Christianity and Assisted Reproduction
The Christian attitude related to assisted reproduction and infertility therapy differs inside its divisions, and furthermore, we shall learn about the official position of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.
The Roman Catholic Church
The main laws for good Catholic conduit are given in the wholly book, the Bible. Also tradition, which comes from church’ decisional boards, priests and dogmatic teachings establish certain limitations to the freedom of the believer. The catholic dogma contains 3 leading principles related to the status of the family, the child and reproduction. First principle commands the protection of the human being from the moment of its conception, thus strictly forbidding abortion. The second principle is related to the duty of procreation, as, just as in Judaism in the Old Testament God commends Adam and Eve to have children. Morally a child is the fruit of marriage, premarital sex is not allowed, and the Catholic Church condemns having a child outside the institution of marriage. The new-born has to embody the love between a husband and his wife and is considered the symbol of their eternal union. A third principle, which is related to integrity and dignity norms, must be taken into consideration when it comes to assisted reproduction ethics.
The Vatican has a clear position against assisted reproduction, ever since 1956, Pope Pius XII, defined artificial fecundation as immoral and illegal, because it affects human lives by separating procreation and sexual normal function. The criteria of this negative evaluation are found in respect, in the desire of defending and promoting human being’s fundamental rights to life and dignity and that person’s moral responsibility to God. Therefore modern medical techniques used in assisted reproduction like: IVF, ET, surrogate mothers, and embryo cryopreservation are not accepted by the Catholic Church. Moreover Catholic Church offers its respect and protection to the human being starting with its first seconds of existence; it considers the zygote, pre-embryo, embryo and fetus as persons and strongly disapproves research on embryos, cryopreservation and abortion.
The Eastern Orthodox Church
It was created in 1054 C after the Great Schism which divided Christianity in two: the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
In what concerns assisted reproduction, Eastern Orthodox Church, is not as strict as the Roman Catholic Church, allowing the medical or surgical treatment of infertility but it is against IVF and other assisted reproduction techniques, surrogate mother, donor sperm insemination-considered adultery, and embryo donation.
Basing its life-guiding principles on the old Christian Church and the creeds and teachings of the Apostles, the Anglican Church, allows assisted reproductive techniques, IVF and ET and allows the doctors to use sperm obtained after masturbation, however it forbids gametes donation. Anglican Church is not offering a moral status to the embryo, according to this Church moral can only be given to an individual with a well established personality.
Assisted Reproduction in Hinduism and Buddhism
Hinduism, the religion of the old Indo-European population, and the predominant religion of nowadays Indian–subcontinent, is based in the teachings of the sacred Vedas. However Hindu believes cover a large range or religious ideologies and philosophic systems starting with polytheism, atheism, pantheism and monotheism. They believe in reincarnation and karma as well as in human’s personal duty called dharma. In the Hindu world view, the human soul is eternal, it has to live many earthly lives in order to purify itself, to reach perfection and a higher state of existence called mokasha.
Hindu religion agrees with most of the assisted reproduction techniques, but it demands that the oocyte and the sperm used in the procedure to come from a married couple, this religion also accepts sperm donation but sets the condition that the donor be a close relative of the infertile husband.
Abortion is not prohibited and the adoption of a child which usually comes from a numerous family is also practiced.
Buddhism emerged in India around 500 BC and it is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama also known as The Buddha.
Buddhist philosophic system involves a long string of reincarnations and the final purification of the soul and its elevation and entrance in a superior state of existence called Nirvana.
Buddhism claims that for the process of reincarnation there are necessary three elements: the ovule, the sperm, and cosmic energy called Karma. Buddhism allows the use of IVF without restricting the access to this medical procedure to the married couples, sperm donation is also permitted.
A child conceived from donated genetic material has the right to meet his genetic parents as hi reaches maturity.