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IVF Introduction

  • IVF= in virto fertilisation
  • Latin for in glass
  • Allows for infertile couples to have children
  • PROCESS= a womans eggs and male sperm extracted and fertilised outside of the womb in lab setting before being inserted back into the mothers womb
  • INVOLVE UK LAW ON IVF - 23-42 year olds allowed 3 cycles and all want to be families have to go through a restriction test i.e. find out if they have a criminal record etc...


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  • Rights of the embryo= when does life actually begin? what you believe determines if you believe the embryo has rights the same as everyone else. Some believe life begins at conception while others believe its after 14 days.
  • Its a very costly treatment anywhere from £2000 -  £7000 per cycle. Can lead to couples being exploited financially as well as emotionally.
  • Egg sharing= women can recieve a reduce cost of IVF if they donate their eggs. Leads to exploitation of women and means someone else is having their biological child.
  • Embryo selection=embryos that are deemed unsuitable are destroyed. Leads to us thinking if we value some lives over others (normally seen as wrong but with IVF its fine)
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Catholic Church

  • Sanctity of life= follow the idea that all life is sacred and thatit belongs to God therefore he only has the right to give life and take life away (IVF therefore is playing God)
  • Life begins at conception= therefore the destruction of surplus embryos is murder and goes against the ten commandments- 'thou shalt not kill'
  • Pope Pius XII= IVF is "Mechanical adultery" as in some cases it can involve a third party in the marriage.
  • Catechism= IVF is completely wrong. A husband and wife arent giving themselves up to each other as sex is the only act for procreation IVF is therefore wrong.
  • AO2
  • Too strict (absolutist)
  • Doesnt apply to modern day society
  • adoption should be an alternative (suggested by the catholic church) but doesnt stop the desire to have your own child
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Natural Law

  • Telos= Greek word for end/purpose. World is as God intended everything has a purpose and therefore interfering with this is wrong.
  • The only correct way to achieve the Telos of having a child is through sex. Procreation without unification (which occurs in a marriage) is unnatural and therefore IVF is wrong.
  • Real goods= From God, When we use our reason properly, adoption is a real good.
  • Apparent goods= Not from God, when we are blinded by desires, IVF appears as an apparent good as it is a desperate act not taking into account the poor success rate and expense.
  • Primary precept of preservation of life= includes life of the innocent (embryos). IVF can result in several miscarriages, embryo selection, selective reduction and destruction of embryos. Therefore this breaks the primary precept.
  • AO2
  • Too strict (absolutist)
  • Doesn't allow couples to fufilthe purpose of marriage
  • Removes peoples right to have a family
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Church of England (Liberal protestants)

  • Life begins at 14 days= therefore IVF is not killing an innocent life and IVF is acceptable in all forms.
  • Family= believe that IVF should only take place within a married couple to still fufil the marital vows and have a family.
  • AO2
  • Better approach than then rigid one of Natural Law and the Catholic Church.
  • still places value on the importance of family life.
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Situation Ethics

  • Principle of Utility= Agape. Must produce a loving outcome for each individual situation.
  • IVF is the most loving thing if it helps a married couple complete their family but if it is used to se embryos its not the most loving thing to do.
  • Jesus= taught us to love our neighbour. Surely IVF allows us to do so in society. Especially if children will be a part of a loving home.
  • AO2
  • Judges each situation on its merits.
  • Agape can be applied by both Catholics and Atheists
  • Due to it being a relativist theory it hopefully avoids unjust acts from occuring
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Kantian Ethics

  • Secular theory= not religious.
  • Reason, Duty and Goodwill= possession of reasonmeans we can recognise good acts. Good acts are out of duty and are not hypothetical imperatives. A baby that is sought is a desired consequence therefore IVF is a hypothetical imperative.
  • Formula of Universability= "Act only as if the maxim of your action were to become universal law" IVF cannot be universalised as it would be impractical due to cost. Also not everyone should be allowed help e.g. Criminals.
  • Formula of Humanity= "Act as though you treat people (including yourself) never as a means to an end but as an end in themselves"
  • AO2
  • Deontological so its too rigid
  • Always exceptions to the rules.
  • However will appeal to those who may not be religious


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  • Secular theory= not religious
  • GHP= "Greatest happiness for the greatest number" depends on the situation as to whether it meets the GHP i.e providing a married couple a child would follow the GHP.
  • Hedonic Calculus= used to calculate pleasure i.e. duration od pleasure created by allowing a married couple to have a child however if IVF is unsuccessful it could create greater pain.
  • Rule Utilitarianism= Mill argues laws should be created using the GHP. So the law could be adapted to minimise pain by limiting the amount of cycles to reduce potential debt and the emotion and physical pain would be reduced.
  • AO2
  • Depends on the situation
  • Considers the majority
  • Only allowed if IVF will be successful otherwise the pain would outweigh the pleasure.
  • Appeals to the atheist.


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  • R.C.C and Natural Law to rigid doesnt allow couples to fufil the purpose of marriage
  • Church of England a better approach as it allows IVF but still places values on family life
  • Allows Christians to fufils God command to "Multiply"
  • Situation Ethics is a sensible choice. Its a more modern day theory, Created in the 60's for an ever changing society
  • Situation Ethics follows agape which can be applied by everyone. Doesnt allow IVF if it will not produce loving consequences
  • How could the God of Classical Theism not allow couples to have children? Surely IVF is allowing scientists to use their God given gifts/talens to help infertile couples.


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