Medical Ethics

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Attitudes to fertility treatment
Fertility treatment is used when people want to have children but are unable to conceive naturally. Usually, this is because of some kind of medical problem. However, there are different Christian attitudes to fertility treatment.
IVF involves the egg and sperm being brought together in a test tube. If conception takes place and an embryo is formed, it is placed inside the women’s uterus.
Another method of fertility treatment is artificial insemination. Sperm is collected and placed in the woman’s uterus artificially:
Sometimes this is the husband’s sperm (AIH)
Sometimes sperm can be used which has come from an anonymous donor (AID). The law now states that anyone donating sperm or eggs has to provide their details, so that at the age of 18, a person conceived this way can seek out their biological parents.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990:
Frozen embryos may be stored for a maximum of 10 years. However, these can only be implanted if both partners agree.
Scientific experiments may only be carried out on embryos up to 14 days after conception; after this time they may not be kept alive
Some Christians believe that fertility treatments should be encouraged because they bring so much happiness to people who would otherwise not be able to have children – Agape.
God has also given humanity the ability and intelligence to develop the technology to enable fertility treatment to take place.
However, other Christians believe that fertility treatment is wrong. They consider that God chooses whether people have babies or not. This is part of the teaching about sanctity of life.
Roman Catholics believe that life begins at conception. This causes a major problem, particularly with IVF, which can produce spare embryos. Some of these embryos may be thrown away during the process, stored, or used in medical research, which they believe goes against the sixth commandment.
The Roman Catholic Church does not believe that having a baby is a God-given right but a divine gift.
Roman Catholics are also against AID because they think that the introduction of a third party is a form of adultery.
Remember: Some people object to fertility treatment because it may be used by people in a homosexual relationship or are not in relationship but still want to have children. People who have passed the natural age for childbearing can also use it.

Attitudes to Cloning

Cloning creates a genetically identical animal or plant from another. The most famous example of a cloned animal was Dolly the sheep (1997-2003).
Most of the concerns about cloning relate to the possibility that it might be used to clone humans. Most Christians feel that the cloning of a human, were it to be possible, is unacceptable.
Most countries have banned the use of cloning to produce human babies (reproductive cloning).
In therapeutic cloning, tissues are created. Single cells are taken from a person and ‘reprogrammed’ to create stem cells. These cells have the potential to develop into any type…


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