider every human being’s primary and fundamental right to life as the critical factor for evaluating the morality of IVF.
Since its inception in the 1970s, IVF has undeniably brought the blessing of children to many throughout the world. Nevertheless, SHG does not believe that these blessings simply outweigh the costs of IVF. It is well established that IVF imposes a host of indignities and grave dangers on human embryos. Among other things, IVF protocols subject the youngest members of our human family to:
Exploitation as disposable
• Laboratory discard of fresh embryos, when “not viable” or created in “excess”
• Patient discard of frozen embryos, when finished with IVF procedures
• Embryos are transferred, cryopreserved or discarded based on a subjective laboratory rating system (i.e., grading)
• Embryos are transferred, cryopreserved or discarded based on screening results for genetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities and/or sex selection
• Cell extraction for screening procedures
• Research, testing and training
• Risk at freeze, risk at thaw
• Technical malfunction
• Option to abort embryo(s) in multiple gestation pregnancies
Disposal as medical waste
We sincerely hope that knowledge of these indignities will encourage people of good-will to avoid IVF. We know our message may be difficult to hear, especially by those for whom IVF appears to be the only avenue for procreation. Still, we believe that in their hearts people crave the knowledge of what is true, good and just.
As the Position Pertains to Embryo Remains Burial
Our mission is to provide corporal and spiritual care for human embryos. One of the ways in which we do this is by providing burial for embryos who pass away prior to IVF transfer.
SHG’s embryo remains burial is not a “disposition option” for clinics or patients (i.e., it should not be listed alongside typical disposition options of: donate to another person, donate to research, thaw and discard). Rather this service provides an alternative to the practice of embryo disposal as medical waste. SHG’s burial services ensure respect for the embryo’s humanity and perpetual remembrance. SHG’s embryo remains burial should never be used as a factor in the decision to thaw or discard a human embryo.