Religion and Fertility Treatment
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Religion and Fertility Treatment. The choice to have children. People can now enjoy a full sex life without necessarily becoming pregnant. Couples can limit the size of their families Contraception is freely available The morning after pill can be taken Abortion may be an option.

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Religion and Fertility Treatment

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Religion and Fertility Treatment

The choice to have children

  • People can now enjoy a full sex life without necessarily becoming pregnant.

  • Couples can limit the size of their families

  • Contraception is freely available

  • The morning after pill can be taken

  • Abortion may be an option

The other side of the story

  • It used to be that people who had trouble in conceiving just had to live with being childless.

  • Some saw it as God’s will

  • Now science and technology offers more options

  • Many infertile couples are now able to have children

Difficulties in conceiving affect 10% of couples

Modern medical techniques allow these problems to be overcome

Some of the techniques raise ethical problems

IVF – ‘Test-tube babies’

  • The very first ‘Test-tube baby’ was born in 1977. She is Louise Brown

  • In Vitro Fertilisation literally means ‘in glass’

  • An egg from Lesley Brown was fertilised with her husband’s sperm in a test tube.

  • This overcame the problem of her blocked fallopian tubes

  • After 2 days, the tiny embryo was implanted into her uterus

  • Different types of Fertility Treatment

  • In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

  • “test-tube baby”

  • Eggs fertilised outside mother’s body, then placed back inside

  • Woman’s eggs and man’s sperm both used

The story was huge

  • It gave hope to many couples

  • Different types of Fertility treatment

  • 2. Artificial Insemination by donor (AID)

  • Donated sperm placed in the womb

  • Donor is father, Woman’s eggs used

  • Ethical Dilemma?

  • Different Types of Fertility Treatment

  • 3. Artificial Insemination by Husband (AIH)

  • Medical problem stopping conception

  • Woman’s eggs, man’s sperm both used

  • Different Types of Fertility Treatment

  • 4. Egg or sperm storing

  • Can be used in the future if something happens to one of the partners

  • The case of Diane Blood

IVF today

  • It’s now quite commonplace, though success rates are still quite low – only one in four.

  • Many couples have to undergo several rounds of treatment

  • These days, it is common for several eggs to be fertilised at once, and more than one to be implanted, in the hope of a greater chance of success.

In your jotter

  • Write a summary of how the choice to have children or not has changed

  • Briefly explain why Louise Brown’s birth was so important

Why do researchers want to use embryo’s?

  • Embryos contain special cells called stem cells.

  • These are the master cells that have the potential to into any other type of cell.

  • For example: nerve tissue, blood, heart muscle and even brain cells.

How can these stem cells be used?

  • They could eventually provide doctors with a ready supply of replacement tissue.

  • They could help repair the damage caused by degenerative diseases like heart disease and Parkinson’s disease.

  • They could also help regenerate damaged nerve cells in the spinal column, allowing someone who has been paralysed to gain mobility again.

What is embryonic screening?

  • Embyros that are created in a test tube through IVF treatment can be tested before being implanted into the mothers womb.

  • Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is already used to help parent’s with a family history of serious conditions to avoid passing on the faulty gene on to their children.

Examples of genetic diseases that embryos can be screened for:

  • Heamophillia

  • Cystic Fybrosis

  • Huntingdon’s Disease

Should embryo screening be allowed in cases where a genetic disease is not being tested for?


  • Do you think that scientists should be allowed to do research on ‘spare’ embryo’s?

  • Write down onereason why this research might be a good thing.

  • Why might some people be against the use of embryo’s for research?

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