On March 10, 1987, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued its “Instruction on Respect of Human Life in Its Origins and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day”, that expressly formulated the Vatican moral opposition to all kinds of in vitro fertilization. This particular doctrine is, in particular, based on inseparable connection between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act, which man can not break on his own initiative.
Another pertinent ethical issue for the church is moral right to subject potential parents and unborn children to treatment whose long-term effects cannot possibly be known. Treatments associated with the use of genetic material from a third party such as egg donation and surrogacy, raise other questions: Do these technologies violate the exclusiveness of marriage? What are the moral and legal rights and obligation for the donor? What are the emotional ramifications for the couple when only one partner is biologically connected to the child?
Finally, some ethics claim that modern reproductive technologies will promote a perception of children as products rather than as human beings to be cherished in their own right.
Thus, Vatican instructions call upon couples who are unsuccessful with church-approved treatment to find in their infertility the occasion for other important services to the life of a human being, e.g. adoption, other forms of educational work and assistance to other families and to poor and handicapped children.
It appears that the Catholic Church has not changed its stance since the very beginning of reproductive medicine development in the 1970ies. In confirmation of its longstanding ban on using ART like IVF and artificial insemination, in February 2012 Pope Benedict XVI urged infertile couples to avoid artificial procreation, describing such technologies as a form of arrogance. Speaking at the end of a three-day Vatican conference on diagnosing and treating infertility, Benedict reiterated the church doctrine that marriage is the only permissible place to conceive children.
Ethical issues associated with the use of IVF and other reproductive technologies spark heated disputes in Ukraine too. During the International (Third All-Ukrainian) Congress on Medical and Pharmaceutical Law, Bioethics and Social Policy that was held in Kyiv On April 19-21, 2012 Father Igor Boyko of Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine) definitely pointed out that techniques involving artificial fertility treatment remain morally unacceptable.
On the other side, many interviews with infertile couples indicate their indifference to religions objections to reproductive technology. Some couples allow themselves to be dictated by their consciences, whereas their practical concerns overshadow ethical issues. These couples have one overriding goal: to become parents and they judge treatment options primarily on whether they are efficient and practical to make their dream of parenthood come true.
One of examples is the recent case of a teacher Emily Herx, who was dismissed from St. Vincent de Paul School (USA) because of her desire to grow her family through IVF: The Catholic school says that it has clear policies requiring that teachers in its school must, as a condition of employment, have knowledge and respect for the Catholic faith and that in vitro fertilization is against the tenets of the Catholic Church. At present the woman is suing the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and St. Vincent de Paul School for discrimination.
Finally, it should be noted that the Vatican instruction does not oppose the use of fertility medicines or surgical measures to diagnose and treat infertility. So the only hope that was given for infertile couples by the Pope during the aforementioned conference was that he said the church encouraged medical research on infertility thus promoting so called Natural Procreative Technology.