First, the Church's
teaching that "the end does not justify the means" is well known. Scripture
itself condemns the idea that the ends justify the means. For example, consider
"And why not
say - as we are accused and as
some claim we say - that we
should do evil that good may come of it? Their penalty is what they deserve."
(St. Paul, Rom. 3:8)
As the Baltimore
"It is never
allowed, even for a good intention to do a thing that is bad in itself."
Even the 'modern'
Catechism of the Catholic Church states...
action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention' (cf. St. Thomas
Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means. A morally good act
requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances
So while the intention
of creating a new life may be laudable (assuming a validly/lawfully married couple), the
means to do so must also be morally acceptable.
To illustrate this
principle, consider the following example: A woman has a husband with infertility issues.
She proceeds to commit adultery in order that she bear a child. While her desire
for a child is good, the means she uses to have the child (i.e. adultery) is
evil. It does not matter that she "wants the child really bad", the adulterous
action would still be immoral & sinful, even if a child resulted from the
illicit union. And as troubling as adultery is, the sinful action used to
produce the child is in itself natural. In contrast, the sinful IVF process may involve
creating life in a lab, then freezing embryos for years & later thawing them out
for use. It can seem like something out of a science-fiction movie. And again,
it is sinful.
Ultimately if a
married couple is unable to procreate licitly, this a cross they must bear. They
are not morally free to sin in order to achieve their (otherwise worthy)
desires. 'Manufacturing' children via IVF is unnatural and sinful. On a human
level, the procedure fails to address the underlying cause of infertility. It
may be expensive as well as ineffective. If a child is produced, there is also
the possibility that it may suffer health problems. The use of IVF may display
selfishness, a lack of humility, and contempt for (or disregard for) the
Second, it should be
noted that many children die as a result of the illicit IVF process. Consider
the following quote from Pope John Paul II...
techniques of artificial reproduction, which would seem to be at the service of
life and which are frequently used with this intention, actually open the door
to new threats against life. Apart from the fact that they are morally
unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of
the conjugal act, these techniques have a high rate of failure: not just failure
in relation to fertilization but with regard to the subsequent development of
the embryo, which is exposed to the risk of death, generally within a very short
space of time. Furthermore, the number of embryos produced is often greater than
that needed for implantation in the woman's womb, and these so-called 'spare
embryos' are then destroyed or used for research which, under the pretext of
scientific or medical progress, in fact reduces human life to the level of
simple 'biological material' to be freely disposed of."
So while some
misguided persons may consider IVF to be "pro life", the reality is that many
unborn (and most likely unbaptized!) children can die for each successful pregnancy.
And eventually, couples that
choose to proceed with the sinful IVF procedure may be called on to
voluntarily dispose of their own 'unused embryos'. That is most definitely not
There is also the
concern that couples with IVF babies may have difficulty having true contrition
for their sin and that
sins cannot be forgiven without contrition.
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