Growing Your Own Eggs: Why Not?
Via the Telegraph.co.uk:
A major advance in fertility treatment is signalled today as doctors unveil details of a technique that will allow human eggs to be grown in the laboratory from ovarian tissue samples.
Over 30,000 couples have IVF treatment each year.
The procedure, which is being pioneered by two British fertility clinics, involves taking a piece of ovary tissue from a woman and “banking” it in a laboratory until she is ready to start a family.
It would allow career women, or those waiting to meet the right partner, to delay motherhood for years.
Why does this whole idea sound so sordid? For one thing, human beings are not God and have no business attempting to manufacture human life in a laboratory. The work of creation belongs to God alone.
There is great pain and disappointment involved in not being able to have a biological child of your own, but does that give a couple the right to use technology to mandate the existence of their children? Are children simply the property of their parents? Do they exist solely to serve the needs and desires of their parents? Are we entitled to have biological children simply because we want them? How far can we go in forcing the hand of the Creator to grant us children?
What does the Catholic Church have to say about artificial fertilization?
1. A child is ultimately a gift from God, not something manufactured in a laboratory.
No child should ever been seen as a commodity, which is what they are when one considers that artificial treatments can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Yes, this method is supposed to be less expensive than others, but you can bet these scientists aren’t going to be charging bargain basement prices.
2. The Church has never taught that couples have a right to children, simply that they need to be open to them, should God bless them with children. Children are a gift from God – not something that any one of us automatically deserves.
3. Conception outside of natural intercourse turns the couple and family into a biological laboratory.
4. This type of treatment involves the destruction of embryos, vulnerable human lives.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
INSTRUCTION ON RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE IN ITS ORIGIN AND ON THE DIGNITY OF PROCREATION REPLIES TO CERTAIN QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
Heterologous artificial fertilization (the technique used to obtain a human conception through the meeting in vitro of gametes taken from at least one donor other than the two spouses joined in marriage) is contrary to the unity of marriage, to the dignity of the spouses, to the vocation proper to parents, and to the child’s right to be conceived and brought into the world in marriage and from marriage. Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity. The desire to have a child and the love between spouses who long to obviate a sterility which cannot be overcome in any other way constitute understandable motivations; but subjectively good intentions do not render heterologous artificial fertilization conformable to the objective and inalienable properties of marriage or respectful of the rights of the child and of the spouses. (Sec. II A, para. 2)
Homologous artificial fertilization, (the technique used to obtain a human conception through the meeting in vitro of the gametes of the spouses joined in marriage) in seeking a procreation, which is not the fruit of a specific act of conjugal union, objectively effects an analogous separation between the goods and the meanings of marriage… Fertilization achieved outside the bodies of the couple remains by this very fact deprived of the meanings and the values which are expressed in the language of the body and in the union of human persons. (Sec. II B, para. 4b)
The spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love. In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving. The one conceived must be the fruit of his parents’ love. He cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion. (Sec. II B, para. 4c)
…Techniques of fertilization in vitro can open the way to other forms of biological and genetic manipulation of human embryos, such as attempts or plans for fertilization between human and animal gametes and the gestation of human embryos in the uterus of animals, or the hypothesis or project of constructing artificial uteruses for the human embryo. These procedures are contrary to the human dignity proper to the embryo, and at the same time they are contrary to the right of every person to be conceived and to be born within marriage and from marriage. (Sec I, para. 6)