Cold Eggs / Warm Heart

children-are-the-ultimate-expressionHave you ever been to an egg-freezing party? They are all the rage in Silicon Valley, according to the blog,

At an egg-freezing party, a young woman can munch on hors d’oeuvres, sip wine and learn about a remarkable power never before available to the human race. She can learn about what is involved in preparing, harvesting and freezing some of her eggs for possible future fertilization with sperm from her husband or from some sperm donor.

Normally, about seven eggs would be fertilized for each attempt at a child and the less perfect of these newly-conceived human beings would be culled until there is one left, who would be implanted in the mom’s womb or in the womb of a paid surrogate mother. Although there are some risks from the drugs and surgery, freezing some of her eggs can give a young woman a remarkable sense of control over her fertility and her life. The storage facilities for frozen ova are called egg-banks, and so you could say that a young woman who submits to this procedure has eggs in the bank. She has, in effect, captured in ice the power to create life and she can pursue a high-octane career without worrying about her biological clock. It costs about $15,000 to prepare, harvest and freeze your eggs. Facebook and Apple now offer egg-freezing as a standard employee benefit.

Although egg-freezing parties are a brand new phenomenon in our brave, new world, they harken back, in a sense, to the original power-party in the Garden of Eden. Wine and hors d’oeuvres, as far as we know, were not served at the first power-party but the essential sales pitch was the same: “You will become like gods” (Genesis 3:5). The results are likely to be the same as well: alienation and death. The touch of death is evident in the six or so fertilized eggs, newly conceived human beings, who are culled. These are, in truth, tiny sons and daughters who are sacrificed to give power to the parent. Even the one lucky child that survives the culling process is treated like a thing rather than like a person. Conceived by workers in a laboratory rather than by his or her mom and dad in a loving embrace of marital love, the child is stuck with an origin suitable for a product not a person. Will the mom, who was convinced to act like a god with regard to this child, who countenanced the destruction of this child’s newly conceived brothers and sisters, who orchestrated and paid for this child’s creation, ever be able to have a normal, loving, respectful relationship with her product/person child? How attached will the father be to this laboratory-conceived child? Or will the father even know and be known?

The Catholic Church teaches that God has designed marital intercourse for two intertwined purposes, which cannot be removed from marriage, or pried apart from each other, without causing great harm: (1) the unity of husband and wife, and, (2) the bringing forth of children. A good thing in itself, the unity of the spouses in intercourse is also necessary to conceive children according to God’s design. But the unity of love between husband and wife is further required not merely to conceive children in the proper context but especially to give them the best chance to grow up in a community of love and to develop into responsible, intelligent and loving human beings. Thus the unity of the spouses serves the good of bringing forth and raising children. Children, on the other hand, are the ultimate expression of unity through the fruitful love of the parents. It is in their child that husband and wife become one flesh forever.

There is no doubt that career and life choices facing talented young women are complicated. Finding the right balance between work and family is difficult. New technologies, such as egg-freezing and in vitro fertilization, which seem to preserve options and increase control, are tempting. This temptation is compounded by the fact that we live in a society that tends to value things more than people and which encourages us to measure ourselves and others by the standards of money and power. But God has designed us so that we only find ourselves when we give ourselves like he does, for the good of others. We are made to love in union with God’s love. Finding the path of love and employing our talents for the sake of love is not easy. It requires trust and sacrifice. But it is ultimately fulfilling, enabling us to become the people God wants us to be. Freezing eggs or sperm is not consistent with his plan. Rather he calls each of us to entrust ourselves to him and to let him warm our hearts for his service.