By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities will present a new document on ethical infertility treatments for debate and a vote by the full body of the Conference during their Nov. 16-19 meeting in Baltimore.
The document, “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology,” will focus on the relationship between sex and procreation and the moral issues surrounding various technologies for treating infertility, including in vitro fertilization, embryo adoption and surrogacy.
“The Church has compassion for couples suffering from infertility and wants to be of real help to them,” explains the draft document.”At the same time, some ‘reproductive technologies’ are not legitimate ways to solve those problems. We bishops of the United States offer this reflection to explain why. We also offer it to provide hope—real hope that couples can fulfill their procreative potential and build a family while fully respecting God’s design for their marriage and for the gift of children.”
The document draws on Church teaching, including Vatican documents Donum Vitae (1987), Evangelium Vitae (1995) and Dignitas Personae (2008). It includes questions and answers on the issue as well as testimony from couples who followed the Church’s teaching, and offers pastoral guidance and encouragement for couples who struggle with infertility.
The document will also explain ethical treatment methods, including hormonal treatment and other medications, surgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes, natural family planning, and means for alleviating male infertility factors.
“These avenues do not substitute for the married couple’s act of loving union; rather, they assist this act in reaching its potential for giving rise to a new human life,” the document explains.
After being debated by the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology” will require a vote of approval by two-thirds of the membership of the USCCB.
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