For the couples struggling with infertility, the arrival of new technology and medical breakthroughs that can both identify the issue and help them to get pregnant have been the light at an otherwise very dark tunnel. Artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, sperm washes, donor eggs and surrogacy have assisted many to either carry children with some or all of their DNA, or to have others bear biological children for them.
Now Pope Benedict XVI has called that “arrogance” and is telling them that if God doesn’t want them to have their own babies, they should just accept His will.
According to the Daily Mail, “The Pope reiterated the Church’s stance against artificial procreation, telling infertile couples they should refrain from trying to conceive through any method other than conjugal relations. ‘The human and Christian dignity of procreation, in fact, doesn’t consist in a “product”, but in its link to the conjugal act, an expression of the love of the spouses of their union, not only biological but also spiritual,’ Benedict said. He told the specialists in his audience to resist ‘the fascination of the technology of artificial fertility’, warning against ‘easy income, or even worse, the arrogance of taking the place of the Creator’.”
Not all Catholics are willing to simply accept his condemnation of infertility treatments, however. Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, dismissed the Pope’s comments as another sign of the church being out of touch with the realities of everyday believers. “Catholics around the world will be saddened at the label ‘arrogant’ being applied to couples seeking help to have children and the doctors who try to help them. The pope’s remarks only serve to drive another wedge between people of faith and the church hierarchy. This attack on reproductive technologies is yet another display of the Vatican’s lack of empathy and understanding and a vain attempt to hold back scientific development as well as impede access to reproductive technologies for couples around the world.”
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