Would IVF still be wrong under these circumstances?

Let’s say a couple does IVF under the following circumstances:

  1. The husband’s sperm and wife’s egg are used – no donor sperm or eggs.

  2. The sperm is obtained through normal intercourse with a perforated condom, not through masturbation.

  3. All embryos are implanted and none are frozen or destroyed.

Would it still be wrong? If so, why?

Yes. IVF creates life using artificial methods. God intended new life to be the expression of the unitive AND procreative expression only found iin the marital act.

Yes. Under any circumstances.

But technically, the new life still came from the procreative/unitive lovemaking of a married couple. They used a perforated condom while engaging in the marital act…

I’m not saying I disagree that it is wrong… just seeking to clarify exactly why. :slight_smile:

But WHY is it wrong? I understand why masturbation, destroying embryos, and using donor sperm or eggs is wrong. I thought those were the main objections the Church had to IVF, especially destroying embryos. Why is making a baby without sex wrong, as long as those other evils are avoided?

I asked on another thread what the Church means by “unitive,” and haven’t gotten an answer. I don’t understand what “unitive” means.

Actually the bishop’s conference considered this situation and said that it is an open issue. The fact that a perferated condomn is used may be very important. It is technically possible that the wife was impregnated naturally, therefore making the act of intercourse both unitive and open to new life…

You may have a point and the fact that the bishops have not opined supports your view IMO.

I don’t know the answer, the bishops apparently don’t know the answer, so I suggest you won’t get a good answer here.

When in doubt, don’t do it!, God Bless, Memaw

When in doubt, use your well formed conscience. That’s what it’s there for. :wink:

God Bless.

Your initial premise is flawed. Tho the act may be unitive it is not procreative since fertilization takes place outside the act in a Petri dish. Fertilization is part of the marital act and that is why IVF is never justifiable.

Do you have a link to the statement made by the bishops? Everything I’ve found on the usccb site seems to say otherwise, that contraception must take place within the marital act and anything that involves a “third party”, i.e. a laboratory, would be immoral and go against the teachings of the Church.

Apparently it may be an open issue.

IVF is not an open issue. IVF is intrinsically evil.

GIFT is an open issue.

This is what GIFT is:


With GIFT conception is occurring in the woman’s fallopian tube, (as would occur naturally). Conception is not occurring in a petri dish in a lab.

From the Catechism:

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."167 2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children."168 "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person."169

Well, I’m no theologian, but it seems to me that said couple endangers the new life they created because of the unnatural process the little person will be subjected to before it will come to rest (possibly) within its mother’s womb. And why is the new person subjected to this? Answer: Because mother and father want to have a baby. They WANT! This is all about want–not the child’s need. It appears to be a case of placing human wants far above the WILL of God, which is focused on the need of the child. Also, if the first attempt is unsuccessful (child dies in the process), will the couple try it again (risk another little soul)? Will they continue this madness until they get what they WANT?! JPII’s Theology of the Body explains that the couple should, through prayer, accept their suffering (childlessness). They should carry their cross and not look for an expeditious way around this salvific suffering.

There is one problem to your scenario. The technician will evaluate the embryos that are created and will only implant the ones that are “viable”, making the odds that there will be some embryos they will not implant and will be destroyed.

Its wrong because the embryos are created outside the marital act, by a “third party”. Unitive means nothing comes between the marital act, between the husband and the wife. Creating an embryo outside the marital act violates the unitive nature because it introduces a “third party”, the laboratory.

Some interesting writings on this topic (or very closely related topic):



On the second piece, go to page 420 for the relevant discussion. Moral theologians are not in agreement on this point. Apparently, neither are the bishops. A perforated sheath (or condom) allows some fluid to enter the woman while collecting some for testing and potential subsequent reinsertion with eggs. The theologians who endorse this practice say that as a result of the perforations, the marital act is not frustrated. It is both unitive and open to potential procreation. It is what happens after that is more troubling in my view. What do the medical experts do with the collected fluid and is that morally permissible?

Like I said, I don’t know, and neither do minds better than mine. However, I do know that couples struggling with infertility are real people with real life problems, and they are working hard to overcome those problems in a way consistent with church teaching. It would be flippant of me to counsel them with “if in doubt don’t do it”. How cold, unfeeling and lacking in empathy and compassion would that make me?

These are very tough issues. We need to pray for these couples and for our church, that it provide them with some better guidance (and those of us who counsel them) than it presently does.

I agree! Even a well formed conscience may not be formed enough. When the Catholic Church as clear teachings on faith and morals, and in this case IVF…is there room for personal justification to do otherwise?

You are ABSOLUTELY correct and I was not clear. I apologize.

Any medical procedure must help further the act not replace it. It is not an open issue. It is wrong. Some forms of AI are licit because they do not replace the marital act as IVF does.

It was from the working papers from the bishops workshop on Human Vitae. I am searching but cannot seem to find a web link. I have a hard copy.

I wondered if that was the procedure you were actually talking about. It wasn’t making much sense to me.

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