President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center Discusses In-Vitro Fertilization
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by a sperm outside the body. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.
The Catholic Church teaches that procreation is a natural process that should take place within the context of marriage, and that any intervention should respect the dignity of the human person. IVF can involve the destruction of embryos, and may lead to the separation of parents and children.
In an interview with Catholic News Agency, Msgr. Charles Pope of the National Catholic Bioethics Center discussed these and other moral concerns with IVF.
Msgr. Pope’s Concerns
Msgr. Pope explained that the Church’s primary concern with IVF is that it “separates the procreative act from the marital act.” He said that IVF “treats the reproductive act as though it were a manufacturing process.”
He also noted that IVF may lead to the destruction of embryos, as well as the separation of parents and children. In some cases, embryos may be created solely for the purpose of research, which the Church opposes.
Alternatives to IVF
Msgr. Pope said that there are alternatives to IVF that respect the dignity of the human person. These include Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTECHNOLOGY) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
NaProTECHNOLOGY is a natural fertility method that uses a woman’s menstrual cycle to help her conceive. PGD is a method of testing embryos for genetic defects before they are implanted in the womb.
Msgr. Pope encouraged couples facing infertility to “avail themselves” of these and other methods that respect the dignity of the human person.