Matters of Life - Christianity and Islam

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  • Created on: 09-04-10 10:14

Matters Of Life

Modern developments in medicine, medical research and techniques have caused people to be concerned about the morality of what is being planned. Key questions include:

  • When does life begin?
  • Who is responsible for life?
  • Should embryos be used for research?

When Does Life Begin

Fertilization - At the moment when the sperm fertilizes the egg, a new life begins with a unique genetic code. Those who believe life starts at fertilization see the embryo as a human being and argue that this deserves all the rights of a born child.

Implantation - Some say life begins at implantation. It is estimated that 30%-50% of the fertilized cells may be lost before this stage. These are aborted naturally by the mother.

Primitive Steak - After fourteen days, the first anatomical feature, the primitive steak, appears in the position in which the backbone will later develop.

Types of Fertility Treatment


Artificial insemination with the husband’s sperm is when artificial methods are used to put the husband’s sperm into the woman.


This is when the mother’s egg is fertilized with a donor’s sperm because the male partner is infertile, or if a single woman wishes to have a child. One obvious problem is that the child will not know its biological father. Some believe it being the same as adultery.


In vitro fertilization is where the sperm and egg are collected from the man and the woman and put together to achieve fertilization in a test tube. Many embryos have been destroyed in experiments. Embryos can now be frozen and stored for many years before being implanted.


Surrogacy is when a woman has a baby for another woman. She may become pregnant by sperm donation from either the father or another man. Some may try to adopt a child or have spent thousands of pounds on unsuccessful medical treatment.


Cloning is the production of genetically identical individuals.

Embryo Cloning - This is the removal of one or more cells from an embryo and encouraging cell(s) to develop into a separate embryo.

Therapeutic Cloning - This involves taking the DNA out of an embryo and replacing it with DNA from another individual.

Arguments Against the Cloning of Humans

  • Cloning is ‘playing God’ and interfering in nature. Dividing a fertilized ovum would be to interfere with God’s intention.
  • Cloning denies the ‘sanctity of human life’.
  • The clone may not have soul. If a soul enters the body at conception and the fertilized ovum is a human being, then a cloned embryo may not have one.
  • Life starts at conception so the many cloned zygotes (fertilized ovum), which die as a result of the process of cloning, are lost human beings.
  • Experiments with human cloning will undoubtedly result in malformed clones, as happened before the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep.

Arguments For the Cloning of Humans

  • Cloning creates life from life and is just an extension of IVF.
  • It cannot be proven that a soul exists,


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