Assisted reproduction. A social and moral approach

  1. Lemma
  2. Υποβοηθούμενη αναπαραγωγή. Ηθικοκοινωνική προσέγγιση
  3. Greek, Modern (1453-)
  4. Katsiampoura, Gianna
  5. Ethics - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology
  6. 27-11-2017
  7. Φανάρας, Βασίλειος [Author]. Assisted reproduction. A social and moral approach
  8. Assisted reproduction. A social and moral approach - Athens: Palimpsest Editions, 2000.
  9. assisted reproduction - ethics - Cloning
    1. <p>Fanaras, Vasileios, <em>Yποβοηθούμενη αναπαραγωγή. Κοινωνική και ηθική προσέγγιση</em> (<em>Assisted reproduction. A social and moral approach</em>), Palimpsest Editions, Athens 2000</p>
    1. In this book, Vasileios Fanaras discuses about assisted human reproduction and the orthodox christian ethics.

      During the last years many surveys and statistical works have been reporting the

      phenomenon of the reduction of human reproductive ability and about the

      consequences. However, the new achievements of contemporary medicine and especially

      of genetics can counteract the problem. Genetics offer the humans an opportunity to

      confront the problems of their infertility, in the lab.

      The Christian ethics is seriously concerned with the bioethical problems. A part of

      this set of issues is the assisted human reproduction : the artificial insemination and the

      in-vitro fertilization.

      In Greece and in other countries, where assisted reproduction is being practiced,

      a paradoxical phenomenon exists: a great number of women seek medical help

      in order to get rid of an undesirable pregnancy (estimated 200,000 per year in Greece),

      when at the same time, many other families spend a lot of money, time, pain and hope to

      make their dream for a child come true. For that, they seek refuge to various methods of

      assisted reproduction.

      The Orthodox Church has not adopted an official attitude on this issue yet. But.

      there is not an explicitly expressed position in Christian Ethics either. Yet. some

      Orthodox researchers work on this issue in order to formulate a specific position and

      perspective. The ethical evaluation become a difficult task under the light of continuous

      new discoveries in genetics, and change the existing data there . The lack of information

      and knowledge about the methods of artificial reproduction, often leads either to

      condemnation of the methods, or to their complete acceptance for the sake of


      Here the writer remarks that the homologous artificial insemination or the homologous in-vitro fertilization, that is the use of the sperm and the ovum only from the spouses, is one of

      the methods of assisted reproduction, which could be acceptable from a pastoral point of

      view, because the couple remains intact.

      In opposition, the intrusion of a third part in the process, heterologous fertilization, creates serious problems and objections for the acceptance of the method by the Christian Orthodox Ethics. The Orthodox researchers reject unanimously the heterologous reproduction arguing that the involvement of a third part creates a problem in the legitimacy of the couple and in its procreation. In fact, they see in this latter form of assisted reproduction a peculiar form of adultery and they even go so far as to speak οι Ά falsification of mankind.

      Human life is acknowledged and respected from the very first moment of the

      conception. For that reason the in-vitro fertilization cannot be automatically and easily

      accepted and very often the substitution of God by a specialist doctor is seen with


      After an extended argumentation, the conclusions of Fanaras are the next:

      1. The increasing number of couples is related with the problem of the infertility.
      2. Since the issues of artificial reproduction are related to many subjects such as

      the respect of human life from the moment of conception and the sanctity of human

      person, Christian ethics should examine the new achievements of genetics carefullv.

      before pronouncing itself for or against it.

      1. People ought to be better informed. Media could plan an important role by

      presenting the new methods with clarity and accuracy without sensationalism, which

      hides «the truth of the facts».

      1. The reservations expressed towards the new biomedical achievements is

      understandable and natural. However, genetic science has a lot to offer. It would be fair

      to speak only of the dangers of cloning in humans and the experimentation on human

      embryos, when the many psychological and social problems pertaining to human

      infertility and sterility could be solved thanks the new medical achievements.

      1. Assisted reproduction could be acceptable from a pastoral point of view, when

      in the artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization is used only the reproductive fluid

      from spouses and does not be created supernumerary embryos, who are usually

      destroyed after a long period of a cold storage. Wariness appears only on the way of

      receiving the sperm, but this does not consist an insuperable ethical problem.

      1. The use of a sperm donor or ovum donor creates unexcelled ethical problems

      for the acceptance of the methods of A.I and IVF. Furthermore when the problems of

      pregnancy are being solved with the surrogate motherhood, it is not be possible the

      acceptance of the methods.

      1. The methods of artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization are not ethically

      acceptable, when they are be practised outside the barriers of a marriage, as it happens

      on lonely women or homosexual couples. Furthermore the use of i.v.f on the

      experimentation and on human embryos" research, on cloning and on eugenics, creates

      serious ethical problems.

      1. The future interest of an artificially born child must be the first concern of the

      whole procedure, than the therapy of spouses' infertility. The demanded social research

      for the advantage of the adoptive child in the procedure of adoption supports the above

      mentioned view. A proportional aspect must be practised to the assisted reproduction

      for the purpose of not seeing the phenomenon of a birth giving, from an old age parents.

      1. The orthodox theology offers the opportunity and demonstrates the perspective

      and scale for the confrontation of the infertility problems. When the God's will and the

      faith on His sovereignty does not be ignored from the marital spouses on their infertility

      problems, it is possible to find acceptable solutions for the attainment of artificial