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In Vitro Children and the Risks They Face
Zenit.org ^ | JUNE 6, 2004 | Interview With Neonatologist Carlo Bellieni

Posted on 01/12/2014 6:16:42 PM PST by Salvation

In Vitro Children and the Risks They Face

 

Interview With Neonatologist Carlo Bellieni

 

ROME, JUNE 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In vitro fertilization, a practice that entails high risks for the health of a child, reflects a trivialization of conception, warns a neonatologist.

In this interview with ZENIT, Dr. Carlo Bellieni, professor of neonatal therapy at the School of Pediatrics of the University of Siena, talks about the dangers of artificial procreation for the child conceived, as revealed in recent scientific studies. Accompanying his statements are key references to medical research.

Q: What are some factors in the in vitro fertilization debate?

Bellieni: Reflections on in vitro fertilization relate to two opposing factors: the safeguarding of the conceived embryo on one hand and the pressing request of some couples to have a child on the other.

Leaving to one side for the moment the fact that one can also have a child by adoption, it is strange that no thought is given to the fate of the children conceived in this manner [IVF], as though once the horror of spare embryos has been overcome, a child conceived in a test tube is comparable to one conceived normally.

Obviously, I am not referring to emotional differences: a child is always a child, regardless of the way he was conceived. However, we wish to consider if the risks of IVF are such as to impose at least some caution.

Q: What are the risks for children conceived in vitro?

Bellieni: Three studies on large numbers of children conceived in vitro were published in 2002 in prestigious international scientific journals and the conclusions are not at all comforting.

The conclusions verify that "Children who are underweight at birth run the risk of incapacity and death. The use of IVF implies an increase of children who are underweight at birth in the U.S. because it is associated with a high rate of twin births. Until 1997, IVF was the cause of 40% of triple births. Likewise, studies show that there are more underweight children at birth by IVF than in normal pregnancies" [Citation from Schieve, L.A. et al: "Low and Very Low Birth Weight in Infants Conceived with Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology," The New England Journal of Medicine, 2002; 346:731-737].

"Our study suggests that children born by IVF have an increased risk of developing cerebral problems, in particular cerebral paralysis" [Stromberg B. et al: "Neurological Sequelae in Children Born after In-Vitro Fertilization: A Population-Based Study," The Lancet, 2002; 359: 461-5].

"Children conceived with the use of 'Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection' (ICSI) or IVF run a double risk of presenting a greater defect at birth in relation to the general population" [Hansen, M. et al: "The Risk of Major Birth Defects After Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection and In Vitro Fertilization," The New England Journal of Medicine, 2002; 346 (10): 725-30)].

These studies were used in other pediatric journals that emphasized: "In February of 2002, a team of Uppsala, Sweden, referred to a retrospective work on 5,680 children born by IVF: it showed that in general, children born by IVF have greater need for rehabilitation centers in relation to the normal population and the risk (OR) of cerebral paralysis is 3.7. The greatest difference is observed among children of single birth, while the risk of those born as twins is similar to that of the normal population. In an Australian study, 8.6% of children born by IVF had greater defects at birth, double that of the control group" [Koren, G.: "Adverse Effects of Assisted Reproductive Technology and Pregnancy Outcome," Pediatric Research, 2002].

The risk of having a handicapped child by opting for IVF is 11% compared to 5% by normal conception [NN: "Neurological Sequelae and Major Birth Defects in Children Born after In Vitro Fertilization or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection," European Journal of Pediatrics, 2003; 162:64].

Multiple-births are one of the great risks of IVF and can cause premature birth [Greisen, G.: "Multifoetal Pregnancy and Prematurity: The Costs of Assisted Reproduction," Acta Paediatrica, 2002; 91:1449-50].

Now, these observations seems obvious to the neonatologist: Multifetal pregnancy and prematurity, though trivialized by the press, represent a great risk for the health of the child -- and of the mother.

But the new fact is this: including in the case of the conception of a single child, the rate of risk for his health, if born by in vitro fertilization, is greater than for the normal population. A recent analysis of 25 scientific studies published in the British Medical Journal concludes that single pregnancies from assisted reproduction have a significantly worse perinatal result in relation to the normal population, although it adds that in twin pregnancies, perinatal mortality is about 40% lower after IVF in comparison with natural conception (Frans M. Helmerhorst et al.: "Perinatal Outcome of Singletons and Twins After Assisted Conception" A Systematic Review of Controlled Studies," British Medical Journal, 2004; 328:261).

Q: Are there risks from the genetic point of view?

Bellieni: Certainly. The intracytoplasmic injection of spermatozoids can increase the risk of the deficit of the "imprinting" [Cox, G.F. et al.: "Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection May Increase the Risk of Imprinting Defects," American Journal of Human Genetics, 2002; 71:162-4]. Feindenberg and DeBaun of Johns Hopkins University were impressed by the fact that 4.6% of their patients with Wideman-Beckwitt syndrome had been conceived by IVF. [Usually] the illness is present in one newborn out of 15,000.

More recently, five Dutch children conceived by IVF have suffered retinoblastoma, a child cancer of the retina which appears in one newborn out of 17,000. Some researchers fear that to increase the duration of the incubation might prejudice the development, as observed in the study of rats. "We are using humans as guinea pigs," Kelle Moley suggested, who studies pre-implantation rat embryos at Washington University in St. Louis [Powell, K., "Seeds of Doubt," Nature, 2003; 422:656-9].

Q: And from the psychological point of view?

Bellieni: A recent book published by a famous French psychiatrist, Benoit Bayle, entitled "L'Embryon sur le Divan. Psychopathologie de la Conception Humaine" (The Embryo on the Couch. Psychopathology of Human Reproduction), makes one reflect on the long-term risks on the serenity of children born by in vitro fertilization. He speaks of "survivor's syndrome" for numerous children born by IVF.

This pathology, verified in the first place in survivors of concentration camps, is manifested with guilt feelings --"another died to let me live" -- or a sense of omnipotence -- "I succeeded because I am indestructible."

The child thinks that his parents have so wanted him to the point of sacrificing other children to have him. If he is alive, if he is chosen, is it not a sign that he is worth more than the others, that is, than those who did not survive?

The child subjected to the desires of others is an omnipotent child for whom it is perhaps difficult to set limits. His parents ... have done away with one or more "children," in the end because they so desired him, so that he could live. How much is he worth, then, for whom such a sacrifice was made?

Q: In face of such a complex picture, what conclusions can be drawn?

Bellieni: We can affirm that we are moving toward a worrying trivialization of conception. The methods used at present for IVF are not exempt of risks for the "nasciturus."

Prematurity and multiple-births induced by IVF are a risk. IVF itself is also a risk. Can it be used or should it be suspended until it is perfected?

The "Defender of Children" created by the French government has requested a moratorium on the ICSI technique, which is the most used, because of the risks it entails. The Minister of Health, François Mattei, has spoken against this "procreative fury," and the French National Consultative Ethics Committee is of the same opinion.

Q: Can one accept a risk for one's child, which in no way seems low, in order to satisfy one's own desire?

Bellieni: In vitro fertilization is a technique "in process." Spermatozoids that are often altered must be used, sometimes introducing them directly and integrally in the cytoplasm of the ovule cell, something which does not happen in nature.

One last question that many ask: In generating children with defective spermatozoids, do we not perhaps condemn the children themselves to have to take recourse in the future to artificial procreation, in the not improbable case that they inherit the same alteration of the paternal spermatozoids?



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; invitro; ivf
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Do the risks outweigh the advantages? Or does the desire for a child override ethics?
1 posted on 01/12/2014 6:16:42 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation

One of the major risks is the possibility of being raised by two homosexual men or two lesbian women. There is a lot of that going on.


2 posted on 01/12/2014 6:18:30 PM PST by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: Salvation

depends upon the interpretation of “people who live in glass houses”


3 posted on 01/12/2014 6:19:38 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: All
In Vitro Children and the Risks They Face
Pregnancy From Sperm Frozen 40 Years Ago Highlights Problems With IVF (with a twist)
Former IVF doc [Anthony Caruso]: my conversion began when confronted by a priest
Teacher says Catholic school fired her over IVF
Teacher Claims Catholic School Fired Her Over IVF
Pope says arrogance drives infertility field, tells couples to shun artificial procreation
Man Made Limbo (the consequences of IVF)

IVF babies ‘risk major diseases’
Polish Cardinal, Former Secretary to Pope JPII: Politicians, Like Pilate, Kill the Truth of the Life of the Unborn
Bishop criticizes reproductive technology’s ‘procreation without sex’
Dignitas Personae
Excommunication for deliberate embryo destruction?
Catholic School Teacher Fired for Having In Vitro
Vatican Summit Looks at Selecting Embryos
62-year-old Redding woman gives birth to 12th child
Actress Brooke Shields kills 140 of her very own Children by undergoing 7 IVF Treatments
Clinic Mix-Up Sparks Fears over IVF H

4 posted on 01/12/2014 6:21:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Jim from C-Town

Excellent point. That wasn’t mentioned in the article.


5 posted on 01/12/2014 6:22:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Any thoughts ping?


6 posted on 01/12/2014 6:24:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Risk of marrying or pro-creating with a half sibling....


7 posted on 01/12/2014 6:27:13 PM PST by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: Salvation

Contraception has trivialized sexual intercourse.

IVF has trivialized conception.

The culture of death has trivialized LIFE.


8 posted on 01/12/2014 6:29:06 PM PST by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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To: Salvation

I’ve never gotten this desire to make one’s own child if the apparatus given by God is not functional. Plenty of children need to be adopted, too. Total lack of faith, seems to me.


9 posted on 01/12/2014 6:29:27 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai; Salvation

By “never gotten”, I mean “never understood”, i.e. as exhibited by others.


10 posted on 01/12/2014 6:30:12 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai

Thank you for mentioning adoption.


11 posted on 01/12/2014 6:30:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: lightman

Sickening following of events, isn’t it?


12 posted on 01/12/2014 6:31:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

That’s especially important what with the left having their own upside-down versions of adoption.


13 posted on 01/12/2014 6:32:20 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: goodnesswins

I don’t know that much about this process, but I’m thinking that the donor remains anonymous. So your listed risk is another one to consider.


14 posted on 01/12/2014 6:32:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

IN GENERAL when using medical science to enable any good thing one has tried and failed to do by means of nature, it’s a blessing not a curse. I would not want to see attempts to fertilize multiple eggs at the same time because the question arises about what to do in case of multiple successes. Trying to bring them all to term would create a problem situation, as noted. But to fertilize one with “artificial” help and then try to implant it should not be a bad thing. What I see here is an attempt, in the name of specific theological objections, to tar the whole field indiscriminately. “Look at all the troubles associated with X” does not equate to “X is ipso facto bad.”


15 posted on 01/12/2014 6:35:01 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Olog-hai

I see “total” desire to smear what you don’t like.


16 posted on 01/12/2014 6:35:46 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Salvation

“In Vitro” ?
___________________________________________
I never gave it a thought, as it never applied to me.
I have one daughter, age 30, in the US, and one young son here in the Philippines.


17 posted on 01/12/2014 6:36:34 PM PST by AlexW
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Such as?

I hope nobody’s in here defending the leftist “version” of adoption, now.


18 posted on 01/12/2014 6:38:07 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Another scenario is that the childless couple adopt. Then, very often, they relax and are able to conceive. It’s happened innumerable times.


19 posted on 01/12/2014 6:40:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Olog-hai

Just your use of the word “total.” If you don’t want to get judged, don’t judge.


20 posted on 01/12/2014 6:40:12 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Olog-hai

Abortion vs. Adoption.

Abortion numbers are higher.


21 posted on 01/12/2014 6:40:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Desire overrides ethics if you’re Ted Bundy.

I must say, the world seemed to work a lot better when we didn’t have the technology to do this kind of stuff. People who could not have kids adopted and usually did a fine job raising kids who had lost their parents.

I mean, if we’re running the risk of defects to a human being because we’re starting the reproduction process in a wacky way, what are the ethical implications? Is that so different to someone doing something else that ups the chances of problems for the baby during their pregnancy?


22 posted on 01/12/2014 6:43:31 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: Salvation

To adopt is also a blessing. It shouldn’t be denigrated and I ask nobody to take that message away. Circumstances are so individual and to force an ipse dixit upon all marriages is not realistic. Otherwise why aren’t we guilt-tripping every possible couple to adopt and not to do the other thing? If it can be honestly said after honest consideration that it’s for the sake of God that a couple wants to pursue medical help to conceive, they should follow through — and that is not total lack of faith, it is quite the opposite.


23 posted on 01/12/2014 6:43:59 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

That’s not what Matthew 7:1 means.

And faith in man’s science can be equated with faith in God how?


24 posted on 01/12/2014 6:44:31 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai
Adoption Choice
25 posted on 01/12/2014 6:45:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Jim from C-Town

Yeah, that’s a good point. This opens the door to all sorts of nutjobs bringing children into the world to then damage them.


26 posted on 01/12/2014 6:47:14 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: Viennacon

**People who could not have kids adopted and usually did a fine job raising kids who had lost their parents.**

BTTT! May it happen again.


27 posted on 01/12/2014 6:47:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Yes, its not something I’m totally against. I think with the right restrictions and limitations in place, along with better understanding of genetics and how to avoid putting any potential child at risk of defects, this could be a wonderful technology. I would hope however, that adoption would remain preferable for most people in that situation. There are a lot of kids out there who need homes.


28 posted on 01/12/2014 6:49:21 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: Olog-hai; HiTech RedNeck

PS. I think that the story in Genesis of Abraham and Sarah’s quest to have a son is one that ought to be meditated on, especially in regards to the matters raised in this thread. The whole story. Including Ishmael.


29 posted on 01/12/2014 6:57:18 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai

Who, precisely, was Frankenstein?


30 posted on 01/12/2014 7:15:09 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Salvation

I am opposed to the process, but my niece was conceived via IVF and both her parents are her real parents- no donors used. Sometimes donors are needed but not always.


31 posted on 01/12/2014 7:15:33 PM PST by conservative cat
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To: Louis Foxwell

Victor or Frederick?


32 posted on 01/12/2014 7:20:02 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Salvation
Actress Brooke Shields kills 140 of her very own Children by undergoing 7 IVF Treatments
33 posted on 01/12/2014 7:25:33 PM PST by Coleus
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To: Salvation

Yes, most donors are anonymous, but when a relative of ours, between marriages, decided she wanted another baby...she went to OHSU, they gave her a big book, and she CHOSE the father like shopping....eye color, hair color, etc. The poor child she birthed now has no father and is likely a lost soul...I think OHSU has since quit doing this for SINGLE females. I was enraged when I heard about it. And, since she still lives in the area, she could run into a half sibling easily. At the time, I believe students donated sperm...and they could do it as often as they wanted.


34 posted on 01/12/2014 7:27:11 PM PST by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: Olog-hai

Really good point.


35 posted on 01/12/2014 7:34:07 PM PST by thecodont
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To: Salvation

The answer is adoption imo. If a couple does not want to adopt a child (when they can’t have their own in usual fashion), they probably would not make a very good parent to begin with.


36 posted on 01/12/2014 7:37:59 PM PST by mlizzy ("If people spent an hour a week in Eucharistic Adoration, abortion would be ended." --Mother Teresa)
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To: Salvation

I have a son who was IVF. He was ten pounds at birth (41 weeks) and is a healthy, strong and bright child. Perfectly normal in every way.

On the on the hand, I have a dear friend who had twins conceived IVF. One has medium Asperger’s Syndrome and the other was born with extreme mental retardation and is wheelchair bound with cerebral palsy. They were born prematurely at 26 weeks.


37 posted on 01/12/2014 7:43:22 PM PST by Buckeye Battle Cry (Audentis Fortuna Iuvat)
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To: Olog-hai

Freddie, of course. The story is predicated on the notion of creating a person in a laboratory. The attendant tragedy is the child’s pain knowing instinctively he is not fully human.


38 posted on 01/12/2014 7:44:09 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Salvation

What is “cerebral paralysis?”


39 posted on 01/12/2014 7:56:32 PM PST by Bon of Babble (Don't want to brag...but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school!!)
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To: Salvation

“Do the risks outweigh the advantages? Or does the (selfish)desire for a child override ethics?”

my emphasis with the parentheses...

A rhetorical question, I’m sure.


40 posted on 01/12/2014 8:55:27 PM PST by Blue Collar Christian (Vote Democrat. Once you're OK with killing babies the rest is easy. <BCC><)
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To: Buckeye Battle Cry

I have identical twins, so it was natural When I find out someone I know is undergong fertility treatments, I make sure theyunderstand that they are at risk for having multiples and how hard it is to have twins.

I was on complete bedrest for my twins. They were born healthy at 36 and a half weeks, but then they got sick at 6 weeks old and both almost died. One of them has a brain injury. She’s had a difficult time with speech, but with los of work she is now a junior in high school with straight As. My other daugther was doing great until 2 years ago. She was diagnosed with a movement disorder, dystonia. She was in a ventilator for a month when she was a baby, so I wonder if it affected her some way.

I had ine friend tell me the risks were small for her having twins, and I told her the risk for me was small. She had twins.


41 posted on 01/12/2014 10:07:20 PM PST by luckystarmom
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To: Salvation

I tend to think having other embryos get killed for me would bother me. At least I’d like to think so. And that’d be with my natural parents being involved. As noted, this stuff opens up the possibility for a lot of mischief.


42 posted on 01/12/2014 11:27:36 PM PST by RichInOC (2013-14 Tiber Swim Team)
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Drawbacks not mentioned:

Growing movement to identify sperm donors.

Two people with dubious ethics raising a child.

The danger of having a child with a half-sibling or other close relative is now minimized by the nationwide status of the cryobanks. They used to be local, but now the stuff is frozen and shipped by FedEx Overnight, so the chances are slimmer.

Adoption of older children is now more acceptable with the growth of Internet support groups. These people become very close through daily discussion of their shared problems. That is the real need: for older children to be given permanent homes, so they don’t have the sword of separation hanging over their head.


43 posted on 01/12/2014 11:57:31 PM PST by firebrand
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To: Salvation

As a father, I understand fully the desire to have a child. I also understand the arguments for and against IVF.

Regarding the article only, I saw most of the clinical risks not particularly significant, as I have had low birth weight children with no issue. However, it was disconcerting to see the retinal cancer and syndrome found in the Dutch study.

Generally speaking, I am against IVF because it creates and then destroys embryos. I don’t fault people for wanting to have their “own” children, but can’t support the process.


44 posted on 01/13/2014 5:57:58 AM PST by SpirituTuo
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To: Salvation

May it happen again.

((
I second that.


45 posted on 01/13/2014 7:02:16 AM PST by Bigg Red (Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.--Ps3)
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To: goodnesswins

Outrageous procedure.


46 posted on 01/13/2014 7:28:22 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Blue Collar Christian

Definitely.


47 posted on 01/13/2014 7:29:54 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: luckystarmom

Were these IVF babies?


48 posted on 01/13/2014 7:31:21 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: firebrand

Some good thoughts, thanks.


49 posted on 01/13/2014 7:32:38 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: mlizzy

The answer is adoption imo. If a couple does not want to adopt a child (when they can’t have their own in usual fashion), they probably would not make a very good parent to begin with.

<><><><><

Wow. That may be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read on this forum.

There is no logic therein whatsoever.

I have no IVF kids, for the record.


50 posted on 01/13/2014 11:29:14 AM PST by dmz
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