Argentinean archbishop warns against legalizing IVF

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 14, 2011 / 03:02 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina recently spoke out against the legalization of in vitro fertilization in the country saying it would bring catastrophic consequences for human dignity.

During his Sept. 10 program of Keys to a Better World, the archbishop said he understands the desire of couples unable to conceive who resort to IVF.  “But we need to remember that a child is not the product of our desire, he is not an object of desire,” but rather a gift that has to do with the mutual donation of the spouses.

“These artificial techniques end up replacing the natural environment in which a human person should be conceived,” he warned.

Archbishop Aguer also noted the eugenic nature of IVF.  “Today everyone knows of the existence of sperm banks which … evaluate the product based on the genetic possibilities it contains,” he said.

“These things pose a very serious problem that we could call genetic discrimination.  We should think about the social and legal consequences of all this.  It seems to me that these projects (for legalizing in vitro fertilization) ought to include some clarification about these fundamental concepts,” the archbishop said.

He went on to note that the selection of embryos and the freezing of those considered viable entail the deaths of those that are discarded.

“How will it be determined when an embryo is viable? Will the law establish this? Does this mean we have given life to a human person and later we discard it?

“And why are we discarding this person?  Are we discarding it because perhaps according to the genetic analysis … we know that it will have some kind of disability?” Archbishop Aguer asked.

He also warned that the anonymous donation of gametes would result in a distorted view of sonship, as it would no longer have anything to do with the biological,” even though “we know that knowledge of one’s biological identity is very important.”

The proposal to legalize the practice would also prevent doctors, nurses and health care workers from defending values such as the right to life, because it would not allow for the option of conscientious objection.

Archbishop Aguer said the laudable work to help parents unable to conceive a child on their own “must not be carried out at the cost of an order in which the dignity of the human person is at play.”

“Embryos must not be treated as if they were things or mere biological objects.  I think lawmakers must keep these fundamental truths in mind because when the sources of life are manipulated, we are opening ourselves to the possibility of causing all kinds of catastrophes,” he said.