By John-Henry Westen
CHICAGO, February 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Quebec singing superstar Celine Dion admitted on the Oprah Winfrey Show Febrary 10 that she has undergone four unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF). Since the procedure requires at minimum one embryonic child to be implanted, at least four of her children created by IVF have died. One of those children survived the transfer from the frozen state but was miscarried in 2009.
In 2001, Dion who was raised Catholic, acknowledged that her frozen embryos were indeed her children. “This frozen embryo that is in New York is my child waiting to be brought to life,” she said at the time.
At the first announcement of Dion’s pregnancy with IVF in 2000, pro-life leaders wondered if Dion had been informed that the procedure would necessarily cost the lives of some of the children created in the process.
While this aspect of the pro-life teaching of the Catholic faith may be difficult for the singer, Dion, by her own testimony owes her very life to that teaching. Dion was the fourteenth child in her family and her mother was convinced against getting an abortion by a Catholic priest. Describing the incident in a 2001 interview with London celebrity magazine Hello!, Dion said: “He told her that she had no right to go against nature. So I have to admit that in a way, I owe my life to that priest.”
While the teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and has been stated by recent popes, bishops, particularly those in North America, have seldom addressed the issue. American Life League President Judie Brown relates in her book – Saving Those Damned Catholics – that while it is official Church teaching, most Catholics in North America have no clue that artificial procreation is considered immoral, and priests regularly counsel couples that IVF is acceptable.
In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI reiterated the teaching of the Church on the matter, stating that IVF and its related practices of “the freezing of human embryos, embryonal reduction, pre-implantation diagnosis, stem cell research and attempts at human cloning” all “clearly show how, with artificial insemination outside the body, the barrier protecting human dignity has been broken.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the Church’s teaching against IVF (CCC 2377), noting that God intended the child to be brought into the world by the act of love between husband and wife. Placing the child’s creation in the hands of technology with IVF, it suggests goes against human dignity.
Dion, the best selling Canadian recording artist of all time, has a special place in the hearts of many Canadians. Jim Hughes National President of Campaign Life Coalition Canada says he had hoped that Dion may yet have children with the aid of NaProTechnology, a revolutionary method to treat infertility naturally which has been shown to be more successful than IVF.
NPT, Hughes told LifeSiteNews, “will not only aid her to conceive naturally, if that’s what God wants for her, but it will not cost her the lives of her children or a break with her faith.”
Dion’s openness to her faith remains strong. In the Oprah interview she referenced her faith saying: “I think God has given me something to work with, a voice, and I'm just trying to serve the lyrics and the music to get messages through.”