“Ask a Priest: Will I Ever Get to Be With Siblings Who Died During IVF?”

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Q: I was conceived using in vitro fertilization. They used three embryos in the process, so I have two siblings who died. I don’t know what to do with all this. I miss them, if that even makes sense. I get what the Church teaches about life after death — we don’t know what happens to young children who die without baptism, and we just have to leave them to the mercy of God. I know that’s supposed to be enough for me, but it’s not. I know that whether they’re in heaven or in some kind of limbo should that exist, then they’re happy either way. I’m just scared I won’t get to be with them. -J.S.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your anguish points out one reason why in vitro fertilization is a very grievous offense against human life. It led to the destruction of innocent human lives. With good reason the Church condemns IVF.

But that doesn’t mean you will never see your siblings. The Church invites us to have confidence in God’s mercy for the children who are not baptized.

There are lots of reasons for hoping that they attain heaven, not least of which was Jesus’ tenderness for the little ones. “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).

You might want to read the International Theological Commission’s document on “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized”.

I hope this gives you hope of being united someday with your siblings in heaven.

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