Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

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Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby Estelle » Mon May 26, 2008 8:59 am

The attitude of the Catholic Church is that parents who use IVF treat the child as a possession to be got rid of when the child does not suit them any more.

Vatican http://catholicinsight.com/online/churc ... _476.shtml

What is the Catholic position on In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
By Insight Staff
Issue: October 2002

VATICAN DOCUMENTS: In-Vitro Fertilization

Answer: In IVF, a fertilizable ovum is removed from a woman's ovary and put in a petri dish (the Latin for dish is vitrum) to which a few concentrated drops of sperm are added. On the third or fourth day the fertilized ovum is put in the woman's womb. Only a small percentage of fertilized ova result in a child being born. The other children are lost or killed.

The instances of infertility can be increased by previous venereal disease, late childbearing, the previous use of intra-uterine devices, irreversible tubal ligation, and previous abortion, for all of which a woman might be responsible. IVF also is expensive.

No person and no couple has a right to a child.

A child is a person with rights; it is not merely an object, a possession.

A doctor treats disease; he should not do what is over and above the goal of health. He is allowed to treat a woman for a condition causing infertility, but not to "manufacture" her child. And medical treatment of the woman is often more successful than IVF in overcoming infertility.

Other considerations are that

(1) in IVF, imperfect sperm are not screened out as they are in natural conception,

(2) imperfect or supernumerary foetuses are often killed,

(3) more children are born prematurely, with problems resulting from this;

(4) medical problems for a woman can occur in IVF more than in natural pregnancy; and

(5) the whole process is a degradation of parenthood, which should begin with an intimate and profoundly personal expression of love.

Sometimes the ova that are put in the petri dish come not from a man's wife but from another woman, or the sperm fertilizing his wife's ova come from another man. This can easily result in psychological and legal problems, and certainly results in a moral one.

Questons: What is the status of this teaching?

Answer: For the reasons given, the Church considers IVF to be mortally sinful. Indeed, one of these reasons is sufficient of itself to outlaw the practice: the degrading of the two-in-one-flesh unity of parents by deflating the importance of the flesh as a vehicle of love in the formation of new life.

This is true even if the ovum and sperm come from a husband and wife. How much more so, then, if this is not the case?

Questons: What is the basic text?

Answer: Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, by the Congregation of the Faith, Feb. 22, 1987.

L.K.

┬® Copyright 1997-2006 Catholic Insight

http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/may/sweeney.htm

The Infertile Couple

The desire to have a child runs deep in the human heart. The suffering of infertility should not be minimized. Yet there is more to this question than desire. Precisely because it is such a serious question, one needs to examine the situation from all sides. For a moral evaluation, it is necessary to look at what the moral subject is choosing to do to realize his desire. A couple who takes the position that they will do anything to have a child, expresses a willfulness and possessiveness over the child's existence. A married couple cannot say they have a right to a child.

A child is not a piece of property to be possessed by the parents.

A child is a human person of equal dignity to the parents and cannot be considered as an object to be desired and possessed. Rather, a couple needs to see the child as a gift and welcome him as a blessing, the fruit of the love they offer each other in the conjugal act. The conjugal act expresses the nuptial meaning of the sexual body, the self-gift of husband and wife to each other. It is not an act of "making a baby." The moral distinction between making and doing is important here. Making is a transitive act that focuses on the quality of the product, with the presupposition that one can discard what does not measure up to one's intent. Doing is an immanent act; the result of the action remains in the doer such that doing a good action perfects the doer who becomes a good person.[5] In the marital act, the couple love each other and become lovers; they are not making an object. The marital total self-giving capacitates the couple for procreation but does not give them the right to demand a child.

The husband and wife are personal subjects whose actions have moral content and affect not only external situations but also their own internal being. Let us look at a particular case in which the couple have the best intentions and are trying to be as ethical as possible while resorting to IVF. Tom and Karen O'Meara are Catholics and know the Church does not approve IVF, yet when all else failed, accept the suggestion to try it. [6] The treatment resulted in 18 embryos, of which three were implanted in Karen's uterus and 15 were kept frozen (cyropreserved). Karen gave birth to healthy twins. A year later, another embryo was implanted and Karen gave birth to the child. Then a year later, three embryos were implanted and one child was born. This was an unusually high rate of successful pregnancy and birth. However, with four children under the age of five, the O'Meara's were still faced with the predicament of 11 frozen embryos which they considered human life to be preserved. Should they take the risk of further pregnancies when Karen was in her late thirties? Should they offer the embryos to another infertile couple? Or would they have to destroy these embryonic children of theirs? The latter seemed intolerably wrong to them. The alternative of offering them for research or experimentation was even more unsettling. They did not feel comfortable asking their parish priest about this ethical dilemma for they had told no one in their parish or in their family about the circumstances of their children's births. They were upset that the physicians of the clinic had not told them clearly of the long-range consequences of the treatment. They consulted with an expert in medical ethics but this left them no clearer about what to do and more conscious of the tragic dimensions of their choice of IVF treatment. Even with an exceptionally successful treatment, only four of 18 embryos lived to be born, three died in utero and the other 11embryos may die the undignified death of a frozen or thawed embryo. The O'Mearas were more conscientious than some couples, yet they have participated in purposely bringing into life 14 embryonic children whom they cannot protect from dying. They have separated themselves from their spiritual community. They have achieved their original goal but now are desperately conflicted. What has brought them to this impasse?

There are several assumptions and attitudes that contribute to the decision of a couple such as the O'Mearas to choose IVF treatment. One of these is an instrumental sense of the body and of one's sexuality. Sexuality, in this understanding, is used for a purpose rather than considered as a constituent part of a person that expresses one's humanity. A dualistic understanding of one's sexual biology as something that can be separated from one's human and spiritual life leads to separating the human good of the marital act from the human good of procreation. The capacity for motherhood and fatherhood is intrinsic to marital intercourse and not something to be manufactured and controlled outside of the marital act. Human persons are incarnated spiritual beings whose physical acts express their humanity. We cannot separate our intellectual intentions from our physical acts. It is interesting that those who dissent from the Vatican's teaching on IVF use the same arguments as those used against Humanae Vitae. They appeal to "pre-moral" goods as though a person's "biological act" did not have moral meaning and only the "total marital relationship" has meaning. However, every act by a human person is a human act and therefore a moral act with meaning. The act of marital intercourse is one of the deepest and most meaningful of human acts because of its participation in God's creation and love.

Since contraception became socially accepted, our society has communicated the assumption that procreation is totally controlled by man, a choice effected by external medical-technical input. The domination of scientific manipulation of nature has created the illusion that human procreation can be approached in the same manner as reproduction in plants and other animals. This fails to recognize the special nature of transmission of human life deriving from the special nature of human persons.[7]

Couples who resort to IVF fail to respect procreation as a collaboration with God who is intimately involved with the origin in life of every human person.

"The origin of a human person, as a matter of fact, is not some kind of chance biological happening, but is the result of a creative act, that is, a deliberate and free choice on the part of God to do something He is no way obliged to do.... The act of creation is, to the contrary, the fruit of a love which in God is therefore free and gratuitous in a sovereign way unique to Him. Also, therefore, the human act of procreation...must proceed from this same kind of source, an act of love."[8]

This reality of co-creation with God indicates a much deeper spiritual responsibility than an instrumental-technical approach to procreation. We are created in the image of God. God has designed the human male and female to procreate within the free act of self-giving love of a husband and wife who recognize God's creative act in bringing to life a child as a fruit of their love– that a child is a gift from the hand of God. The unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act, therefore, may not be separated. Some who dissent from Donum Vitae think the temporal delay between intercourse and conception justify externalizing the process. But the connection is causal, not temporal, and properly internal to the marital act.

Couples do not have the right to involve third parties in an external construction of their parenthood which is their responsibility and privilege alone, a capacity internal to marriage. In the external process of IVF, the origin of the child loses its direct connection with the love of the parents and the love of God. The medical-technical team "makes" the embryo and has control over it. This severs the couple's subordination and obedience to God and introduces the problem of man alone as master, rather than collaborator with God. The reality of the human person is that he is not the Creator, but a servant of God called to gratitude for His gifts. The couple cannot demand this gift but are called to wait upon God's initiative. If their infertility cannot be healed, the couple who seek to act in conformity with the dignity of their spiritual being can consider spiritual parenting or the possibility of adopting children who need a home. Insisting on their biological parenthood as though it were separate from their physical reality and their relationship with God is an expression of self-centered willfulness, although the couple may not have reflected sufficiently to realize this. These moral and spiritual realities need to be communicated, not in order to pass judgement on particular couples, but to help them avoid tragic consequences they will later regret.

The Child

The IVF process actually results in a "dilution of parenthood," according to an analysis by Donald DeMarco.[9] When their baby is a freeze-dried embryo, parents lose the ability to think of themselves as the mother and father of their embryonic children, and thereby lose the ability to act responsibly toward them. They come to think of these embryos as a possession, not as persons with rights equal to their own. The case of Davis v. Davis in Tennessee in 1992 is revealing in this respect. The Davis couple were divorced parents of seven frozen embryos. The wife-mother wanted to preserve their life and donate them to another couple. The husband-father wanted them destroyed. The final decision handed down by the Tennessee Supreme Court was that the embryos could be destroyed: the parents were called "gamete providers" who were "not yet parents." The father's desire to destroy life overrode the mother's desire to protect life because the "party wishing to avoid parenthood should prevail over the other party who had a reasonable possibility of achieving parenthood by means other than the use of the pre-embryos in question."[10] It is instructive to note the terminology which speaks of "achieving parenthood," by "gamete providers" and "the use" of "pre-embryos." These terms depersonalize parenthood, see the children as objects of use, and speak of procreation as an achievement. What does this do to the child? Most obviously it refuses legal status to embryonic children. Further, it assumes that a court can decide when someone becomes a human person with his own inherent rights.

Such decisions flagrantly ignore what we know about the human embryo: a self-organizing, self-directing living organism whose 46 chromosomes determine his human nature and whose genetic make-up is that of a unique individual. This is a living human subject whose "I" will be the same throughout his life from conception until death. To have a human nature and be alive necessarily means to have a human soul. This human body-soul person has a spiritual destiny that transcends the universe, the capacity to know and love God and be with Him eternally. As a human person, he is an end in himself, an inviolable and autonomous subject demanding respect from all others. [11]

The IVF process turns this human subject into an object manufactured out of the raw materials provided by a couple. The child is subjected to quality controls by technicians, the arbitrary decisions of others. He is made subordinate in value to his producers. He experiences the "same degree of domination as used to produce fruit flies and clone mice."[12] This is inappropriate to the child's worth and dignity. It is, according to Donum Vitae "a dynamic of violence and domination."

IVF makes this violence possible because the embryo comes to be outside of a mother's womb and protection. Even though it is true that embryos die as well in natural miscarriage, this is not a death brought about by human intervention. John Fleming has asserted that IVF is morally worse than abortion because in the case of abortion a woman did not get pregnant in order to abort, whereas in IVF embryos are purposely brought into life knowing the majority will be destroyed by human causality. [13] The attempt to preserve their life through freezing is wrong as well because, as Joseph Boyle has pointed out, there is grave risk of bodily harm and death, the possibility of manipulation and offense, and deprivation of maternal shelter and gestation. [14] It is difficult for scientific intervention to avoid manipulating or modifying whatever it touches. For example, when conception of a child happens within the absolute darkness of the mother's body, no light can affect his beginning. But the scientist must use light to some degree to see what he is doing, does he not? How can this not modify the embryo's existence?

It is critical to the child that he be directly the fruit of his parents' love, not an object manufactured to satisfy their desire. He is a person equal in dignity to them and should not be placed in a position of manipulation for their sake. "Only if conception is the fruit of human love and not of a deterministic technique" will the human being attain liberty, free from biotechnical influence." [15] The child must be able to know that he is directly willed and created by God so that he can turn to Him in gratitude for his existence. It is this reality that gives the child freedom and inviolable dignity. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, has shown us what human nature is and to what destiny each human person is called. He revealed to us that He and the Father are of the same Substance, equal in nature and dignity, yet distinct as Persons. The Father begets the Son, He does not create Him. The language of generation, conception and birth are used in Scripture to indicate the similarity between the human family and the Trinity. Human parenthood mirrors the divine relationships of begetting in self-giving love. Each human child is begotten of human parents and created by God as a unique, unrepeatable body-spirit person, in the image of God. One must truly stand in awe before such a reality.

IVF, however, submits the child to a secular governance of his identity. His personhood is decided by arbitrary criteria determined by others. These may be biological, psychological or sociological criteria. The necessity of seeing a neural streak, for example, assumes that a visible nervous system must begin to form before the embryo is declared a person. Some make a decision based on the prediction of a certain quality of life for the child. Any of the many varied criteria depend on a subjective dominance of a strong adult over a weak and dependent child. But human identity needs to be "above all the systems," otherwise the person enters into a "master-slave dialectic," as Dr. Stanislaw Grygiel has said. [16]
Last edited by Estelle on Mon May 26, 2008 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ATTITUDE OF CATHOLIC CHURCH

Postby csiturkey » Mon May 26, 2008 9:11 am

The catholic religion worries me. My husbands boss is catholic and all his children were born via IVF yet they all attend mass every sunday and do the whole communion thing.

Why have these rules if you don't have to follow them?
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Re: ATTITUDE OF CATHOLIC CHURCH

Postby Estelle » Mon May 26, 2008 9:14 am

csiturkey wrote:The catholic religion worries me. My husbands boss is catholic and all his children were born via IVF yet they all attend mass every sunday and do the whole communion thing.

Why have these rules if you don't have to follow them?


Yes. Why? My concern is that the Catholic Church believes that the parents then treat the child as if it were a possession which they can get rid of when it takes their fancy.
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Re: Maddie was a possession not a loved child

Postby Estelle » Mon May 26, 2008 10:25 am

This is not what I think but it is the view of the Catholic Church:

"IVF is another sad result of the contraception mentality, also known as "entitlement."

Since people have found it fine to seek unity at the expense of procreation (contraception) they have also found it fine to seek procreation at the expense of unity (IVF). The Church teaches that procreation is primary and unity flows secondary from that.

I have struggled with infertility. None of us is entitled to have babies. I have personally watched numerous marriages fall apart as they spent thousands of dollars for their "right" to have a baby. So sad.

IVF doesn't build families. It tears them apart and makes children an accessory."


http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=226838.
Last edited by Estelle on Mon May 26, 2008 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Maddie was a possession not a loved child

Postby NeverPebbles » Mon May 26, 2008 10:44 am

The future doesn't bode well for the twins. :(
'They've taken her!'
Who, Kate? Who 'took' your daughter?
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Re: Maddie was a possession not a loved child

Postby ratonthebeam » Mon May 26, 2008 10:50 am

Edited because I "shouted" at somebody, because I didn't understand what they were trying to say!
Sorry :oops:
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Re: Maddie was a possession not a loved child

Postby Estelle » Mon May 26, 2008 11:25 am

ratonthebeam wrote:
Estelle wrote:
IVF doesn't build families. It tears them apart and makes children an accessory.



How dare you judge every IVF family by the actions of an irresponsible minority!

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:


I have only quoted what the Catholic church believes. I am not a Catholic. Nor am I religious. I am stating the Catholic view. IMO it could be a possibility that they treated Maddie like a possession to be discarded when the going got tough. Kate said she was hyperactive and walked in her sleep. Strongwood suggested Maddie was an autistic child. I am not saying that every IVF child is treated like that... so sorry if I upset you. But IMO Maddie was a designer child and perhaps did not live up to her parents expectations so was disposable. Perhaps they wanted a trophy child and Maddie was not it due to their narcissism.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby waterfall » Tue May 27, 2008 10:46 pm

Estelle, I think most of us understood you were only quoting information put out by the church about their official stance on IVF. Many have said that if the Pope had known about the IVF, he may not have wished to have been photographed with them. Nor would their website wanted to have been involved (and of course, they soon removed any reference to M.). It does not make sense to claim you are a "devout" Catholic and yet have used IVF not once, but twice.

I am not in agreement with the church. I personally think it's fine for people to use whatever means they wish, however I do see that sense of entitlement with the couple in question.

And yes, in addition to your other points, Kate went on record as saying that Maddie cried all day - I think she said 18 hours - with colic for an extended time. It was very soon after the "disappearance" and it seemed to be almost a plea for the public to understand how rough she (Kate) had had it and how much she had put up with.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby Estelle » Wed May 28, 2008 2:18 am

waterfall wrote:Estelle, I think most of us understood you were only quoting information put out by the church about their official stance on IVF. Many have said that if the Pope had known about the IVF, he may not have wished to have been photographed with them. Nor would their website wanted to have been involved (and of course, they soon removed any reference to M.). It does not make sense to claim you are a "devout" Catholic and yet have used IVF not once, but twice.

I am not in agreement with the church. I personally think it's fine for people to use whatever means they wish, however I do see that sense of entitlement with the couple in question.

And yes, in addition to your other points, Kate went on record as saying that Maddie cried all day - I think she said 18 hours - with colic for an extended time. It was very soon after the "disappearance" and it seemed to be almost a plea for the public to understand how rough she (Kate) had had it and how much she had put up with.


Yes if she had come straight out and said that, I would have had compassion for her. But she didn't.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby waterfall » Wed May 28, 2008 8:43 am

Estelle wrote:
Yes if she had come straight out and said that, I would have had compassion for her. But she didn't.


Yes, presuming you mean if she had come out and said why she had no patience left, in a confession, yes, agreed. Completely.

But as it stands, all my compassion is for that poor little child that no one was protecting.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby Estelle » Wed May 28, 2008 8:47 am

waterfall wrote:
Estelle wrote:
Yes if she had come straight out and said that, I would have had compassion for her. But she didn't.


Yes, presuming you mean if she had come out and said why she had no patience left, in a confession, yes, agreed. Completely.

But as it stands, all my compassion is for that poor little child that no one was protecting.


Yes...Poor little Maddie.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby Estelle » Wed May 28, 2008 11:18 am

A dIfficult Child
by Velma on Wed May 28, 2008 9:02 pm

Mrs McCann revealed how the first six months of Madeleine's life were "very difficult" as she struggled to cope with her bouts of the child's colic.

She said in an interview with Portguese magazine Flash that although Madeleine accepted the arrival of twins Sean and Amelie, she grew fiercely jealous of the attention they received.

In the revealing new interview with Flash, Kate McCann told how the first six months of Madeleine's life were "very difficult" as she struggled to cope with her baby's demands.

In order to soothe her daughter's acute colic, the part-time GP was forced to carry the child in her arms for hours on end, sparking a "strong bond" between them.

"The first six months of Madeleine's life were very difficult because she had lots of colic and cried practically for 18 hours day. I had to permanently carry her around."

Still a toddler at 20 months, Madeleine's life changed with the arrival of her younger brother and sister.

As a mother of five, I have experienced a colic baby (exhausting) and sibling jealousy, which involves serious temper tantrums and negative attention seeking. Granny McCann said, "That girl could throw a tantrum." I bet she could and Kate was probably at the end of her tether, especially while on vaccation. This may explain the "situation Madeleine found herself in" but it does not excuse losing control or the subsequent actions of the parents.
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby waterfall » Wed May 28, 2008 5:00 pm

That's the article. I didn't realize G had 4 siblings, did you?
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby Estelle » Wed May 28, 2008 5:40 pm

waterfall wrote:That's the article. I didn't realize G had 4 siblings, did you?


No I didn't either. I thought there were only four of them. So who are they?

Gerry

John

Jackie?

Phil
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Re: Attitude of the Catholic Church to IVF

Postby waterfall » Fri May 30, 2008 6:48 am

And then one more?
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