Matters of life

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  • Absolute morality: what is morally right and wrond applies to all circumstances
  • Relative morality: what is morally right or wrong in any situation depends on its particular circumstance. 
  • Morality: a system of ethics about what is right or wrong
  • Ethics: the theory relating to morality 

What influences morality?

  •  religion, peer group, upbringing, age, culture, guilt, duty, conscience, happiness, life experiences.

How does religion influence morality?

  • religion gives us rules and principles, e.g. ten commandments, allows believers to confess sins, may be told to do something in a religious experience, religion states people will be punished for not following religious rules. 
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What makes humans special?

  • Humans are all different and unique
  • humans can create life
  • we can read and write
  • we can express ourselves
  • we can dream, have hopes and ambitions
  • we can form loving relationships
  • we can think existencially 
  • we beat the odds (disease, conception)
  • we can form sentiment
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having children

Why do people have children?

  • experience family life
  • have someone to love
  • carry on family name
  • save siblings
  • because you want to
  • pass on genes
  • company, to look after them

Ways to have children

  • sex
  • IVF
  • fostering
  • adoption
  • donor
  • surrogacy
  • artificial insemination
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Artificial insemination

Artificial insemination by husband (AIH) : where a woman is made pregnant by the sperm of her husband/partner but not through having sexual relations with him. The process is used when the husband has a low sperm count.

Artificial insemination by donor (AID): where a woman is made pregnant by the sperm of a man other than her partner, but not through having sexual relations with him.  The process is used when the woman's partner is infertile, or he has a genetic disease he does not want to pass on, used for single and lesbian women. The sperm is screened for disease, a child conceived using a donor has the right to know the identity of that donor when they reach 18. 

Positive aspects:

infertile couples, lesbian couples can have children, single women and older women, men get paid and get health checks, AIH = man still has genetically own children.

Negative aspects: 

designer babies, psychological affects on the child, men do it for the money, expensive, unaffordable, not anonymous

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Religious views on AI


  • "Go forth and multiply" Genesis, couples can fulfil this commandment. 
  • "Love your neighbour" lets couples have a child.


  • Sanctity of life, god should create life, God leaves some people infertile for a reason.
  • Some religious believers don't believe same sex couple are acceptable so wouldn't want them to have children. 
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Fertility treatment

  • Fertility treatment: medical procedure to assist an infertile couple to have a child. 
  • IVF: a scientific method of making a woman pregnant, which does not involve sex. Conception occurs via egg and sperm being placed in a glass container. 
  • Test tube baby: term used for a baby created outside of the womb. 
  • Artificial insemination: sperm medically inserted into the vagina to assist pregnancy.
  • surrgacy: woman's egg fertilised artificially by another woman's partner. 
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1. Give hormones to stimulate egg ovulation to produce as many eggs as possible 

2. Remove the eggs

3. Man provides sperm 

4. Mixed

5. Left to divide and grow

6. Healthy embryos are implanted back into the woman, embryos can be frozen for upto 10 years.

For: gives parents a child, older women can have kids, single women can have kids

Against: unnatural, spare embryos might not be used, quite expensive, first cycle paid for on the NHS. 

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Religious views on IVF


  • "go forth and multiply" couples can fulfil this commandment from God
  • Freewill, but may be judged in the after life.
  • "Love your neighbour" it might be the most loving thing to allow a couple to have a child. 


  • "You created every part of me, you put me together in my mother's womb" God should create life and it should be created inside the woman. 
  • "Do not murder" if life begins at conception, spare embryos not used are murdered. 
  • "Before I created you I knew you" jeremiah, God should create life, God leaves some people infertile for a reason, it's part of God's plan
  • Catholics are against masturbation, it is "spilling the seed" that could potentially create life. 
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Why is life special?

Sanctity of life: God creates life and each life is sacred and special, only God has the power to take life away. "You created every part of me, you put me together in my mother's womb." 

Value of life: Is the benefit if a life worth the money that is being spent on it? or will a life be improved sufficiently to justify the cost. Some people argue that life itself is more important than money.

Quality of life: A measure of fulfillment, how comfortable/ pain free life is, being able to live with freedom and dignity and accessing or experiencing God. 

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Organ donation

What can be donated?

  • Heart. lungs. liver, kidney, bone marrow

Transplant surgery: when someone else's organs are put in a patient. The donor can be dead or alive. 

Opt-in: if you want to donate you sign up.

Opt-out: It is assumed everyone will donate unless they decide to register not to.

even if a person has a donor card and is registered, the next of kin still has to give permission. 

1905 = first cornea transplant 

1954 = first kidney transplant 

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Transplant surgery

Advantages: could save or improve a life, family of donor could feel hope in a time of loss because they are saving other people, there is no use for organs after death so there is no reason to keep them.

Disadvantages: drugs to help the body accept the organ have severe side effects, body could reject the organ or it could fail later. It's expensive for the NHS, the money could be used else where. Relatives could object. 

Religious arguments for: 

  • "Love your neighbour" Showing love to recipient
  • Freewill
  • improve quality of life

Religious arguments against:

  • "before i made you, i knew you" Playing God by prolonging a life that God wanted to end
  • Sanctity of life, ^^
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Genetic engineering of embryos

Definition: the modification of gene makeup to change the features of a human. 

Legal: creating an embryo without a hereditory disease which is carried by either parent. Creating a child which will be a donor for an existing child. 

Illegal: height, hair, eye colur, athletic ability etc. These are all illegal according to the Human fertilisation and embryology act of 2008. 


  • God guides technolgy and gives us the knowledge to use it 
  • Free will 
  • Quality of life, a child is born without a disease
  • "love your neighbour" better quality of life


  • Do not murder, spare embryos are destroyed. "before i made you, I knew you" creating life is playing God. "Do not spill the seed" it is involved in IVF. "Monsterous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life." playing God. Designer babies. "Do not show favouritism" discriminates against people with the disease.
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Saviour Siblings

Definition: a sibling genetically compatable with a sick child is impkanted and born to use stem cells to treat the sick child. 

Saviour siblings were not allowed in the UK until 2008, you have to apply as it is approved on a case by case basis


  • Quality of life
  • Freewill
  • Love your neighbour


  • "Do not show favouritism" 
  • Playing God
  • Catholics believe life begins at conception and IVF involves destroying embryos that aren't used.
  • IVF means spilling the seed. 
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Cloning: The scientific method by which animals or plants can be created which have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original, because the DNA of the original is used. 

Reproductive cloning: Creating an identicle copy of an organism. You can clone animals to increase meat, or plants to increase yield of crop. It is illegal to create a human clone. 

Theraputic cloning: also called stem cell cloning. This has the potential to lead to finding cures for currently incurable illnesses e.g. being paralysed. Embryos used in research are spare IVF embryos. After 14 days all embryos are destroyed. 

The law: reproductive cloning = animal and plant is legal but human is illegal. Theraputic cloning = only spare embryos can be used, they must be destroyed after 14 days. 

For: improves quality of life, free will, God guides knowledge to develop new technology. 

Against: Playing God, leftover embryos are destroyed, unethical advances, God gives a person a soul so a cloned person may not have a soul. 

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Blood transfusion

Definition: when a person is given extra blood as part of an operation. 

  • the majority of Christians would be happy to have a blood transfusion. The religious arguments for and against are the same as organ transplant. 
  • Jehovah's witnesses believe life is carried in their blood because of leviticus: "For the life of the creature is in the blood." because of this some of them do not allow transfusions and some die as a result. 
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Human- animal hybrid embryos

An embryos made from human DNA and animal eggs for the purpose of experimentation. 

  • Scientists believe in the future they can produce embryos like these and extract stem cells, which will be used to help find new treatments for conditions such as: Parkinson's and alzheimer's disease. 
  • The embryos must be destroyed after 14 days. 


  • Love your neighbour, can cure diseases and reduce human suffering. 
  • Freewill
  • God given knowledge to guide technology, therefore we can use it. 


  • Playing God, only God should create life
  • Pope pius XI "Any use whatsoever of any method that stops the natural power of sex to generate life is forbidden." 
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Human experimentation

Testing products, usually medicines, on paid human volunteers. 


  • It helps develop drugs that can stop suffering/ diseases. 
  • They rarely have very bad side effects and they are usually monitored and safe.
  • Volunteers are paid.
  • "Love your neighbour." Help cure disorder, improve quality of life. 


  • Side effect sare unknown so could make someone ill or ruin their life. 
  • People risk their health for the money
  • "Your body is a temple." Don't harm your body.
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