Are those that undergo invitro fertilization automatically excommunicated?

The procedure results in the discarding of fertilized embryos, which is basically abortion.


I have read that those who procur an abortion. Are excommunicated. So the embryos which are discarded is not considered an abortive procedure?

No. The law is specific, it is not interpreted broadly.

It remains a gravely wrong act. But there is no penalty of excommunication listed for in vitro.

What are the embryoes? Aren’t they human life? The Church teaches that there is immorality involved when such embryoes are discarded. Why would the Church proclaim this to be so if the embryoes produced in the lab were simply inorganic tissue or devoid of a human being in its very beginnings?

I repeat: it is a gravely wrong act.

I repeat: while it is a gravely wrong act, the law does not apply the penalty of excommunication to it, just as it does not apply this penalty for many other grave acts. Not everything that is grave incurs automatic excommunication.

OK that understandable, but am still confused about the issue of discarded embryos. The excommunication issue aside, isn’t it abortion to discard embryos generated in the lab as a result of the in vitro fertilization process? Thx

It is not an abortion.

But it is wrong, and it does lead to the death of the embryos unless they are implanted.

check out this thread for more:

There are hopeful couples that wish to become parents and sometimes they may be denied or swayed from using the cryo preserved embryos by the IVF Dr.

The Dr. wants to put the couple through another cycle of IVF against their choice.

It’s unfair. The embryos belong to the couple. The couple pays for the cryo preservation.

The Dr. is in the drivers seat.

It’s a predicament that leaves the couple helpless and without hope because they do not want to discard embryos.

Speaking of embryos In cryo preservation, what is the Catholic church’s viewpoint on embryo adoption? Several Christian groups support, but I havent been able to find the Catholic church’s stance.

There is so much in this discussion that I absolutely cannot stay silent about it. This is one area in which I feel the Church has had a big “fail” in its teachings. And/or certainly has not thought through every aspect and implication of IVF. I would first ask you what it is about IVF that is “a grave sin”. Is it (a) That life is conceived outside of the “marital act”, (b) That it MAY result in discarding fertilized embryos, © Some of those discarded have that fate because they are considered “non-viable”, hence human selection ('playing God"), or (d) Some or all of the above?

Let me give you some points to think about on each of these and then ask a few questions then, if I may. Full disclosure, I was raised Catholic, went away from the Church (or stopped going, more accurately), met my wife, went through IVF seven years later, and now have two beautiful twin daughters. I felt drawn back and Catholicism was made accessible to me, and I have been practicing again for a few months. I have gone to confession, and was told I was absolved of my sins and I should basically “move on”. This is a conservative diocese.

Although not the “marital act”, I submit to you that there is no greater act of love than a married couple undergoing IVF to have a child together. To understand the commitment to and unconditional love for your spouse, and the sacrifices both of you make, and the emotional stress that you go through, you really need to go through it, and you can’t just sit on the sidelines and comment from your chair. If this is not a legitimate extension of the “marital act”, serving the same purpose in a less-pleasant way, I’d like to know the explanation, and something more than the “book answer” please. With thought.

Perhaps it’s not biblically sanctioned or it doesn’t meet the biblical definition. Well, let’s agree that in biblical times, not only was it not an option, it would never have even been thought of let alone addressed in social dialogue. So how can we know how God feels about it? Given the love for your spouse that is absolutely necessary as a prerequisite for making the decision to do it, why shouldn’t I believe God would allow this? And that does not even consider the miracle of the outcome, there are actual children involved who, I am told, are still considered children of God just like any others.

Finally, back to biblical times, I challenge you to explain how the virgin birth qualifies as the result of the “marital act”, and how it is something other than “divine IVF” if you want to crudely boil it down. No, I’m sure God did not create a bunch of embryos and select Jesus. However, He and Mary did not engage in physical intercourse inside of a marital relationship, which as I understand is the “marital act” by definition. Moreover, it’s hard to envision Jesus having Down’s Syndrome. Mary was a human mother. Did Jesus have her DNA? If so, this was a possibility, so didn’t God effectively influence the outcome?


It is not always - perhaps even not often - that fertilized, live embryos are discarded. In our case, there were four, one of which did not grow (i.e., it died, I suppose). Two were implanted and resulted in our twin girls. The third is frozen, and while we struggle with this, know the right answer is to implant it as well (is this the right answer? If IVF is wrong, should we continue it? Your thoughts here, please). If we did not implant the third, we would put it up for adoption. So no live, fertilized embryos were destroyed. It is true, however, that there was “selection”, since the stronger two were the ones used first.

I agree in principle that live, fertilized embryos should be given every chance to survive and not discarded. So what is meant by “every chance”? Is a lab environment okay, or do you require implantation to “see what happens” when you pretty much already know? To the previous poster’s question as well, what is wrong with freezing and putting up for adoption? This results, in a perfect world where it works, in life being created, and a loving couple having a child when it otherwise could not. Everybody wins, no? Please explain what part of this is “morally wrong”?


Re: selection, yes, the “strongest” of the embryos are the ones implanted first, and the others that survive may be frozen. So technically we have selected “the best”, although the research shows this has nothing to do with the health of the baby or babies, and whether they will be “better” somehow than the others. You’ve selected the ones with the best chance of surviving in the mother, that is all. As far as the result, the chances of it resulting in a live birth are like 30% regardless, and this has nothing to say about what the children will be like. So I ask, when it comes to the result, who is really “selecting”?

Now a question for you. As I said, I have two beautiful daughters as a result of IVF, and they wouldn’t be here without it. I was married in the Church, hence I promised to raise my children Catholic, and I deeply want to. However, I struggle with what exactly I’m supposed to tell them - and what message is the Church sending them about how God feels - when they are taught that the “act” leading to their existence was “gravely wrong” (but oh, by the way, you’re God’s children)?. No one under 30 is even going to remotely interpret that as anything besides “your existence is wrong and shouldn’t have happened”.

That’s a fantastic message to send a kid, that morally you don’t really belong here. At the same time teaching, but since you’re here, you are actually God’s children and you should follow Jesus. Uou should not be here, but now that you are, come follow our teachings. Does that not sound wrong to you? IVF may result in actual children. You do not seem to focus on them, only the unborn embryos. Before I truly embrace raising my kids Catholic, I need someone to address this.

See Dignitas Personae

There has been a lot of theological discussion on the practice, which seems to hinge on one of two positions:

  1. That embryo (rescue, adoption) involves immoral use of technology and is therefor immoral.

  2. That the technology in itself is not amoral in the use for the rescue of embryos, as it currently is the only way to save the lives of these persons-in-stasis.

The problem is that the immoral practice of IVF has led to a moral dilemma; allowing persons in frozen stasis to die of neglect when (a couple) could adopt (one or more) of them vs. using technology which is questionably immoral.

Now keep in mind that we’re talking about embryo rescue, not using IVF and cryopreservation for a couple with normal fertility, and also that in embryo rescue, the discussion of IVF is somewhat moot, as the reality is that the embryos already exist, although brought into being by an immoral means.

Some theologians equate the “moral creation” status of these embryos, created through IVF, to that of children conceived through rape or even through fornication; although the circumstances by which they were conceived were immoral, that ship has sailed and we are left with what to do with these persons…let them die, or try to rescue them by the only means available.

One aspect in Dignitas Personae, as I recall offhand, is the heterologous nature of the embryo in respect to the parents; some theologians equate this to the notion of surrogacy. Others argue that in surrogacy, the embryo is conceived with the idea that it will be carried to term through a surrogate i.e. that surrogacy is a “planned” heterologous gestation, if that makes sense, vs. an embryo rescue where the embryo wasn’t “planned” to be carried in surrogacy, a different intent.

Now, fast forward to…10-15 years from now, when a working artificial uterus is available…does the moral dynamic change? We will see. Note how this whole dilemma started with the development of the immoral practice of IVF.

The Church has not dropped the ball on this issue, if you are wondering where they are?

Personally, there is not anyone that enters into a decision making process as this in being **Immoral. ** I am a conservative Catholic. I find this chit-chat about immorality offensive. People will not understand the anguish of this process and the gravity of life and what happens to it and where it goes on from there. ANGUISH in capital letters. I do not equate myself with God. The IVF doctors may feel differently. They need to meet statistics and that’s their sole concern. This is very sad.

It’s a cold world, and the chatter on this thread does not need to be as a bunch of Theologians.

This is all God’s call. God makes the decision if the embryos stick.

Our chances were excellent. I was ready to take on quintuplets without reservation. Unfortunately it did not work. Not once, but numerous times it did not work, and I am not in a position to say that I was right or that I was wronged. No one was at fault. And people will not understand the personal relationship with God that I have. I’m not mad at God.

It’s an Industry that will suck you in and place a couple on a Merry-Go-Round / Roller coaster.

I’m not thinking about myself. Just walk in my shoes and the shoes of others and then you will know the conversation that God had with me.

Point fingers and you’re not a Catholic. Shame on people that sit around and have not a thing to do with their life and too much time on their hands than to question and espouse to save souls.

God is in charge, and not anyone here that criticizes. I have a relationship with God and his Blessed Mother and I never ever want to be separated from that. Regardless of the severity of this wacky industry.

Otherwise it’s a moot point and people will never stop drilling this, because they do not understand.

Step in. Try it on for size. Walk along in our shoes, wear our clothes, and then you will know the seriousness of spirituality that accompanies this life.

It’s a horrible, horrible lab experiment.
So I ask you. Will you reach inside yourself and seek sympathy?

This is the last that I will ever respond on this Forum.

I like to read about Marian Apparitions. Some, such as Fatima & LaSalette are approved by the Vatican. Others are lesser known such as Garabandal & Medjugorjie are not approved but are believed. Mother Angelica founder of EWTN mentions them a lot. But others are still unproved or even rejected like Our Lady of The Roses also known as the Bayside Prophecies. The seer, Veronica was from New York. These were from the 70’s and she has since passed away. I know people from New York that do believe in them.

I have read some of the messages and there was a specific message about test tube babies & surrogate mothers. I’ve posted the link below. It’s pretty far out there. Basically she said man was playing God. They were creating life but only God could make a Soul. She states these babies do not have a soul. I know that sounds terrible. But an empty body could be inhabited by something else. I personally pray this is not the case but my gut tells me that it makes sense. Again these were NOT approved but as with any prophet only time will tell.

Well, I would challenge these people to come and look my daughters in the eye and tell them they don’t have souls. Please, step up.

Like I said, this was not an approved message. But the part about man playing God is true. It is a sin. We all know that it is a Grave sin. I personally have never knowingly met a child conceived in this way so I have no opinion. But if man makes a child against natural law, in direct rebellion to Church teachings, we don’t know what the price will be. We will all answer to God. I may not like His answer, but it is not for me to make the call. I just read that message a while back and it has always haunted me ever since then.

I can’t help but recall the sin that led God to destroy man in the flood.

Genesis 6:2-8

The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, It repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noe found grace before the Lord.

Luke 17:24-30

For as the lightning that lighteneth from under heaven shineth unto the parts that are under heaven, so shall the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat and drink, they married wives and were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it came to pass in the days of Lot. They did eat and drink, they bought and sold, they planted and built. And in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed.

God bless you and your family. I just think we all need to pray. We should obey Church teachings. The Church has rules for reasons. We may not agree or like them, but we are Catholic and called to be Obedient to God and All His Laws.

You’re hearing this from a non-Catholic but I support I.V.F. for couples who want to have children. I know the Vatican differs with me but here is what I think.

If a woman is in a wheelchair and wants to have children with her man, then they must have the right to I.V.F. to raise a family. Couples must not be denied having a family and this poster is pro-I.V.F. Yes, I.V.F. is not perfect, but science advances.

When you deny I.V.F. to a couple who wants children but mom can’t give birth, it is telling them indirectly that they will live and die lonely people-know people who say how lonely their lives are because they didn’t have kids. They have had other things in life, but are lonely because they did not have kids. I.V.F. is something I support because there are people who go take a lot of trouble to have kids and there are people who die lonely because they didn’t have kids. Yes, the Catholic Church differs with me but that is what I think and there are Catholics who support I.V.F.

Now a question for you. As I said, I have two beautiful daughters as a result of IVF, and they wouldn’t be here without it. I was married in the Church, hence I promised to raise my children Catholic, and I deeply want to. However, I struggle with what exactly I’m supposed to tell them - and what message is the Church sending them about how God feels - when they are taught that the “act” leading to their existence was “gravely wrong” (but oh, by the way, you’re God’s children)?. No one under 30 is even going to remotely interpret that as anything besides “your existence is wrong and shouldn’t have happened”.

That’s a fantastic message to send a kid, that morally you don’t really belong…

Your quote above is just juvenile. I would imagine it would be handled the same way many victims of rape would explain it. The rapist committed a sin but the child is an innocent. You could just customize it for your situation. We wanted you so much that yes, we broke the rules. You are my love, my life and I feel blessed. I’m sure any parent would know exactly what to say. I have children and I could think of a bunch of loving responses. I personally would take responsibility for my own sin. If a child is born out of wedlock and never knows their father, a simple I sinned but God blessed me anyway with you. I’m sorry if you feel wronged but I love you with all my heart.

By the way using Jesus as an example of IVF is so wrong. God, who created all things from nothing is not bound by the same rules that his creatures are bound.

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