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March 26, 2009



I'm still pretty confused, but as best I can tell, the difference is that now researchers can apply for federal funds to work on any of the stem cell lines that were created with private or state funds and are already in existence. Instead of being limited to the lines allowed by Bush, they can now have access to the hundreds of lines in existence that have been created with private or state funds.

Again, there is still a law that prohibits using federal funds to do research that destroys embryos (Dickey-Wicker), but now you can use federal funds to do research on other lines than those allowed by Bush.

From my perspective, this seems to open the door for some manipulation of the system, where a researcher could do some research with private funds, destroying embryos from a fertility clinic and creating a new stem cell line, and then use that existing line to do research with federal funds.

Perhaps I am misundestanding, but that's the best I can make sense of it.

As I understand it, the stem cell research that Obama is supposedly promoting uses embryos that are from unused fertility treatments. Now it seems to me that if stem cell research is really immoral, then in vitro fertilization treatments that create these embryos is also immoral.

However, I have never heard a conservative Christian objecting to in vitro fertilization treatments. I think that is an inconsistency. I see little difference between keeping embryos frozen, destroying them, or conducting research with them. If they are persons and have rights, all of those activities would be immoral.


I agree with you. I am a conservative Christian, and once I was made aware of the facts I came to the conclusion that anyone who chooses in vitro should not fertilize more eggs than they are capable of safely carrying to term. I believe I have heard this statement mentioned on this blog before, too. I wouldn't go so far as to say in vitro, per se, is immoral but the way it is done now is.

You are right, it is an inconsistency. It most likely results from the fact that the average Christian has not thought the issue through any more than they have thought through the ethical implications of the various methods of birth control. I find this incredibly frustrating.

Though, I'm not sure which is worse: general ignorance of the facts or those who claim to be pro-life with regards to Abortion and ESCR don't want to be inconvenienced by their own views when it comes to infertility or birth control methods. I have witnessed the latter firsthand and am utterly ashamed that anyone who claims to follow Christ could have such an attitude.


>>"Now it seems to me that if stem cell research is really immoral, then in vitro fertilization treatments that create these embryos is also immoral."

I think you've jumped from A to C. I do not understand the relationship you purport here.

Said "research" (the harvesting of stem cells from embryo) destroys a human in the embryonic stage of development. In vitro is in a completely different realm, seeking and resulting in an outcome that is the polar opposite of the former.

Additionally, you move on to religion from there...?

I've never heard of anyone, per se, objecting to in vitro...Christian or otherwise. I don't follow why you pinpoint "conservative Christians" here.

I suspect, perhaps, the reason you may not have heard "a conservative Christian" (or folks from another ilk) objecting to in vitro fertilization is:

...The intention, plan, and hope of all parties involved in the "creation" and implanting of said embryo is that the human embryo

(I.E. eventually blow out birthday candles, dress up as a cowboy or Cinderella to go trick or treating, get a biology degree,...maybe even run for President. In other words, be allowed to grow up.)

Now as for me personally, I'm not necessarily a proponent of in vitro. I think the sheer number of orphans is sidelined because those who may not be able to have their own children (i.e. same immediate gene pool) seek to have in vitro. I would love to see more children adopted. So I might be the one "conservative Christian" who would not support in vitro...but, granted, it would be for a different reason. I think the need (in the case of adopting orphans and children who need families) should outweigh the "want" of pursuing in vitro to have one's "own." That's probably a bit "too" conservative for some.

"However, I have never heard a conservative Christian objecting to in vitro fertilization treatments."

From what I understand (from a Catholic college professor I once discussed this with), Catholicism teaches that all IVF is immoral, in part because the womb is sacred and IVF is an unnatural intrusion into it. (Catholics please correct me if I'm wrong.)

"Apparently, improving his paygrade hasn't improved the President's understanding of the ethical issues."


>>From what I understand (from a Catholic college professor I once discussed this with), Catholicism teaches that all IVF is immoral, in part because the womb is sacred and IVF is an unnatural intrusion into it. (Catholics please correct me if I'm wrong.)>>

I would say, (speaking as a Catholic with degrees in Philosophy and Theology), that there are a host of moral problems with IVF. The obvious issue of separating procreation from marital conjugal love is the primary moral issue mentioned in the Catechism. Depending on how the procedure is carried out, there is also potential for moral problems such as masturbation, treating a child as a "right" or even a commodity, IVF used by an unmarried person or homosexual "couple", surrogacy, and selective name a few. IVF is a moral hornets nest. The Church's teaching on this is clear and available at

Thanks Ryan. I would have to agree that "separating procreation from marital conjugal love" is morally unacceptable, and it's exactly what has happened in our culture.

As I understand (perhaps someone here has more information)...a Los Angeles fertility clinic is now touting a couple can request particular physical characteristics they'd prefer to have in "their" child (i.e. hair color, eye color, gender, etc.)

We have become what we once stood on battlefields and foreign shores to fight against.

This "explosion of knowledge" of the past quarter century has brought us full circle back to the serpent's whisper, "Ye shall be as God." And once again, we bite.

>>> "separating procreation from marital conjugal love" is morally unacceptable

Which moral principle is being violated?


The practice of IVF is a conduit for a number of immoral endeavors...

If I could answer with a word, it would perhaps be "greed."

(Some may also offer that it violates the moral principle of "patience".)

>>The contrarian Lord Robert Winston, one of the pioneers of IVF, has once again attacked his colleagues in the IVF industry, this time for having been corrupted by money and for exploiting women who are desperate to get pregnant. “One of the major problems facing us in healthcare is that IVF has become a massive commercial industry,” he said at the Guardian Hay Festival. “It’s very easy to exploit people by the fact that they’re desperate and you’ve got the technology which they want, which may not work.”Lord Winston was particularly scathing about his London colleagues: “Amazing sums of money are being made through IVF. It is really rather depressing to consider that some IVF treatments in London are charged at 10 times the fee that is charged in Melbourne, where there is excellent medicine, where IVF is just as successful, where they have comparable salaries. So one has to ask oneself what has happened. What has happened, of course, is that money is corrupting this whole technology.”

Taken from:

David, thank you for the response, although what I was asking is what moral principle is violated by "separating procreation from marital conjugal love"? Yes, perhaps patience is lacking for those pursuing IVF, but what I'm looking for is the reason why "separating procreation from marital conjugal love" is a moral infraction IN AND OF ITSELF, as was asserted earlier.


Perhaps Naturallawyer and Ryan could weigh in as well, but I would categorize such undertaking as the intentional "creation" of orphans.

Since procreation should entail both "the having" - and "the raising" - of children, the fact that both the marital and the love aspects are absent gives me a moment of pause when considering IVF.

(I would also add it increases the number of single women who do not wish to marry, but wish to bear children. It's a carrot on a stick, so to speak. The intentional pursuit of single parenthood gains momentum as science asks "What if" and proceeds outside the realm of family stability, obligation, and healing.)

Its science for science's sake (and profit), not to expand the capabilities of science for medicinal pursuits.

Science (and I love science BTW) should be practiced as a service to society. I do not believe scientific endeavors should be pursued merely for the sake of answering "I-wonder-if-we-could..." with no consideration for social and cultural consequences. I believe with IVF, the main - and unspoken - purpose of science is to serve itself.

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