The Frozen Embryo Problem

By Fr. Francesco Giordano / October 21, 2020 /
Cryopreservation of test tube on liquid nitrogen, a liquid nitrogen bank containing sperm and eggs cryosamples

While in-vitro fertilization (IVF) seems to be a viable solution to infertility for many, the consequences of IVF are often hidden. The clearest consequence is that many more embryos than are “needed” are actually formed. The “extra” embryos are frozen in what is known as cryopreservation.1 These embryos can be conserved for long periods up to…

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In Vitro Fertilization Ethics

By Brian Clowes, PhD and Marisa Cantu / January 4, 2024 /

The Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) define the general class of “assisted reproductive technologies” (ARTs) as those procedures where eggs or embryos are handled. This involves surgically removing eggs from a woman’s body, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and then returning them to the woman (or another woman). The CDCs do not keep…

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Alabama’s Court Decision Sparks Debate Over Ethics of IVF

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet / February 26, 2024 /
embryologist at a liquid nitrogen bank containing sperm and egg samples

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell A few days ago, the Alabama Supreme Court surprised the country by doing something that is all too rare in today’s culture, i.e. it spoke the truth. In a blockbuster 8-1 decision, the Court ruled that human embryos preserved cryogenically…

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Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Catholic Perspective

By Susan Ciancio / May 6, 2022 /
couple at a consultation for infertility treatment

The Catholic Church teaches that in vitro fertilization is immoral because it not only commodifies a person but also eliminates the marital act from that person’s creation. In addition, it can lead to the deaths of tiny preborn children when unwanted embryos are discarded or used for testing. This is a bitter pill to swallow…

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Surrogacy Ethics: What Did Pope Francis Say?

By Marisa Cantu / January 15, 2024 /
man handing cash

Pope Francis has recently spoken about surrogacy, saying: In this regard, I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs. A child is always a gift and never the basis…

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church on IVF

By Susan Ciancio / May 22, 2019 /
IVF, in vitro fertilization

Nowhere else on earth except on a skinny white plastic stick can two vertical lines create such immense joy. What’s represented by those two lines—the culmination of marital love and unity—is the fulfillment of long-held hopes and dreams. Indeed, they often evoke tears of happiness and maybe even a little victory dance. These two lines…

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Cremation, Feeding Tubes, and IVF? Oh My!

By Living a Culture of Life Podcast / January 19, 2023 /

Dr. Joseph Meaney, from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, discusses the many different types of questions asked on the NCBC’s hotline. From end-of-life care, to Church teaching on frozen embryos, to the morality of cremation, this episode is full of Catholics answers to common (and uncommon!) ethical questions.     Chapters End-of-life care: 2:26 Vaccines…

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The Ethics of Artificial Reproductive Technologies

By Brian Clowes, PhD / July 7, 2020 /
test tubes lab

The very probability that we may be faced with a human person in the full sense constitutes, in my opinion, an absolute veto against any type of [in-vitro] experimentation. ― Father Bernard Häring.1   Introduction Assisted reproductive technology is one of the most complex moral fields debated today.  It is actually an aggregation of several…

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Teaching about Reproductive Technologies

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet / November 22, 2021 /
Couple with baby shoes

If an obscure, small-town Jewish rabbi tells his congregation what Judaism teaches, is that national news? What about if a Buddhist monk preaches the teachings of Buddhism? Or if a Hindu guru explains Hinduism to his followers? It seems quite obvious that there is nothing noteworthy about any of these scenarios. And yet, for some…

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Catholic Bioethics and the Moral Treatment of Human Beings

By Susan Ciancio / June 25, 2021 /
young nurse caring for an elderly man

Respect, compassion, care, kindness, empathy, and love. These actions come about when people recognize the inherent dignity in every person. And nowhere is it more important to understand people’s inherent dignity than in a capacity where someone has to take care of another or provide for his well-being. This occurs most often in the medical…

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