The Truth About the IVF Needle Baby

Everybody loves pictures of adorable babies wrapped in blankets, sleeping peacefully, right? But not this picture—it should break our hearts, not melt them.

Life today on social media includes the phrase “X went viral.” The rapid sharing of images, videos, and phrases can spread ideas that shape our cultural imaginations in a way similar to how illnesses, such as the flu, can spread from one person to another with terrifying speed.

And like a disease, even a seemingly innocent image that goes “viral” can be harmful.

A very recent example is a picture of a baby wrapped in a rainbow-colored blanket surrounded by 1,616 hypodermic needles arranged in the shape of a heart. The photo was shared on social media by the child’s same-sex parents, Patricia and Kimberly O’Neill. The image, the couple said, “represent(ed) [their] journey,” which included “4 years, 7 [IVF] attempts, 3 miscarriages and 1,616 shots.”

The photo was uploaded to Facebook on August 10, and in just 10 days received 84,000 likes and 63,000 shares.

Of course, the most common response to the picture was “aww!” and a heart-shaped emoticon. But all the likes in the world cannot dispel the incredibly important ethical questions that are raised by the story behind the photo, ethical dilemmas we’ve not even fully acknowledged in our cultural moment, much less settled.

The first dilemma has to do with in-vitro fertilization itself. As we’ve said repeatedly on BreakPoint in recent months, there are significant moral questions raised by artificial reproductive technologies such as IVF. For example, the destruction of human life that is, in most cases at least, part of the process; the fate of nearly one million frozen “excess” embryos; the moral consequences of separating reproduction from sex. To pretend that IVF and other reproductive technologies are morally neutral is to ignore obvious realities.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera