I read this article yesterday about a woman who is pregnant via in-vitro fertilization following a womb transplant. The article goes on to explain that 1 in 5,000 women is born without a uterus and that this procedure is being called a “medical miracle” (which, in and of itself seems an oxymoron, but more on that later).
I started to think about why I viewed this transplant as different than a heart or kidney transplant, as less of a miracle and more of a man-plays-God situation, and it comes down to this part of the article: “The baby is expected to be delivered by Caesarean. The womb will then be removed in the months after the birth to avoid further complications and the risk of rejection. Experts warn the pregnancy carries several health risks to the patient as well as to the baby. These include birth defects due to the use of immuno-suppressive drugs as well as premature delivery.”
The desire to have a baby is incredibly overwhelming for many women (perhaps the fact that I lack this desire is what prevents me from relating), but we seem to neglect the idea of natural selection. Perhaps nature has made certain women unable to have children (just as some men are sterile) for a reason. A vast number of the women in my own little corner of this earth have undergone successful C-sections (my own mother included), but there are still risks associated with it. But the fact that this woman and the doctors who will monitor this situation and carry out the associated procedures, are willing to put the baby at risk for birth defects as well as to remove that womb once the child is born makes me uncomfortable.
Several of my friends have gone through hell to be able to have their children, and I am sure they would defend this woman. But my question remains, at what point do we accept what nature has doled out? Are we making medical advances that could lead to weaknesses in our species? The idea of natural selection is to weed out the weaker members of the population to allow it to thrive. Are we interfering with that natural process and bringing people who have residual problems as a result? Are we thinning out the blood?
It’s difficult for some to view us as animals, as a species, thanks to our cognitive superiority and power of reason. And there are medical breakthroughs that one might compare to this and then ask me if we should just let certain people die if we follow the natural selection process. Perhaps preserving life versus creating life is where the line should be drawn.
People so often point to God as an explanation for why devastating things happen. But only when medicine can’t intervene. Perhaps that is the core of my argument. People will say “God works in mysterious ways” when something inexplicable or devastating happens (perhaps, again, nature and her natural selection have intervened), so why can’t those same people accept when God or nature has intervened with their ability to do something? In this case, it seems to go against God, nature, and reason to consider this situation as acceptable or viable. Just because something can be done doesn’t always mean it should.