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."
I’m a graduate student in Theology and this semester we have a whole seminar dedicated to Biotechnology and ethics. Needless to say this stuff is getting pretty scary and Prof. Rethore is absolutely right in saying that these procedures are slowly forming us into “a humanity that despises itself.” Somedays I feel a little overwhelmed at where we are headed and a little helpless as to what can be done. I guess these are the times we have to trust prayer more than anything right?
I’m not quite clear whether the situation complained of is one where a child is conceived and then aborted only to generate transplantable tissue for a sick older child, or where the parents have another child in the hope that the younger sibling may be able to donate bone marrow or a kidney (or another tissue donation that doesn’t kill the donor). In the latter case, I should think it was not wrong to conceive the second child, if the parents had the intention to bring both children up the best way they can. After all, people have children for all sorts of reasons, and the hope that another baby will not only come into the family but perhaps save his older sibling’s life as well doesn’t seem wrong to me. Am I mistaken about this? Of course it would be wrong to abort any baby, even if it was done to provide an already-born child with a healthy organ.
I sometimes think of what Isaac must have thought of his dad after his dad almost killed him. That must have affected their relationship forever.
Along simular lines, the 2nd child will eventually find out that he was welcome with the hope he would donate his parts. He was born for a medical purpose.
I have no idea what that would do the the 2nd child, but it seems it would be very important, and place a bit of pressure on him or her to say “yes, I’ll donate”.
It would change the 2nd child’s life forever.
That particular reason for concieving a child consists of treating the child as an object that one produces and owns, not as a person who one loves and protects. The biggest problem in our society today is that it treats children as a consumer good, not as a blessed gift from God.
I can’t agree. It isn’t wrong to hope that a second child will be a companion to the first child, and that’s a difference of degree rather than of kind to the situation of hoping that the second child may be able to help the first with an illness. His ability to donate the tissue need not affect how his parents cared for him in the least. In that situation I wouldn’t dream of telling either child what had been intended, whether it worked out or not. Nobody with a grain of sense would do so. What I’m really looking for is not another amateur’s impressions, which are no more authoritative than my own, but some canon law that would settle the point definitively. I remember its coming up in another case a few years back, and I’m pretty sure it was determined that it isn’t wrong to wish that a subsequent child might be able to donate tissue to an already-born child, provided the parents intended to bring the second up as they ought, without reference to the success or failure of the projected donation.
Read JPII encyclical where he talks of procreation. This conundrum reminds me of a catholic high school morality equation. Of course modern catholics find this situation so troubling and confusing that, well – both sides can be right, cant they? Wrong.
This type of questioning, confused attitude of “but show me exactly where it says I should’nt” is no different the homosexuals saying “show me in the Bible where Jesus specifically condemns homosexuality.” and to proceed with these (already condemned) biotechnological experiments is no different then the abortion loving mother who pays for someone to yank the living one out of her womb so “she” can have a better life, and there is no difference with the abortion uterus scarred mother buying a little frankenstien to raise as her spawn. It is a l l t h e s a m e.
All of these actions are based on NOW’s arguement that the living are more important then the living in the womb.
To the modern nominal catholic, these situations are oh so troubling when in reality they are simple. But after living a life at odds with the dictates of the Church, a life lived in basic antagony with the Church teachings, a life really of hatred of the Church and Her eternal laws; an individual really has lost her moral compass. They say but show me where it says – and if it were shown in words, they would respond but by whose authority, and when the author is shown to be the pontiff, they would respond oh but look the date was a long time ago, times have changed and when the date is the present they would respond oh, that doesnt apply to me I have my freedom of concious- I take birth control and am a divorced, annuled remarried modern “catholic.”
I would surmise they may be modern but their lives do not evidence any Catholic sensibility, the rosary is not recited daily; the only mark of their Catholic character is their weekly march up the communion line where they snatch away their fair share of the Sacred Host with their grubby hands all the while singing praises to themselves “blessed are WE, holy are WE…”
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