Monday, October 04, 2010

Was IVF Really Ever a Moral Issue?

Robert Edwards (no, not the NPR host) won the Nobel Prize this year for medicine for his work developing the procedures for in vitro fertilization. I remember back when the first "test tube baby" caused an uproar. Huge scare headlines on prominent news weeklies asked about the morality of it in large part because the Catholic Church denounced it for theological reasons. But theology is not the same as morality. Today couples who have medical reasons why they cannot conceive the usual way go to IVF with the only second thought being financial. There are not any moral issues there. The question is whether there ever were or whether it was just the shock of a new technology allowing us to do something we had never considered being able to do. That, of course, ought to always give us pause in considering whether there are any moral issues we need to think carefully about, but does not in itself mean there are such issues. Are there any here?