Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Fresh Vatican condemnation of fertility treatments

The Vatican has this week issued a broad condemnation of fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilisation, calling the destruction of embryos in the process a "massacre of the innocents".

L'Osservatore Romano published the final communique from the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life following a conference it hosted last month on "The dignity of human procreation and reproductive technologies: anthropological and ethical aspects."

In the communique, it restated the Vatican position that any treatment that substitutes for sexual intercourse between a husband and wife — such as the creation of an embryo in a laboratory that is later implanted — is considered illicit because the embryo isn't the fruit of the "conjugal union."

However, the Pontifical Academy supported therapies that can facilitate the natural sex act such as drugs that help a woman ovulate.

In the statement, the Academy expressed concern that doctors were referring couples more often to in-vitro technologies rather than diagnosing and correcting their underlying sterility.

It condemned the use of embryos for research, and called the destruction or loss of embryos in the in-vitro process "a true massacre of the innocents of our time: no war or catastrophe has ever caused so many victims."

Vatican condemns fertility treatments (Associated Press/USA Today 17/3/04)

Pontifical Academy for Life
X General Assembly - Concluding Communiqué on "The dignity of human procreation and reproductive technologies. Anthropological and ethical aspects" (21/2/04, in Italian)

18 Mar 2004