Earlier this year the Supreme Court overturned the infamous Roe v. Wade abortion case. This was exciting news for Christians who recognize the sanctity of human life—and realize that life begins at conception and not at birth.

Consider the following Scriptures that clearly demonstrate God views life to begin before birth:

Isaiah 49: 1,5
Jeremiah 1:5
Psalm 139:13-14
Job 3:13-16
Luke 1:41-44

For decades Christians have been on the frontline in the abortion debate—fighting for the lives of the unborn.

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the church needs to have a serious conversation about two other areas that endanger life: post-conception birth control measures and in vitro fertilization (ivf) procedures.

It’s hypocritical for us to champion for the unborn for decades and then remain eerily silent when it comes to these more controversial areas. If we are going to fight for life then we should be courageous enough to fight for all life.

Birth control: pre-conception vs. post-conception

Preconception birth control is exactly what it sounds like: birth control that prevents this full compliment of chromosomes from coming together. As a result, an embryo/baby does not result. Notice this: preconception birth control does not involve the destruction of human life because life was never formed.

Preconception birth control methods would include barrier type methods such as:

• Condoms

• Diaphragms

• Rhythm or “family Planning” Method

• Spermicide Foam

Given that these methods prevent sperm and egg from coming together, we can safely say that these methods do not destroy human life.

But what about postconception birth control? Any method that acts on an already fertilized embryo is considered a postconception form of birth control. These methods oftentimes interfere with the embryo’s ability to implant in the womb. The best example of a postconception birth control is an IUD (intrauterine device). Shaped like a “T” this tiny device is placed inside the woman’s uterus to prevent the embryo from implanting.

Once again, rather than relying on emotion or “what my mother did” Christians should boldly ask: What would God have me do?

In order to answer that question, we must fully understand when life begins. In the previous chapter we covered this in detail, so we will not go through every single passage. I will copy those passages here so that you can reference them once again and recall to memory when God views life to begin.

In Vitro Fertilization

Likewise, in vitro fertilization often results in extra embryos being destroyed or donated to research—in which case they are also destroyed. In vitro comes from the Latin term meaning “in glass.” IVF takes multiple eggs from a woman and sperm from a man and combines them “in glass” to ensure fertilization takes place.

In some procedures, sperm are actually injected directly into the egg cell. So, while IVF is often considered a more effective form of assisted reproductive technology, it comes with more ethical problems and extremely high cost.

The first step in IVF is to collect eggs. This step requires multiple medications:

• Medications to stimulate the ovaries

• Medications for oocyte maturation—to help the eggs mature

• Medications to prevent premature ovulation—to make sure eggs are not released too soon

• Medications to prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation

Because this procedure is complex and highly technical (and expensive) it is normally performed only one time. As such, clinicians will usually select 12-15 healthy eggs, and then fertilize them all overnight. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure where a single healthy sperm is injected directly into each mature egg, is often used when semen quality or number is a problem (or if fertilization attempts during prior IVF cycles failed). And after fertilization has taken place, the embryo is transferred (usually 2-5 days after the eggs have been collected) back into the woman in hopes that it will implant or the embryos are frozen in liquid nitrogen.

To increase the odds of a pregnancy, most fertility clinics implant multiple embryos. Remember, fertility clinics are normally judged/ranked by their success rates. In 1998, the CDC reported that, on average, physicians implanted 3.7 embryos into women, hoping to increase their odds of success. This is one reason multiple births are so common with fertility treatments.

If all of this is sounding complex and expensive, it is. In fact, the average cost for a single cycle of IVF is expensive—often costing more than $10,000-15,000. Plus, this price does not include the medications, which normally run anywhere from $1,500-3,000 per cycle. (Many couples find themselves taking out second mortgages or loans from family members to help pay for the costs.)

But, go back and look at those numbers more closely. I said normally 12-15 eggs are collected and fertilized, but only 2-3 are implanted. That means there are usually 10-12 living embryos leftover. What happens to those tiny babies? Most often they are plunged into liquid-nitrogen and stored frozen. If the couple wants to try again, then they are thawed out and three are used for implantation.

But again, this is not without expense. Every year that the embryos are stored in a liquid-nitrogen canister, they are paying storage fees. So, the number of frozen embryos continues to climb. Nearly 400,000 embryos have been frozen and stored since the late 1970s. Of those 400,000, 2.8 percent (about 11,000) have been donated to research (and killed). As Christians we must ask ourselves: What about the left-overs?

To truly comprehend this 400,000 number, consider that the initial blast from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 80,000. An additional 20,000-50,000 perished from damage caused by the radiation. Imagine for just a moment the devastation of four bombs, each killing 100,000 people. That is how many babies are currently being stored across our nation today.

Several years ago, I received a call from an elder. He was counseling with a couple who found themselves in this situation. They had leftover embryos and had been paying an annual storage fee. But they had reached the point where they felt their family was complete and they were tired of paying this fee. The elder was asking if I thought it would be okay if the embryos were thawed out and discarded.

Friends, hopefully I do not have to remind you that it is not acceptable to kill human life! But sadly, the intense drive to bear children and the tears that freely flow from infertility often overshadow what is ethically right and wrong. Christians who are vehemently opposed to abortion think nothing of “disposing” of embryos that were created using IVF techniques. Sadly, many grandparents support their actions because of their passionate desire to have grandchildren.

It’s time we have this conversation. It’s time we educate our members. It’s time preachers and elders educate themselves and the members of their flock.

Just because the world offers something does not mean it is morally (or ethically) acceptable. Christians must be trained to look past the pretty bows and glitzy wrapping paper, and examine what they are really packaging. Is it truly in line with God’s will?

We fought loud and long to overturn the abortion law. Will we fight as long and loud for these other situations that result in the death of precious unborn children?