Vatican conference opposes IVF
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust08 March 2006
Pope Benedict XVI has told an international Catholic conference on the scientific and bioethical considerations of 'The Human Embryo Before Implantation', that IVF embryos have a right to life, even before implantation. Speaking to the Pontifical Academy for Life, he declared that all human life was 'sacred and inviolable' and that 'moral judgment is valid from the start of the life of an embryo, even before it is implanted in the maternal womb'. The Vatican hosted the conference to review whether current scientific data supports the Vatican's hard-line position on IVF. The Vatican opposes IVF and related procedures because embryos created in a laboratory are often discarded, whereas others are frozen and still others are created for medical research purposes, for example to create stem cells.
Pope Benedict also restated the Catholic Church's opposition to IVF, and added that it should only welcome reproductive assistance if it 'facilitates' sexual activity between a couple. Speaking at the same conference, a senior Vatican official also said that there is no moral justification for discriminating between embryos used in IVF procedures. Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Life, said the theory that laboratory-created embryos were not worthy of the same legal protection and the right to life as an already implanted embryo was morally wrong.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.