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Some Roman Catholic theologians agree. Criticizing the Church's blanket opposition to IVF, Richard McCormick says, “The most that can be argued is that a child should be born within a marriage from a loving act. Sexual intercourse is not the only loving act.” Munson,supra note 2, at 480.
The term “pre-implantation embryo” or “pre-embryo” is often used to denote the product of conception from fertilization until implantation in the uterus, a stage lasting about 10 days. The word “pre-embryo” indicates both that implantation has not yet occurred and that the product of conception has not yet differentiated into the embryo proper, which will become the fetus, and the placenta. Although “pre-embryo” is the more precise term for the fertilized egg in the context of IVF, I will sometimes refer to the embryo. Nothing of moral significance rests on the terminology.
For a full discussion of the issue, see my Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses. Oxford University Press, 1992, especially Chapters 1 and 2
See, for example, Warren MA: On the moral and legal status of abortion, The Monist (1973); 57; Tooley M: Abortion and Infanticide. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1983; Feinberg J: Abortion.In Matters of Life and Death, 2nd ed, T Regan (ed). New York, Random House, 1986; Marquis D: Why abortion is immoral. J Philos 1989;86:183–202, at 186
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The Catholic Church distinguishes between medical intervention to remove the causes of infertility and the prescription of drugs to promote fertility, both of which it deems morally legitimate, and artificial fertilization and IVF, which it maintains are morally illicit.Supra note 2.
Kass L: ‘Making babies’ revisited, Public Interest 1979, no. 54. Reprinted in Arras JD, Steinbock B: Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine, 4th ed. Mountain View, CA, Mayfield, 1995, pp 430-2
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For an excellent summary, see The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, Surrogate Parenting: Analysis and Recommendations for Public Policy, May 1988
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Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies: Update, December 1993, at 8.
Proceed with Care,supra note 16, at 708
Id. at 696. Mary Anne Warren expresses a similar concern in IVF and women's interests: an analysis of feminist concerns,Bioethics 1988,2:37–57, at 49
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According to Paul Lancaster, Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, National Perinatal Statistics Unit at the University of Sydney. This unit has collected comprehensive statistics on IVF children since the late 1970s.
Robin P: How to Be a Successful Fertility Patient. New York, William Morrow, p 226
Altman LK: Study uncovers link of cancer to birth drugs.New York Times, Sept. 22, 1994, A22, citing report published inThe New England Journal of Medicine. The study does not prove a causal link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer, although it buttresses the existing data supporting such a link. The National Institutes of Health is paying for further research to determine which treatments are most risky and to identify the women most at risk.
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