Baptism Following In-Vitro Fertilization Via Anonymous Donor?

Does the Church have any regulations concerning a request for Baptism of an infant of an unmarried morther who conceived by in-vitro fertilization from an anonymous sperm donor? I realize the baby is not at fault (obviously), and shouldn’t be penalized as such. However, as the mother’s actions went against what the Church teaches is the moral (and natural) law, one question would appear to be the degree of the mother’s intent to raise the child Catholic. Of course, she could have subsequently repented of her actions. Is there any bar to Baptism here?

I don’t recall the Church ever asking how a child was conceived when the parents present him/her for baptism.

There are many couples today who take advantage of IVF to conceive their children and since it’s never been addressed in church that I can recall most wouldn’t even know that the Church opposes this. If we don’t ask married couples how their children were conceived why would it become a concern when it’s the child of an unmarried parent? We ask the name of the father. If the mother declines to answer or says “I don’t know” that’s usually as far as it goes.

The child is not responsible for the sins of the mother. There is no restriction on being baptized in the Catholic Church if the mother is willing to raise this child in the Church.

If she is not - and this is my personal opinion - the child should at least be properly baptized somewhere.

No, not unless I add the assumption that the mother is not Catholic, living in sin, or some other consideration.

There is a good chance that the woman had no idea that the Church has offered any guidance about in-vitro. That has been my experience with my fellow parishioners.

I think the real issue is whether the child will be raised up as a Catholic. The circumstances surrounding his conception may be relevant to the extent they bear on this issue.

Sad but true. And so it’s worth stressing that the Church does oppose it. See CCC at 2376-2377.

The requirements for an infant to be baptized in the Catholic Church is the same for all children:

Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a well-founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

It would be up to the priest, during saramental preparation, to determine if a well-founded hope exists. The priest would interview the mother and determine her intent, how she is living her life, etc.

Whether or not the mother had repented from her gravely wrong acts and whether or not she intends to live a Catholic life from here on out would certainly be *part *of the discernment process the priest might use to determine whether or not there is a well-founded hope of the child being brought up according to the laws of the Church.

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