Human Need and Natural Law
The 1987 Vatican Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, generally known as Donum Vitae, attempted to apply Catholic teachings on the moral parameters for sexual activity and procreation to new developments in reproductive technology (Congregation). In the course of doing so, it appeared to condemn any form of reproduction that separates reproductive activity from sexual intercourse, including the increasingly widespread practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF) making use of the gametes of husband and wife. This procedure is often referred to as the “simple case” for the moral evaluation of reproductive technologies, because it does not involve the use of the germ cells of third party donors, and therefore does not raise questions about the exclusiveness and integrity of the marital relationship. By condemning even this “simple” form of non-sexual reproduction, the Vatican was generally seen as reaffirming the claim that there is an unbreakable link between sexual activity and procreation, which was asserted clearly and forcefully in Humanae Vitae.
KeywordsSexual Intercourse Human Person Moral Evaluation Moral Meaning Conjugal Union
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