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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Surrogate Motherhood

By Brian Clowes, PhD / November 19, 2021 /
surrogacy arrangement surrogate mother

In essence, [surrogacy] is the ultimate manifestation of the neoliberal project of capitalist commodification of all life to create profit and fulfill the narcissistic desires of an entitled elite. ~Kathleen Sloan, director of the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization for Women.1   What Is Surrogacy? Surrogate motherhood is the oldest form of assisted reproduction.…

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In Vitro Fertilization: Unnatural Selection

By Brian Clowes, PhD / August 20, 2021 /

Definitions The Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) define the general class of “assisted reproductive technologies” 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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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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Modern-Day Eugenics: Who Lives and Who Dies?

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet / November 30, 2020 /

In the early 20th century, eugenics was widely supported among the educated classes all across the West. Eugenicists fancied themselves benefactors of the human race, putting to use the most cutting-edge science to eradicate human suffering, and to “improve” the human race. By giving nature a helping hand, carefully encouraging the reproduction of the “fittest”…

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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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Is There a Right to a Child?

By Brian Clowes, PhD / August 21, 2020 /
man and pregnant woman

The goal to be a father, to be a mother, is a human right. An absolute human right. ~Italian infertility specialist Severino Antinori.1   God bestowed men and women with an innate desire to procreate and to nurture their children. This is one of the most fundamental instincts of all, shared by all of God’s…

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Overcoming Infertility–The Catholic Way

By Brian Clowes, PhD / July 30, 2020 /
couple wedding bands, rings, hands

It is nearly impossible for those with children to comprehend the depth of the suffering of those who would love to have their own kids but cannot because of infertility.   The Catholic View of Infertility Treatments The Bible mentions a number of women who were unable to conceive and were thus considered “barren” by…

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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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The Early History of Assisted Reproduction

By Brian Clowes, PhD / June 4, 2020 /
science lab equipment; history of assisted reproductive technology

Senator Brian Harradine: “How often has in‑vitro fertilization been undertaken on non‑human higher primates?” Professor William Short: “It has not been undertaken on gorillas because gorillas are an endangered species.” Senator Brian Harradine: “So you are able to do it on humans?” Professor William Short: “We are not an endangered species.”1   The history of…

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3D rendering of an artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization of an egg cell

Reproductive Technology