VATICAN CITY (AP) – Scientists told a Vatican conference Tuesday that screening embryos for disease before implanting them in in-vitro fertilization posed grave ethical problems that could ultimately result in parents choosing the type of children they want.
The warning, however, was rejected as unfounded by outside scientists.
The Vatican conference, which ended Tuesday, focused on the ethics surrounding the handling of embryos before they are implanted in in-vitro fertilization procedures when they are just a few days old and a few cells in size.
On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI told the conference that even such young embryos deserve the same right to life as fetuses, children and adults.
The Vatican opposes in-vitro procedures because embryos created in a laboratory are often discarded, frozen or are created solely for experimentation or to create stem cells. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life organized the conference to determine if its position is supported by current scientific data.
Well not quite. Even if there was a 100 percent success rate with IVF and no embryos were ever discarded the Church would still oppose IVF or any other technology that separates separating the unitive and procreative ends of marriage. Though you can hardly fault reporters for their ignorance considering the same ignorance of many Catholics.
There have also been cases where parents seek to have a child with specific non-diseased characteristics to help a diseased older sibling through tissue or organ donation, they said.
"How will this ‘savior’ child live his situation?" asked Prof. Marie-Odile Rethore, a member of France’s Jerome Lejeune Institute, which conducts research into Down’s Syndrome. "How will he live the death of the older child he was not able to save?"
In a paper delivered at the conference, she said France’s National Committee on Ethics issued its opinion on the topic in 2002, saying: "If medically assisted procreation is no longer aimed at favoring the birth of children for themselves but to be used to repair another child, we are entering into a humanity that despises itself."