Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AFA Responds to Vatican’s Dignitas Personae

Ken Mosesian, the executive director of the American Fertility Association and a practicing Catholic and an openly gay man in a committed relationship has commented about the Vatican’s Dignitas Personae, which was released on December 8, 2008, and is the Vatican’s newest “Instruction on Bioethics,” which includes IVF, surrogacy and egg donation.

While the Vatican is against using these technologies and treatments to create a child, Ken cautions that all life should be treated with dignity and that all people should treat the children created using these techniques with dignity and respect. As a mother of twins created with IVF and surrogacy, I applaud his approach and agree with it completely.

I would be horrified to be sitting in church and have a pastor or priest make my children feel “less” because of how they were created. My children are dearly, dearly loved and they know that. But, at Ken’s urging, I will have a discussion with them and continue to have talks with them on how some people could be deeply offended at their creation.

I will also help them understand and instill in them respect for human life and dignity for all. Like Ken, I was raised Catholic and I have been debating whether to return to the Catholic church and my hesitation has been because I disagree with many of their teachings; however, as Ken pointed out, complete agreement is not necessary to be a faithful member of any church.

The Vatican’s newest Instruction on Bioethics, is available on the web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was conceived through an anonymous sperm ‘donation’ (no money exchanged) back in the mid 1960’s through a private doctor practice. I learned of my conception origins at 18 but didn’t feel entitled to acknowledge the confusion this created for me until I had children of my own.

It was only until I saw how much my children were a part of, not only my husband and me, but our collective (bio/genetic) families. This was no long just a personal loss, this was much bigger than me. I searched for my biological father (my parents donor) after the birth of our second child and learned that because I was not of his marriage that I and my children (his grandchildren) could never be acknowledged, recognized or embraced by him - our extended bio/genetic family (grandparents/half siblings/aunts/uncles/cousins etc) or know or be a part of our family ancestry/history.

I see many reasons why donor (especially vendor) gametes/traditional surrogacy is wrong, not for religious reasons but for human dignity reasons. Knowing a name is not the same as being loved and embraced. These methods of conception are not the same as adoption, although they share many issues in common. Adoption (which has many ethical issues of its own), as an institution, is very pro-child. Adoption does not intentionally separate a person from their bio/genetic mother/father/family. It recognizes this separation as a tragedy. BUT donor/vendor/traditional surrogacy intentionally creates a child that will not be loved nurtured, unconditionally embraced or supported by one or both of their bio/genetic parents and extended family. This puts adults wants for a child (pre-conception), before the needs of a child (post- conception).

Of course people conceived through donor/vendor/surrogacy need to be accepted, loved, supported (THAT MUCH MORE SO) by the Catholic/faith community. But these methods of conception—when a child/person is intentionally created in a way that PROHIBITS them (and their future children) from being acknowledged, embraced, loved and nurtured in a fully inclusive way by ALL the people they come from and belong to—do not.

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