Almost 600 childless couples took part in a three mile run in Draper Utah last weekend in an attempt to win the grand prize of one round of in vitro fertilization.
The Daily Mail is reporting that the run, called "Footsteps for Fertility" put the names of all of the couples into a raffle and selected a winner at the end of the race. Each registration packet for the race contained a raffle ticket upon which one couples' name could be entered. A couple's chance of winning was enhanced by how many family, friends and co-workers agreed to run on their behalf.
A local fertility center donated the procedure, which can cost as much as $10,000.
Liz Aragon, a contender in the race who has been trying to get pregnant for 10 years, is an excellent example of how reproductive technologies such as IVF blur the meaning of reproduction from acceptance of a gift from God to a commodity.
"Somebody very deserving is going to win today, no matter who wins, everyone deserves a chance to have a baby," Aragon told Fox 13 News.
As explained in Donum Vitae, an instruction on respect for human life in its origin and on the dignity of procreation which was issued in 1987 by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a child is not an "entitlement." It's not a matter of deserving anything, it's about acceptance of God's will and His perfect plan for our lives. A baby is a gift from God, which is why the Church unequivocally condemns all procedures such as IVF that generate a human life by substituting a reproductive technique for the conjugal act.
Dr. Anthony Caruso, who practiced IVF for nearly 15 years before reading Donum Vitae and realizing how wrong it was, said couples who use IVF and other reproductive technologies inevitably begin to think this way and see babies more as a commodity than a person and a gift from God.
"One of the basic purposes of marriage is blurred with IVF," Dr. Caruso says. "Children as gifts from God have become desires and pawns in the life process."
Using these techniques to "make a baby" just to satisfy the desires of others, however noble those desires might be, is gravely immoral because, as Donum Vitae explains, it treats the child as a product subject to quality controls and deems it disposable if it does not measure up to arbitrary standards. This mentality has led to the destruction of millions of embryos in fertility clinics every year.
Such a distorted view of life results in events such as the Footsteps for Fertility which, in essence, auctions off a baby to a childless couple.
The winners of the Utah race were Brian and Ramsi Stoker who had 90 friends running for them. The Stokers had tried already tried insemination and a round of IVF in the four years since they began trying to become pregnant.
Mrs Stoker said: "We had five good years just as a couple and loved every second of it. And then we realized we were ready for the next step and we really thought that the second that we stopped preventing it, it would happen."
Now they're hoping another round of IVF will give them the baby they so desperately want, but theirs is a precarious joy.
As one participant so aptly described before the raffle, "One person wins and everyone else is destroyed."
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