U.S. Bishops to Urge Ethical Infertility Treatments

Seek to Offer Hope and Encouragement to Couples

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WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops will debate a document next month that encourages couples struggling with infertility to embrace «legitimate» treatments to fulfill their desire to be parents.

During the bishops’ fall meeting — Nov. 16-19 — the prelates will debate and discuss a document titled «Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology,» drafted by the conference’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The text affirms the necessary link between the sexual act and procreation, and explains the Church’s moral opposition to artificial reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, embryo donation and adoption, egg and sperm donation, cloning, and surrogacy.

«The Church has compassion for couples suffering from infertility and wants to be of real help to them,» explains the draft document. «At the same time, some ‘reproductive technologies’ are not legitimate ways to solve those problems. We bishops of the United States offer this reflection to explain why.

«We also offer it to provide hope — real hope that couples can fulfill their procreative potential and build a family while fully respecting God’s design for their marriage and for the gift of children.»

The text will include a section of questions and answers, testimonies from couples, and encouragement.

Valid treatments for infertility, the text explains, include hormonal treatment and other medications, surgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes, natural family planning, and means for alleviating male infertility factors.

The document explains that these methods are acceptable because they «do not substitute for the married couple’s act of loving union; rather, they assist this act in reaching its potential for giving rise to a new human life.»

The text requires the approval of two-thirds of the bishops.

This document is a companion to the 2007 educational resource «Married Love and the Gift of Life,» which explains the Church’s teaching on contraception.

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