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Human Sexuality and Reproductive Technologies

What are the Problems with Contraception?

Contraception breaks or cuts off the “inseparable connection between procreative and unitive aspects.  Does not accept that we are not the master of the “sources of life.”

Living openness to life requires Sacrificial Love – such as practiced in Natural Family Planning.

What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the general title for the scientific, natural and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies.  NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. 

Who Can I Contact to Find NFP Teachers?

 To find NFP teachers please contact the diocesan Respect Life and Pastoral Care Program at (909) 475-5469.

What is the Church’s Teaching on In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

Rule of thumb is: Any procedure for which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral. Procedures which ask a “third party” into the act of conception, or which substitute a labratory procedure for intercouse, are not acceptable. Donum Vitae (1987) & Dignitas Personae (2008). 

All human beings, regardless of how, when, why or by whom they are concieved, have equal human dignity. God created man in His own image, in hte image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)


Does IVF Assist in Fertility?

No, IVF does not assist in fertility, rather it substitutes fertility.  Conception occurs outside the body‐‐”in a glass.”


What is the Process for IVF?

Ordinarily, the woman is treated with hormones to stop her natural cycle and stimulated to ripen a number of ova. The ova are harvested from the follicle with a needle under ultrasonic guidance. The needle is inserted either through the vagina or abdomen. Ova are incubated in the laboratory with a carefully washed and adjusted specimen of semen to allow fertilization. Prior to implantation in the woman’s uterus, embryos are examined in order to select the “best.” Sometimes, one cell is removed for genetic testing. To date, visual inspection of the embryos has been totally unrelated to their subsequent course‐‐health or otherwise. Usually at least two embryos are implanted; in some centers, as many as four are implanted with the hope of getting at least one live baby. At times, three or four embryos thrive. Some clinics then offer the mother “embryo reduction” (selective abortion) to allow only one or two fetuses to develop further. Because the endometrium is considerably changed by the stimulation of ovaries to produce eggs, it is the practice in some centers to freeze the embryos and to implant them in a subsequent natural cycle.

What is the Church’s Teaching on In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

Rule of thumb is: Any procedure for which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral. Procedures which ass a “third party” into the act of conception, or which substitute a labratory procedure for intercouse, are not acceptable. Donum Vitae (1987) & Dignitas Personae (2008). 

All human beings, regardless of how, when, why or by whom they are concieved, have equal human dignity. God created man in His own image, in hte image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Does IVF Assist in Fertility?

No, IVF does not assist in fertility, rather it substitutes fertility.  Conception occurs outside the body‐‐”in a glass.”

What is the Process for IVF?

Ordinarily, the woman is treated with hormones to stop her natural cycle and stimulated to ripen a number of ova. The ova are harvested from the follicle with a needle under ultrasonic guidance. The needle is inserted either through the vagina or abdomen. Ova are incubated in the laboratory with a carefully washed and adjusted specimen of semen to allow fertilization. Prior to implantation in the woman’s uterus, embryos are examined in order to select the “best.” Sometimes, one cell is removed for genetic testing. To date, visual inspection of the embryos has been totally unrelated to their subsequent course‐‐health or otherwise. Usually at least two embryos are implanted; in some centers, as many as four are implanted with the hope of getting at least one live baby. At times, three or four embryos thrive. Some clinics then offer the mother “embryo reduction” (selective abortion) to allow only one or two fetuses to develop further. Because the endometrium is considerably changed by the stimulation of ovaries to produce eggs, it is the practice in some centers to freeze the embryos and to implant them in a subsequent natural cycle.

What is the Success Rate for IVF?

Success rates vary considerably due to the age of the woman, the health of the uterus, the quality of semen, etc. The disposition of frozen embryos varies with the wishes of the parents.”Spare embryos” may be preserved, donated to other women or to researchers, or destroyed.

What are the Short and Long-Term Risks to Women Who Conceive through IVF?

ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

multiple pregnancies (most serious)

increased levels of anxiety and depression

ovarian torsion

ectopic pregnancy

pre-eclampsia

placenta praevia

placental separation and increased risk of cesarean section

 

What Can Happen with Multiple Pregnancies?

Multiple pregnancies can result in preterm delivery, neonatal death, cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

What is NaPro Techonology?

NaPro Technology is the “hidden Gem of the Church” in Reproductive Technology. 

Dr. Thomas Hilgers is the founder of the Medical and Surgical Practice of NaPro Technology, treating pathologies interfering with fertility.  It is 1.5 to 3 times more effective than IVF with up to an 80% success rate.  It treats the pathologies that cause infertility which is most often covered by health insurance. It also has reduced the pre-term birth rate from12% to 7%. It is fully in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching on life, love, marriage and sexuality.

What is the Principle of Double Effect?

In order for the Principle of Double Effect to be met, the Church moral tradition teaches that one can perform a good action even if it is foreseen that a bad effect will arise, only if these four conditions are met:

  1. The act itself must be good
  2. The only thing that one can intend is the good act, not the foreseen but unintended bad effect
  3. The good effect cannot arise from the bad effect; otherwise one would do evil to achieve good
  4. The unintended but foreseen bad effect cannot be disproportionate to the good being perfumed.

What are the Three Tenants of Catholic Social Teaching?

Human Dignity | Solidarity | Principle of Subsidiarity

A community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.  Pope John Paul II Centesimus Annus #48

End of Life Care

What is the Difference Between a Hospital and a Hospice?

A hospital is for patience seeking medical treatment to cure their illness or injury. A hospice is for patients who have a terminal illness, who have suspended curative efforts and who want to die in a homelike setting. Hospice care is “comfort care,” which can occur in either a hospice facility or in a patient’s home.

Who Decides on the Medical Treatment of an ill Patient?

If the patient is mentally competent, then he or she makes medical treatment decisions- usually in consultation with medical personnel, counselors or spiritual advisors and family members. If the patient is not mentally competent or physically incapacitated so that communication is not possible, then the decision about treatment may be made by a surrogate, known as a healthcare proxy, who has been assigned by an advance directive known as a durable power of attorney for heath care.

What is Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a document that legally gives authority to a surrogate, or healthcare proxy, to make healthcare decisions for a person who is mentally incompetent or physically incapacitated. The healthcare proxy (surrogate) should know of any advance directives that have been executed or in the case where additional decisions need to be made, should know the wishes and beliefs of the person who designated him or her as a healthcare proxy.

What is the Difference Between a Living Will and an Advance Directive?

A durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will are both advance directives, that is, directives regarding healthcare decision made in advance of the need to make those decisions-most often regarding decisions at the end of life. In the first case, the advance directive designates a healthcare proxy to make those healthcare decisions if necessary-and may include written instructions for certain situations. In the second case, the advance directive does not designate a proxy, but contains written instructions about various healthcare decisions which will likely need to be made.