Embryonic stem cell dillema


#1

As Catholics, when we are presented with two undesirable choices we choose that which does the least harm. However, when it comes to stem cell research on currently frozen embryos I’m at a loss. Perhaps someone can shed some light on this for me.

The two undesireable choices are:

  1. Simply dispose of the embryo which causes death.
  2. Do research on the embryo which causes death.

Is the Church opposed to choice #2? If so, what do they make of choice #1? Adoption of embryos can lead to cases where siblings meet and marry without ever knowing it, so that’s out. Is there another choices that I’m not seeing?

Thanks for your moral guidance!!

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#2

There is a third option, which apologist Mary Beth Bonnacci has written about: Implant the embryos in adoptive surrogate mothers and allow the children to live. Although artificial insemination is intrinsically evil, the fact that these children already exist means that they can be licitly implanted in otherwise sterile mothers looking to have children, so long as moral clarity is maintained.


#3

Isn’t the answer that they’re both wrong? What situation would you be forced into makig such a difficult decision Nancy?

(I have an aunt in LA called Nancy!):slight_smile:


#4

[quote=Dr. Colossus]There is a third option, which apologist Mary Beth Bonnacci has written about: Implant the embryos in adoptive surrogate mothers and allow the children to live. Although artificial insemination is intrinsically evil, the fact that these children already exist means that they can be licitly implanted in otherwise sterile mothers looking to have children, so long as moral clarity is maintained.
[/quote]

Hi Dr. Colossus! :wave:

What is “moral clarity” in the context of adoption of embryos?

Adopting of embryos can lead to cases of siblings reproducing without realizing it. Does the good that could come from adopting embryos outweigh this danger?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#5

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Hi Dr. Colossus! :wave:
[/quote]

Hi!

What is “moral clarity” in the context of adoption of embryos?

Artificial insemination (procreation via subterfuge of the conjugal act) = Immoral
Implantation of a viable embryo = Morally licit in some circumstances

Adopting of embryos can lead to cases of siblings reproducing without realizing it. Does the good that could come from adopting embryos outweigh this danger?

I’m not sure I understand your question. Do you mean a form of incest?


#6

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Implantation of a viable embryo = Morally licit in some circumstances

[/quote]

I was told even implanting a viable embryo inside a surrogate mother is intrinsically evil and against Church teachings. You cant do evil(implantation) to stop evil(intentially kill the zygotes). Perhaps leaving them frozen is the best and lesser immoral choice for now.


#7

[quote=Des]I was told even implanting a viable embryo inside a surrogate mother is intrinsically evil and against Church teachings. You cant do evil(implantation) to stop evil(intentially kill the zygotes).
[/quote]

I’m looking for any kind of Church teaching that suggests that implantation is intrinsically evil. “Surrogate motherhood”, as defined by a woman who carries an implanted child to term with no intention of keeping it, is intrinsically evil. However, the question of a mother who carries the child with the intent to keep it has not been answered to my knowledge (not that my knowledge is very expansive on this point).

Perhaps leaving them frozen is the best and lesser immoral choice for now.

Unfortuanately, this is not an option either. According to Cardinal Ratzinger’s Instruction for the Respect of Human Life:

The freezing of embryos, even when carried out in order to preserve the life of an embryo - cryopreservation - constitutes an offence against the respect due to human beings by exposing them to grave risks of death or harm to their physical integrity and depriving them, at least temporarily, of maternal shelter and gestation, thus placing them in a situation in which further offences and manipulation are possible.


#8

Adopting of embryos can lead to cases of siblings reproducing without realizing it. Does the good that could come from adopting embryos outweigh this danger?

[quote=Dr. Colossus]

I’m not sure I understand your question. Do you mean a form of incest?

[/quote]

Yes.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Yes.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Since the embryo is already formed (we’re not just talking about an egg here), 100% of its DNA has already been received. Implanting an embryo, even in a sibling, would not result in incest.


#10

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Since the embryo is already formed (we’re not just talking about an egg here), 100% of its DNA has already been received. Implanting an embryo, even in a sibling, would not result in incest.
[/quote]

Yikes Dr. Colossus!! :bigyikes:

I didn’t make myself very clear! Let me give you an example.

My best friend’s son was in vitro. There are embryos that are yet unused. A couple comes along and adopts a few of the embryos and has a baby girl. One day that girl and my friend’s son meet, fall in love, get married and have children of their own. Problem is they are brother and sister and have no idea.

Does that make more sense?? Sorry for the confusion. You must have though I was a real nut!

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Adoption of embryos can lead to cases where siblings meet and marry without ever knowing it, so that’s out.

[/quote]

I don’t believe that’s sufficient reason to rule out this option. Have a blood test prior to getting married. If you are siblings, don’t get married.

I don’t believe adoption of embryos is a bad idea, given the already lousy circumstances. In fact, it may be the only moral option.


#12

It is quite simple to me:

I won’t ever knowingly take any medicine developed by murdering human beings.

I have no right to benefit from their deaths, and taking it would legitimate their unwilling sacrifice. Also we must as Christians give witness to what is right.
I doubt much the Church would ever command individual Christians to go to their deaths over this issue or suffer illness because of conscientious objection, but I would rather die than take these “final solutions” and I am not first person to have said that.

It is a deadly euphemism to call it research. It is done without the informed consent of individual human beings and worse still it results in their death.

If we could do this to 12 cell embyronic humans, why can’t we do it to 12 week year old fetal humans or harvest the organs from 7 month olds - seven month olds genetically engineered to grow without heads - making the theft of their organs and subsequent medicinal murder that much more palatable.

Doesn’t anyone see where this is going. We are living in a cruel post-human future.

Reject it with all your might, go to jail if you have to but do what you must in your own capacity and never accept this anti-Christian ethos.

“To be a Christian is to suffer”. I cannot for the life of me imagine Christ taking a medicine created from the destruction of innocent human life.


#13

Of course, all the evil choices are a result of the initial evil choice: creating embryos outside the womb. That is intrinsically evil, but we compound it by creating more embryos than can be implanted. In effect we create embryos knowing that most must die.


#14

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Yikes Dr. Colossus!! :bigyikes:

I didn’t make myself very clear! Let me give you an example.

My best friend’s son was in vitro. There are embryos that are yet unused. A couple comes along and adopts a few of the embryos and has a baby girl. One day that girl and my friend’s son meet, fall in love, get married and have children of their own. Problem is they are brother and sister and have no idea.

Does that make more sense?? Sorry for the confusion. You must have though I was a real nut!

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Ok, I understand now. Yes, this would be a danger, but then again it’s a possibility with any separate adoption, embryonic or otherwise. Say a mother has a son and puts him up for adoption. A couple years later, she has a daughter and puts her up for adoption. Same situation, but we don’t chuck the whole idea of adoption just because of some “what if” scenarios.


#15

[quote=George2]It is quite simple to me:

I won’t ever knowingly take any medicine developed by murdering human beings.

“To be a Christian is to suffer”. I cannot for the life of me imagine Christ taking a medicine created from the destruction of innocent human life.

[/quote]

Of course not. No one is debating that the way these embryos were formed was horribly wrong. The question is, now that so many new lives exist, what do we do with them? We cannot kill them, and we cannot let them remain in stasis forever. So what is the best moral solution?


#16

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]One day that girl and my friend’s son meet, fall in love, get married and have children of their own. Problem is they are brother and sister and have no idea.
[/quote]

One other clarification I should point out is that if they don’t know and have had no reason to find out, there is no culpability in this. Though incest may be objectively evil, no sin was committed in this case because of insufficient knowledge.


#17

Sorry Doc, I forgot to add that yes embryo adoption is morally licit.

As you and others noted, it is not preferred since IVF is always immoral, but for those who have done this immoral act, it is better for them to donate their extra embyros to others rather than let them waste away in stasis or worse still be murdered in experiments or used as medicines or cosmetics.

Basically what the church is saying is that life is precious, and even though IVF is wrong because it separates the unitive and procreative aspects of sexuality, the subsequent lives created by this sinful technology should not be sacrificed any more than a child created by a rape should be destroyed.

Canada’s first embryo adoption agency opened in spring of 2002.


#18

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Hi Dr. Colossus! :wave:

What is “moral clarity” in the context of adoption of embryos?

Adopting of embryos can lead to cases of siblings reproducing without realizing it. Does the good that could come from adopting embryos outweigh this danger?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

That situation is not any different that the risk of the same thing happening with any confidential adoption. In fact, possibly less so because the parentage could very well be known by the adopting parents.

Besides the evil already mentioned regarding surrogacy (carrying with the intent to give up) the evil is that the child is conceived in a manner that isn’t consistent with moral principles. In the case of embryo adoption, the immoral act was already acomplished with no knowledge or cooperation from the future adoptive parent.


#19

Nancy,

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]The two undesireable choices are:

  1. Simply dispose of the embryo which causes death.
  2. Do research on the embryo which causes death.

Is the Church opposed to choice #2?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Choice #2 would include research for a purpose.

What purpose ?

What if the research is successful ?

Wouldn’t that encourage more medical/therapeutic uses of frozen embryos ?

Destroying or letting the embryos die - will end the evil.
No one profits from it.

Research encourages this evil !
Many people will find ways to profit from it.

Yikes !

todd


#20

[quote=itsjustdave1988]I don’t believe that’s sufficient reason to rule out this option. Have a blood test prior to getting married. If you are siblings, don’t get married.
[/quote]

Hi itsjustdave1988! :wave:

Is that what the blood test is for before marriage. I didn’t need one and never knew what they used to be for.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


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