Christian Bioethics 26 (2):177-204 (2020)

The views on in vitro fertilization within Russian Orthodox Christian society are diverse. One reason for that variation is the ambiguity found in “The Basis of the Social Concept,” the document issued in 2000 by the Russian Orthodox Church and considered to be the primary guidelines for determining the Church’s stance on bioethics. This essay explores how the treatment of infertility reconciles with the Orthodox Christian faith and what methods of medical assistance for infertility may be appropriate for Orthodox Christians. The focus here is on IVF because it is among the most widely used methods to overcome childlessness, and the permissibility of IVF is the object of disagreement among Orthodox. The article defines criteria that can help to discern what is absolutely wrong and must be avoided from what only falls short of the mark, but not very far, for Orthodox Christians. If treatment of the underlying causes of infertility has failed or promises no hope and a husband and a wife do not feel able to carry the Cross of infertility, then from pastoral dispensation they might be blessed to use ethically acceptable variants of IVF. IVF has many variants that are different in their spiritual influence on a person. Orthodox Christians pursuing IVF should seek spiritual guidance and a blessing to pursue IVF. They must not form more embryos than will be transferred in the same cycle. Freezing, discarding, or reduction of embryos is forbidden. Infertile couples ought to use only their reproductive cells. The use of donor gametes is unacceptable. Any embryo formed ought to be transferred into the wife’s womb, and the use of surrogates is impermissible. Only a husband and wife who are able to maintain their marital union and where the wife is still of childbearing age should be blessed to use IVF.
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DOI 10.1093/cb/cbaa004
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[Book Review] Manuale di Bioetica. [REVIEW]Elio Sgreccia - 1990 - Journal of Medical Ethics 16:105-106.

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