Is invitro fertilization always a gravely immoral act?

My question is geared toward non-catholics who practice in vitro fertilization and think it’s a necessary procedure when all else fails to conceive. Many folks do not realize the catholic church’s teaching on ivf. In order for a sinful act to be a mortal sin, one aspect includes the realization that the act is immoral. So therefore, can an individual be given a free pass should they practice ivf without knowing about the gravity of such actions?

Rosslyn said** : “My question is geared toward non-catholics who practice in vitro fertilization …Many folks do not realize the catholic church’s teaching on ivf … can an individual be given a free pass should they practice ivf without knowing about the gravity of such actions?”**

OK, this is to answered for a non-Catholic.

If you are a Christian (but not a Catholic), you are fully allowed to get In Vitro Fertilization without it being a Sin.
There are NO Protestant denominations (or weren’t 4 years ago), that had ANY restriction on IVF.

Of course, like the Catholics, most of the Protestant denominations call Abortion a Sin (but they don’t excommunicate their members who have one).
And, like Catholics, a few Protestant denominations object to Birth Control (Pill and IUD) but not Condom usage.

So, the quick-and-easy answer to the question is : Yes, they all get a Free Pass on IVF therapy.

If you are a Catholic, then you are required to adhere to the Rules our Popes have made.
If you are a Protestant, then you should follow the Rules of your Pastor (and to a lesser degree, the Church headquarters).
No doubt that God allows each Christian sect to make its own Rules, and judges its adherents to the Rules of their own Church.

The Catechism teaches:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

In vitro fertilization, IVF, is a always sin whose object is grave matter. This is true because of the unnatural acts and also the deliberate destruction of human embryos. This is equally true for Catholics and for all others.

Many persons, however, do not have full knowledge of the gravity of the immorality of IVF and thus not deliberate consent. This ignorance should not be considered a “free pass” to sin.

Sexual & procreative ethics apply universally to mankind. There are those who are anywhere from exceedingly more culpable to exceedingly less culpable for how they conduct themselves, depending on their circumstances, but everybody is a part of God’s creation and are bound to the same morality. Fasting on Good Friday is a rule. The evil of procreation via IVF is a moral truth.

Alllllll rightie then! Here’s how it works:

They harvest eggs from a woman’s ovaries. Then a man has to “donate” some sperm. Either from the spouse of the woman who donated her eggs but not always, perhaps an anonymous donation. Either way the man MUST practice **masturbation to ejaculation **to have seed for the fertilization. He must do this several times over to have enough to attempt fertilization in a petri dish of the woman’s eggs. She has probably been given hormones to alter the number of eggs she will produce as well, so her menstrual cycles are altered as well. Let’s what else? Oh, some hormones are harvested from donated ovaries and other human sources. That too can be sinful. Okay now here’s the part that I consider the worst: If eggs and sperm meet in the petri dish and begin to multiply, they harvest only the “viable” embryos the rest are disposed of. That means that little tiny babies who aren’t selected for implantation in either the original woman’s womb or another woman’s womb will simply be killed. They aren’t good enough for the rest of the journey to baby.

Seeing the gravity of the sins committed yet? NOT VENIAL.


Yes it is alwasy a grave evil. That is what intrinsically evil means.

No one gets a “free pass” with God. We will all be judged, and it will be be based on objective truth and our search for it, our ablity to understand it, our embracing or rejecting of it.

One who is sophisticated and monetarily well off enough to procure IVF has not lived in a cave in deepest darkest Africa and is well aware of the issues surrounding the creation and destruction of embryos in this process even if they are unconvinced about the “wrongness” of creating children in a lab. So, no, there is no “free pass” although culpabilty might be diminished based on a number of factors.

Frankly, I seriously doubt that a non-Catholic who had IVF is committing a grave sin. One can’t commit a grave sin unless they know it IS one. Most protestants I’ve ran into–and even some Catholics are clueless that IVF is even a sin to begin with. To these individuals, if anything, they feel that they are going even a step beyond to bring life into this world. Frankly.Catholics at least should know that IVF is a sin–but many don’t.

But it nonetheless remains grave matter.

Absolutely it remains a grave matter–especially to those of us as Catholics who understand it as such and know better. Unfortunately, there are many people out there of different faiths–and even some Catholic–who don’t consider it a sin and infact look at it as a blessing for infertility. They aren’t deliberately sinning–they simply don’t know.

“Grave matter” refers to the deed being performed, not the weight of the guilt applied to the individual, which makes it a constant.

It doesn’t matter who is receiving IVF. You’re still violating the unitive nature of conjugal relations within matrimony.

Hello Starrsmom.

I disagree. That is like saying Protestants don’t know running someone over with a car is killing either.

They aren’t ignorant totally and in fact many do read the Bible and the Ten Commandments are very clear in most Bibles. The fact that some of the folks you’ve run into are “clueless that IVF is even a sin to begin with,” could be that some Protestants (and even some Catholics) take an automatic opposite stance to much that the Church speaks loudly against and IVF is one of those things we’ve shouted about recently. Plainly: if we say it’s wrong, they automatically say it’s okay for no better reason that we are against it.

Then there is the grey area of exactly how much knowledge is required for* sufficient *knowledge to be attained in order for those notable 3 factors to be filled? Any knowledge? some knowledge? or a PhD? How much is enough? God alone knows doesn’t He.

Practically speaking, any knowledge of the process of IVF reveals it’s horrible nature. And one doesn’t just go to the local Walmart to have an IVF. No. Sorry. Much counseling and information is given and exchanged to and between all parties to it, so there is plenty of knowledge involved. It is an inexcusable sin of a very mortal nature. Careful about giving a false notion of invincible ignorance to Protestants just because they’re assumed ignorant of sin. You’d be surprised. Some have more knowledge of things theological than many Catholics.


I think you’re underestimating the level of darkness over these more ‘Catholic specific’ ethics. When I was a protestant I thought orthodox Catholics were eccentric on these subjects (I’m 27-years-old. I didn’t know the CC was against contraception until several years ago, and I didn’t know it was against IVF until 9 months ago). I wasn’t rude or demeaning towards their beliefs in sexuality. I was polite & warm, both in external appearance and in thought, in the way a person would be polite & warm towards a stupid and ignorant child for not knowing how to add or subtract. I heard about how Catholics are against contraception and such through the 3rd person, and I would just shake my head bemusedly.

And this is coming from a more conservative background. It’s hard to say what kind of upbringing a contemporary mainline protestant would get.

Add this to the historically feeble evangelization culture of the CC in America compared to evangelical counterparts. For some, not only are these notions of morality distantly removed, but they are literally unheard of. It’s very unlikely for them to ever catch a scent of it from a Catholic in their immediate life. They would have to grow up going to a Catholic school or something, and supposedly, even that might not be totally reliable. Short of that, they would have to personally research it as an adult with zero external aid from other people in their life.

Abortion, fornication, adultery, and gay marriage are all still championed by most (active) protestants. Of course, there is also no working theology on indissolubility and annulments, but that is largely connected to having no diocesan authority to even manage such things. Contraception/IVF have officially gone into the realm of obscurity.

TK41 said** : “Sexual & procreative ethics apply universally to mankind… everybody is a part of God’s creation, and are [therefore] bound to the same morality. Fasting on Good Friday is a rule. The evil of procreation via IVF is a moral truth.”**

Hmm, I don’t see IVF as a Universal violation of Moral Truth.
Don’t get my wrong, I am not for this practice.

Procreation “occurs” when a Sperm enters into an Egg.
God set it up that way.
Hubby inserts Sperm into Wifey … if one of his Sperm gets lucky, then she becomes Pregnant.

In IVF, a Sperm enters into an Egg.
This is way God intended a procreation to occur.
But, in this case, (because his Sperm are unable to fertilize an Egg), a Doctor causes the Sperm to enter inside of the Egg.

On its Face, this is NOT “evil” as you say.
The Catholic Church has banned this Practice because of another reason altogether.
The Pope is disturbed that many fertilized Eggs (Human Beings) are extracted from the Wife, and are THEN killed after the IVF procedure.
This makes each IVF procedure, as an after-issue, become a multiple Abortion a year-or-2 later.

This is not true at all.

Yes, the multiple abortions caused by IVF are very grave matter. But they are not the only grave matter found within IVF.

Any intentional conception outside of the conjugal act, unless instituted by God [e.g. the Incarnation], is grave matter in the Catholic Church.

So yes, even if you ignore the masturbation [grave matter], the abortions [grave matter that cries to Heaven for vengeance], etc., etc., it is still grave matter. It just happens to involve tons of individual sins of grave matter. IVF is one of the worst sins anyone can commit in life.

The sin is objectively a grave sin. With full knowledge and full consent, a couple committing this sin would be in mortal sin. If they had no knowledge of the church and its truth, the culpability would be lessened to the point of it being a venial sin.

Based on the posts it seems that culpability would be lessened for most who procure ivf due to lack of knowledge of Church teachings. It is grave matter, but doubt mortal sin would be incurred.

I’ve know many, many Catholics who have done if ivf and are unaware of the teaching.

If non-Catholics consist of males and females with rational souls, then this morality applies to them.

IVF is sort of a reverse scenario of contraception. Contraception is evil because you are removing the procreative aspect of conjugal relations, and all conjugal relations are to be unitive and procreative in nature, by the husband climaxing inside of his wife, the two of whom are in a bond that is exclusive and inseparable.

IVF you are removing the unitive aspect of conjugal relations and making it strictly procreative, likewise corrupting the matrimonial bond. I suspect an era is coming in our world where this proclamation from the Holy See will become far, far more relevant than what it currently is. It will set Catholics apart more than ever before.

Abortion is an evil in of itself, but this has nothing to do with why IVF was condemned.

I’m not going to get into any moral fist fights with anyone, but when you realize that almost all protestant sects 100% accept artificial birth control–and some even accept abortion—it shouldn’t be that hard for you to realize that many non Catholics also consider IVF as a very GOOD thing–a way to help infertile couples who desperately want a family to do so. If someone is taught this way basically from their pulpit, it’s hardly odd that they would see nothing wrong with it. Yes, the Catholic church has an issue with IVF. I understand and accept that fact. I also understand, however, that many, many protestants look at the issue from a totally different perspective. That’s just a simple fact.:shrug:

Close friends of mine (Catholics tried and true) tried for ten years to have children. Finally, they decided to go the IVF route, fully knowing that it was not allowed. They ultimately conceived, and their daughter is now 20. They ceased the practice after that pregnancy.

These friends had a lot of issues with the Church, but finally came to grips with it through confession. It was a heart wrenching decision for them.

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