Friday, October 13, 2006

What Is the Church's View on Fertility Drugs?

"longing_catholic" asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
Does anyone know how the Catholic Church feels about fertility drugs? I am getting married next Friday and I was told that if I wanted to have children I would have to take fertility drugs. I didn't know if it was "wrong" in the churchs eyes.
Scientific methods of achieving fertility are licit as long as they assist the conjugal act between husband and wife, instead of replacing it. See the following documents:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae (On Respect for Human Life):

II. Interventions Upon Human Procreation

6. How Is Homologous Artificial Insemination To Be Evaluated from the Moral Point of View?

Homologous artificial insemination within marriage cannot be admitted except for those cases in which the technical means is not a substitute for the conjugal act but serves to facilitate and to help so that the act attains its natural purpose. [. . .] Thus moral conscience "does not necessarily proscribe the use of certain artificial means destined solely either to the facilitating of the natural act or to ensuring that the natural act normally performed achieves its proper end."[53] If the technical means facilitates the conjugal act or helps it to reach its natural objectives, it can be morally acceptable. If, on the other hand, the procedure were to replace the conjugal act, it is morally illicit.
[. . .]

7. What Moral Criterion Can Be Proposed with Regard to Medical Intervention in Human Procreation?
[. . .] "A medical intervention respects the dignity of persons when it seeks to assist the conjugal act either in order to facilitate its performance or in order to enable it to achieve its objective once it has been normally performed."[56] [. . .]


Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance, Charter for Health Care Workers:
22. [. . .] Every means and medical intervention, in the field of procreation, must always be by way of assistance and never substitution of the marriage act. In fact, "the doctor is at the service of people and human procreation: he has no authority to do as he wills with them or to make decisions about them. Medical intervention respects the dignity of the persons when it aims at helping the marriage act.... On the contrary, sometimes medical intervention replaces the conjugal act.... In this case, the medical action is not, as it should be, at the service of the marriage union, but it appropriates the procreative function and thus is contrary to the dignity and inalienable rights of the spouses and of the expected child."[67]

23. "The use of such artificial means is not necessarily forbidden if their function is merely to facilitate the natural act, or to ensure that a normally performed act reaches its proper end."[68] This is homologous artificial insemination, that is, within matrimony with the semen of the partner, when this is obtained through a normal marriage act.
I hope that helps. If the paragraphs seem a little disjointed it's because I only pulled out the most pertinent sentences. It may be useful to read these paragraphs in their entirety.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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