St Francis Q&A

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reproductive techonology

1) DC ‘Hood v. St John Neumann parish– Fri, May 18, 7 pm, Watkins Mill HS, Gaithersburg. Go 'Hood!

2) RCIA “Inquiry” meeting – next Tues., May 22, 8:15 pm, rectory. This is an opportunity for those who are interested in joining the Catholic Church to get information about RCIA and to meet other people. Spread the word!
Anon wrote: “With all the advancements in the treatment of women's fertility, the church's views on fertilization would be an interesting topic. There are many Catholic couples who employ means of achieving fertilization that the church doesn't condone. They simply do not know that there are licit options available to them.”

The following are excerpts from a website from the US Catholic Bishops which outline the Church’s teachings on reproductive technology. To view the full text, please click on the title of this post.

Technologies Compatible with Catholic Teachings: (4 of 7)

1) Observation of the naturally occuring sign(s) of fertility (Natural Family Planning). Time intercourse on the days of presumed (potential) fertility for at least six months before proceeding to medical interventions.

2) General medical evaluation of both spouses for infertility…

6) Appropriate medical treatment of ovulatory dysfunction.

7) Appropriate (usually surgical) correction of mechanical blocks to tubal patency (the state of being open)...

Reproductive Technologies under Discussion (neither "approved" nor "disapproved"):

Gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT). (The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not yet pronounced on the subject.)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse) but technologically prepared semen sample (washed, etc.).

Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:

1) Obtaining a sample of seminal fluid by masturbation.

2) Artificial insemination by a non-spouse (AID), or even by the husband (AIH) if the sample is obtained and handled by non-licit means (masturbated specimen).

3) In vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovum donation, "surrogate" uterus.

"How do I know when a reproductive technology is morally right?"

The rule of thumb is:

- Any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral
- Procedures which add a "third party" into the act of conception, or which substitute a laboratory procedure for intercourse, are not acceptable.

- The guidelines are drawn from the document Donum Vitae.

Definitions (2 of 6)

1) IVF (In Vitro Fertilization): Conception occurs outside the body--"in a glass."
...Prior to implantation in the woman's uterus, embryos are examined in order to select the "best."

…Usually at least two embryos are implanted; in some centers, as many as four are implanted with the hope of getting at least one live baby. At times, three or four embryos thrive. Some clinics then offer the mother "embryo reduction" (selective abortion) to allow only one or two fetuses to develop further.

Because the endometrium is considerably changed by the stimulation of ovaries to produce eggs, it is the practice in some centers to freeze the embryos and to implant them in a subsequent natural cycle. Overall success rates in terms of having a living child range from 16-20%. The disposition of frozen embryos varies with the wishes of the parents. "Spare embryos" may either be preserved, donated to other women or to researchers, or destroyed…

2) AIH (Artificial insemination with husband's sperm): Sperm can be placed into a cup which is placed over the cervix. This technique is also used in AID - artificial insemination by donor.


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