IVF Is Unworthy Way to Conceive, says Pope Benedict

In a widely reported address, Pope Benedict XVI has again declared that the only acceptable way for children to be conceived is through intercourse between a man and a woman. “Indeed, the union of a man and a woman, in that community of love and life which is marriage, represents the only worthy ‘place’ for a new human being to be called into existence,” he said. He told a gathering at the Pontifical Academy for Life that the field of human procreation seems to be ruled by scientism and the logic of profit,” which often “restrict many other areas of research.” He said that the Church is “attentive to the suffering of infertile couples…and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research.” He continued:

“Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede..”


Jared Yee writes regularly for BioEdge.

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  • Michelle

    I think this is a very ignorant comment for the pope to make. He is being very judgemental and sending out a horrible message to his followers. This is not very Godly at all. Every child is a gift and WORTHY! It does not matter how they are created. My husband and I did IVF after years of trying to conceive on our own and our son and daughter are an amazing gift and loved very much.He has no idea how heartbreaking it is for a couple to have trouble conceiving and to see how easy it is for other people to have kids, when it is not as easy for others. Babies are created with love and in the same way with IVF as with intercourse,except that with IVF a little more assistance is needed. The pope shouldn’t speak out on this issue without further education on it.

  • Editor

    Actually, Michelle, I think you’re being extremely unfair to the pope; he is clearly speaking with deep sensitivity to people who have trouble conceiving, and nowhere will you ever find him or any pope denying the humanity and dignity of a child conceived as a result of IVF. But it is simply incorrect to think of IVF as basically no different from traditional sexual reproduction, and that is because it results in the discarding of so-called “extra” fertilized eggs (i.e. newly conceived human beings), and it forces the sexual act to be exclusively a “baby-making” act; the Church teaches that the bonding that takes place during each sexual act is vital and meant to be tied to the procreative aspect of sex. The pope is inviting all of us to rediscover the true power and beauty of the sex act as God intended it. I don’t mean to offend you, and I know your kids are indeed amazing; but I ask you to please prayerfully consider what Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church are trying to tell the world.

  • Rusaphy

    Actually, Editor, you’re mistaken on a number of fronts. (1) It is not necessary to discard the frozen embryos. They can be donated to couples with low quality eggs and/or sperm so that they, too, can experience carrying a child to birth. (2) If a fertilized egg is the beginning of life, then fertile women have likely had many that they’re not aware of. It’s estimated that half of all fertilized eggs never implant in the uterus. They just get flushed out w/ the next period. But I guess the catholic view is, “outta sight, outta mind”. Implantation is when the woman begins producing the pregnancy hormone, btw. And this is why they transfer more than one embryo at a time during IVF — because the chances of implantation are kinda sucky. Implantation, in my belief, is the beginning of life. (3) I’m currently doing IVF, and my husband is giving me 3 shots every day. He’s being so supportive it brings tears to my eyes. We still have “the bonding that takes place during the sexual act.” That hasn’t gone away. But there’s additional bonding with IVF that shouldn’t be overlooked. Why on earth would anyone prefer children to be born to parents that don’t want them — just because they’re fertile — than parents willing to go through the rigors of the IVF process to get them?

  • Roberta Jones431

    IVF CAN be done in a way which does not destroy life.  It is possible to only fertilize the number of eggs that a couple wants placed in the woman’s uterus.  If they are planning to place one or two embryos in the woman’s uterus, then they would only fertilize that number of eggs. This way every life created has a chance right away.  No embryos discarded.  No embryos frozen.  I believe this was the way Italy required for many years, and it can work.