The Catholic Church vs Fertility Treatments

Reiterating its longstanding ban on using assisted reproduction techniques like IVF and artificial insemination, this week the Catholic Church told its parishioners to avoid fertility treatments like IVF and artificial insemination, insisting that sex between a husband and wife is the only> proper way for human beings to reproduce.

The USA Today has the story:

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged infertile couples to shun artificial procreation, decrying such methods as a form of arrogance.

Speaking at the end of a three-day Vatican conference on diagnosing and treating infertility, Benedict also reiterated church teaching that marriage is the only permissible place to conceive children. Matrimony “constitutes the only ‘place’ worthy of the call to existence of a new human being,” he said.
The pope pressed the church ban against artificial procreation, saying infertile couples should refrain from any method to try to conceive other than sex between husband and wife.

Pope Benedict bans fertility treatments like IVF and artificial insemination

Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with many Catholics, who see the pronouncement as oblivious to the problems faced by infertile men and women, and just plain inhumane to those who need fertility treatments to have children:

The Pope has been attacked as archaic and out of touch after urging infertile couples to shun IVF and insisting sex between a husband and wife was the only acceptable way of conceiving.

Melinda Roberts, mother of Thomas, 3, and Matthew, 7 months, said Pope Benedict XVI’s words angered her.

“Both of my children were conceived through IVF, and every day my husband and I are eternally grateful for the assistance,” the Glen Waverley mum said.

Monash IVF director Professor Gab Kovacs said the Pope was out of touch, and “most … in his congregation take no notice of him”.

Many Catholic couples sought fertility treatment, allowing themselves to be dictated by their consciences and what was right, rather than the church, Prof Kovacs said.

He said the Catholic Church had not changed its stance since the beginning of reproductive medicine in the 1970s.

But the church did say that medical research on infertility was acceptable, presumably as long as the research focuses on preventing infertility:

In 2008, the Catholic Church banned modern reproductive technologies including in vitro fertilization, arguing it was just as wrong as destroying embryos for stem cell research.

“The desire for a child cannot justify the production of offspring, just as the desire not to have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived,”

Vatican officials wrote at the time.

On Saturday, the Pope did offer hope for couples who are struggling to become parents: He said the church encourages medical research on infertility.

What do you think about the Pope’s pronouncement? Would it prevent you from having children using fertility treatments?

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