HUMAN FERTILIZATION IN VITRO: A CATHOLIC MORAL PERSPECTIVE

EILEEN PATRICIA FLYNN, Fordham University

Abstract

The fact that medical technology has made it possible to successfully employ in vitro fertilization in the human species has raised the moral issue of whether or not this is a fitting manner of human genesis. In reaching an answer to this question, a thorough moral analysis of all related issues must be undertaken. This task is complicated by the fact that contemporary moral theology is in a state of transition, and there is a lack of consensus on many medical aspects of the procedure. Therefore, throughout the study controverted points are indicated and the rationale used to justify the position advocated is elaborated.^ In this study, a survey of medical literature relating to human fertilization in vitro which was published subsequent to the birth of the first child conceived in vitro in July, 1978 was presented. The moral question was then formulated; the parameters which persons should observe who seek to become parents through the technique or who would practice the procedure were discussed.^ Since the study was written from the perspective of Roman Catholic moral theology, the testimony of Scripture was pondered and relevant ethical literature was reviewed. In particular, the usefulness of situating the problem within a natural law framework was explored, and attempts were made to determine the sensus fidelium on the moral question. Because of the contemporary debate on the validity of absolute negatives and the scope attributed to the principle of the double effect, the moral question human fertilization in vitro was considered in respect to each of these categories. Moral literature since Vatican II was consulted in seeking to resolve the ethical question.^ The conclusion reached was presented in the sixth chapter; it is that a probable case can be made by infertile spouses who seek to become biological parents through the procedure human fertilization in vitro for the technique's liceity. Likewise, a similar case for moral permissibility can be made by the medical personnel who are engaged in the procedure. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

FLYNN, EILEEN PATRICIA, "HUMAN FERTILIZATION IN VITRO: A CATHOLIC MORAL PERSPECTIVE" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323524.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323524

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