It has been many months, many doctors, many dollars. We weigh each procedure carefully, as it is more invasive, more costly, more personal than the last.
And sometimes we wonder…if we are playing God.
Plenty of people might say we are playing God because we are manipulating life. Some people are very uncomfortable when you start talking about embryos because usually the only time that word comes up, it’s accompanied by “stem cell research.” Issues of life are big topics. And the closer you get to merging the sanctity of life with the cold march of science, the more ethics are brought into question. “In vitro” just has that ring of “Brave New World,” doesn’t it?
Yes, for a myriad of reasons, there are still a few areas of medical science that are still taboo, a little frightening. We don’t know if we’ve somehow crossed a line.
But here’s the thing. As my wife and I continue to trudge onward through infertility, we have learned a lot about what it means to manipulate science, create life and, yes, “play God.”
The Sanctity of Life
The “sanctity of life” is a big catch-all in American politics.
A lot of times, that phrase is used by anti-euthanasia people. Or pro-lifers. Or anti-death-penalty-ers. Because, you know, life is sacred and precious. Life is God’s domain, not ours.
The thing is, I agree with that. I do believe life is sacred. I do believe life is precious. That belief was fundamental to us before we started and it is even more important now.
In fact, infertility has shown me just how precious life truly is.
I believe that life is sacred and precious enough that I’m willing to do something difficult to bring a new life into existence. Most people just have life springing from their bodies, but a few of us have to work for it. And I don’t think we would have put ourselves through this much stress, loss, pain and sickness if we didn’t believe life was precious and worth fighting for.
Yes, we do not only believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn, but even the life of the unconceived.
You Can Lead a Sperm to An Egg…
So what are infertile couples doing when we are “playing God?”
A lot of us are taking hormones or other medications. Some are trying do “artificially” what is supposed to happen naturally, through artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. We are eliminating a few more variables, trying to get that sperm a little closer to the egg. We’re trying to make the room for error a bit smaller…
But you know what?
You can lead a sperm to an egg. But you can’t make it fertilize.
And you can’t make that fertilized egg implant itself in a uterus.
And you can’t force the uterus to hold that egg there as it grows for nine months.
The hormones, treatments and procedures can encourage all of these things to happen. But there are no guarantees.
Do you see my point? For all of our science, for all our miraculous medical advances, there is still a heavy element of mystery. (And isn’t that the case in all medicine?) The fundamental things that make life happen are still out of our control. And I suspect they always will be.
As my wife and I have gone through this journey, we have not stopped praying. We have not left God behind. We are just as convinced as ever that God, not our doctors, not our money, but God will give us a baby, or not, as He sees fit.
He’s Playing God – Isn’t That Cute?
When you were a kid, did you ever play “doctor?”
Or did you play “house?” Or maybe you played “teacher.”
You probably played something that had to do with an adult profession. Maybe you had a little doctor kit or a baby doll or something like that and the adults thought you were cute as you tapped their knees with your doctor hammer and listened to hearts through a plastic stethoscope.
They thought you were cute. But a child is not a doctor. A child can create no medical result from plastic toys.
And this is what I’ve concluded. That our ability to “play God” is analogous to a child playing “doctor.” We can, at best, tinker around the edges. We can eliminate some variables.
But God is still in control. He is still sovereign. He still has the whole world in His hands.
He is still…God.
And nothing will change that. We will not take God’s responsibility away from Him. We will not strip Him of any credit He deserves. God still cures people of cancer (and sometimes does not) and still gives couples children (or not.)
And if we truly try to take God’s job from Him, we are merely delusional.
What do you think? Are there things we can do that take away God’s responsibility? Or are we merely tinkering around the edges of God’s ultimate sovereignty?