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Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act are inseparable. All marital acts must respect both the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Contraception involves the evil that results from people wanting sex without babies. The anti-child mentality of contraception paves the way for abortion. Humanae Vitae condemns contraception, and teaches that all marital acts must be open to both love and life. Contraception attacks the procreative part of the marital sex act.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology In recent years, the Church has also dealt with the opposite problem: People wanting babies without sex attacks the unitive part of the marital act, and seriously distorts the procreative part.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology New technologies allow us to take female eggs (ova) and male sperm and put them together in a test tube where fertilization (conception) takes place. We can also inseminate (give sperm to) women outside the marital act. These procedures have led to serious ethical problems. Attempts are now being made to clone human beings.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology In 1987 the Vatican issued a document Donum Vitae “the gift of life” It makes clear that, although artificial procreation technologies are many and complex the moral principles for evaluating them are simple and few.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Donum Vitae “the gift of life” “The transmission of human life is entrusted to a personal and conscious act and as such is subject to the all-holy laws of God: immutable and inviolable laws which must be recognized and observed. For this reason one cannot use means and follow methods which could be licit in the transmission of the life of plants and animals.”
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • Medicine and technology must respect the moral law • Not everything that is scientifically possible is morally allowable • Science must always be the servant not the master of the human person and respect his God-given rights • Science without conscience can lead to human disasters
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • Married couples do not have an absolute right to have a child. • If this were the case the child would become simply an object or possession • A child is a gift from God, not something God owes a couple. • Married couples only have the right to the marital act that opens up the possibility of children if that is God’s will
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • Human beings are precious because they are made in the image of God. • Man is the only creature on earth that God “wished for himself • Human life is sacred from the moment of conception because from the very beginning it involves “the creative action of God.” • God is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end. Therefore no one is allowed to take innocent life.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • In procreation, spouses cooperate with God who directly infuses a spiritual soul at the moment of conception. • The parents provide the body for this soul • Parents must not depart from God’s plan for the creation of new life. • New life must be the product of the natural marital act between husband and wife.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • Once male sperm has fertilized the ovum, a new life has begun (Declaration on Procured Abortion) • This new human has the same basic rights as all humans • After fertilization, any attempt on this human life is murder.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • Because the unborn child, at any stage, is a human being, the moral laws on experimentation apply to it. • Zygote, embryo, and fetus simply describe a human being at different stages of development. • No procedure is permitted that poses a risk to the child and that is not for the benefit of his health. • Treatments that are for the benefit of the unborn child, and that don’t involve disproportionate risk, are allowed\Prenatal tests done with the intention of recommending abortion if some defect is found are condemned
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology The Moral Principles for evaluating these technologies are: • A child has the right to be conceived, nurtured in the womb, born, and raised within marriage. • The child has the right to be the true fruit of the natural marital act of their father and mother. • Being raised by their own parents helps the child discover their identity and achieve their proper human development. • Although the laboratory production of human life is evil, the children that result are human beings made in God’s image and have full human rights
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) In-vitro means “in glass” IVF refers to fertilization of an egg by a sperm in a test tube (petri dish) The test tube provides nutrition for the embryo until it is implanted in the woman’s womb. This is called embryo transfer (ET). • Eggs are collected from the woman’s body with an instrument called a laparoscope. • Sperm is usually collected from the man through masturbation. • Normally many eggs are fertilized and the “healthiest” one is implanted in the woman. The rest are either destroyed (these are abortions) or frozen for later use
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology IVF and ET are used when a woman cannot become pregnant through natural intercourse, or when she doesn’t want to or can’t carry a child for some reason and has another woman carry her child for her (surrogate motherhood).
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Why is IVF wrong? • IVF ordinarily involves abortions, when the unused embryos are destroyed • It is dangerous experimentation on the embryo • It is not done for the child’s benefit, but rather for the parents’. • If the embryos are frozen, they are exposed to hazardous treatment • Usually, the sperm is collected through masturbation • Masturbation is always objectively evil (CCC 2352) and can never be justified
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Why is IVF wrong? • Because the egg and sperm are brought together outside of intercourse, the process excludes the unitive aspect and perverts the procreative aspect of the marital act. • It violates the child’s right to be conceived through the natural marital act. • If a surrogate mother is used, this violates the child’s right to be carried in the womb of their own mother. • It can also create legal problems, such as divorced couple fighting over frozen embryos or surrogate mothers deciding to keep the child.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Artificial Insemination (AI) Sperm is collected, usually through masturbation, and deposited in the woman’s fallopian tube, where it can fertilize the egg. This process is used • either because sperm cannot enter the fallopian tube, • the husbands sperm is inadequate or weak and cannot survive to the fallopian tube, • or a donor male’s sperm is used due to infertility or lack of a husband
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Why is AI wrong? • It bypasses the unitive aspect f the marital act • Procreation takes place outside natural intercourse • The use of donor sperm introduces an adulterous element. • It almost always involves masturbation • It violates the right of the child to be conceived through a natural marital act
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology What is allowed? Procedures that assist the natural marital act are allowed. • If a woman has an obstruction in her fallopian tube, it is permitted to move the egg past the blockage so that it can be fertilized through the natural marital act. • It is permitted to collect sperm deposited by a natural marital act and deposit it in the fallopian tube where it can fertilize the egg. These procedures assist the natural act rather than bypass it as the immoral processes do.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Cloning Is a way of making genetic copies of an organism. The nucleus of an unfertilized female egg is replaced by the nucleus of a regular body cell. Then the egg is electrically stimulated to begin dividing This new organism is genetically identical to the organism that donated the DNA Though a difficult process, scientists have already cloned sheep and are attempting to clone humans. Must people find cloning of humans despicable!
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Cloning Even if it were possible to clone humans, people could not make exact copies of themselves. A human clone would have a genetic copy of the donor’s body, but would be a different person with a distinct identity. The soul, which is created directly by God, determines personality. Souls cannot be cloned because they are spirits. Identical twins who have the same genetic makeup often have totally different temperaments and experience the same situations differently.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Why is cloning wrong? • Cloning is against the moral law because it is contrary to the dignity of human procreation and marital union. • Cloning would create human life without any connection to human sexuality. It is a complete violation of a child’s right to be conceived within marriage and from the natural marital union.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Is genetic manipulation permitted? As our knowledge of chromosomes and gene-mapping increases, we’ll soon have the ability to change various genetic traits. This break through can be used morally or immorally Therapeutic genetic manipulation is morally acceptable, such as fixing genes that cause cancer, birth defects, or other degenerative diseases.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Is genetic manipulation permitted? Selective genetic manipulation aimed at producing human beings with specific gender or physical traits is prohibited. • Children cannot be used as objects to satisfy the desires of parents or societies. • We cannot produce designer-people because human beings must be valued for themselves not just for their physical attributes. We can fix genetic defects but we cannot genetically design people with pre-selected qualities.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Is Stem Cell research permissible? Embryonic stem cell research involves the killing of human embryos in order to remove cells from them that can be medically manipulated to produce various organ tissues. Scientists claim this will allow them to treat and perhaps cure diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s. Supporters of this research claim that embryos killed are going to be discarded anyway. Why not put them to good use instead?
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology Is Stem Cell research permissible? Human life begins at conception. To deliberately destroy human embryos is murder. No matter what good might result, we cannot do evil to achieve good. Stem cell research that uses animals or cells donated from human adults (a safe procedure) are morally acceptable and must be preferred to research involving he mutilation or destruction of human embryos.
Tough Moral Issues: Reproductive Technology It’s very painful when a couple is barren and cannot have children. We should reach out to such couples with compassion and encourage them to consider adoption. The desire to have children is admirable. It must be stressed, however that a good goal does not justify achievement through evil means.