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Pope raps IVF, calls for research on other treatment for fertility

February 27, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI called for more scientific research into the causes of infertility, when he spoke on February 25 to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Proper treatment on infertility, the Pope said, should be “most respectful of the human condition of the people involved.” He decried the current approach, dominated by “scientism and the logic of profit,” and said that the heavy promotion of in vitro fertilization is restricting research on more promising techniques.

Renewing and explaining the Church’s condemnation of in vitro fertilization, the Pope said that “the human and Christian dignity of procreation does not lie in a 'product', but in its bond with the conjugal act: that expression of the spouses' love for one another, that union which is not only biological but also spiritual.” He said that the marital union is “the only worthy place for a new human being to be called into existence.”

Coverage of the Pope’s talk in the secular media was unusually hostile, with most accounts emphasizing the Pontiff’s criticism of in vitro fertilization but overlooking his call for research on other techniques for addressing the problem of infertility.

The New York Daily News provided a conspicuous example of the slanted coverage, with a story that began with a sarcastic and inaccurate sentence: “Couples struggling with fertility shouldn’t bother looking to the Catholic Church for help.” Actually the Pontifical Academy for Life had devoted its annual meeting to a discussion of treating infertility, and the Pope had strongly encouraged that work. In fact the Daily News account concluded with a sentence that contradicted the opening: “On Saturday, the Pope did offer hope for couples who are struggling to become parents: He said the church encourages medical research on infertility.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 27, 2012 11:42 AM ET USA

    The Holy Father is an encouragement; A razor sharp mind in an older body to be sure. To sacrafice the "other embryos" in order to "harvest" one?