Essay Five - RLG224 - Prof Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201...

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Ethics of the Test-tube Baby For many couples around the world, having a child is a sacred event which can wholly constitute ones ful±llment in life. Many people, even those who are not married, desire to raise a family of their own. However, what happens to these life plans when the news arrives that you are infertile? What happens if you happen to ±nd yourself in love with a person of the same sex? What if you want a child, but cannot ±nd a signi±cant other to assist you in raising that child? In this modern day, there are various forms of assisted reproductive technologies that are meant to ±ll this void. The technology that will be the focus of this paper is in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF is the procedure by which eggs are extracted from a woman and are mixed with a man’s sperm in a glass dish. Fertilization then occurs, and the resulting embryo is implanted into the woman’s uterus (Warnock, 6). This procedure carries various ethical implications which are carefully outlined in many scholarly articles and works of writing. William E. May outlines the Catholic perspective in Catholic Moral Teaching on In Vitro Fertilization. Making Babies by Mary Warnock highlights the opposite side of the spectrum, by presenting arguments in favour of IVF. Conclusively, I will formulate my own opinion based on a comparison of these two works, and a summary will be given which will develop background information needed to understand the debate between them. A traditional and conservative standpoint on the topic of in vitro fertilization is presented by William May. He develops a view of IVF which is backed by the teachings of the Catholic Church, more speci±cally, the Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation put forth by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (May, 107). By re²ecting on this, he develops three reasons why IVF is a detriment to marriage, parenthood and the child itself (108). First, IVF separates the unitive (love-giving) and procreative (life-giving) RLG224 - Prof Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201 1
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meanings of the marital act. The connection between these two meanings is willed by God Himself, and must not be broken by any man on his own initiative (110). The act of procreation must only occur within a conjugal relation, and if it does not, it will lack the perfection required of relationships in the Catholic religion (118). Second, IVF treats the child as an object and thus compromises its dignity. According to the Instruction, children cannot be conceived as merely an outcome of medical or biological techniques (111). If this is the case, then IVF reduces the sanctity of a child’s life to a product of scienti±c technology. They are seen only as the end product of a serious of actions undertaken by people other than the parents (120). The third reason that IVF should be prohibited is that it fails to respect the “language of the body”. When a couple expresses their intimate love in the language of the body, this should be a direct
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course RLG 224Y1 taught by Professor Professorschmidt during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Essay Five - RLG224 - Prof Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201...

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