I was researching a different question and saw that some people find that In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is something that should be avoided on the basis of religious grounds.

Does anyone know what these reasons are? I'd like to know if these religious arguments against IVF are biblically based. If so, what passages do they use to support this argument?

(This seems especially strange to me since pregnancy wasn't fully understood back then, let alone IVF.)

Specifically, I would like the Catholic stance on this.


2 Answers 2


Read article 4 of Humane Vitae for the biblical basis for the Catholic Church interpreting the moral law.

Then Evangelium Vitae may begin to make sense.

This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses-sometimes specifically "produced" for this purpose by in vitro fertilization-either to be used as "biological material" or as providers of organs or tissue for transplants in the treatment of certain diseases. The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act.

Given the sanctity of every human person, known before they were formed in their mother's womb, the secondary effects of in vitro fertilization certainly fall under "Thou Shall not Kill".

The rest of course falls under the natural moral law as gmoothart says, which is, you ask "where ought a person be conceived" and the answer is "whereever the egg is hanging out during the marital act".


The Catholic Church objects to IVF, primarily on grounds that it comes from reasoning from natural law rather than grounded by a teaching from the Bible.

It is common practice in IVF to fertilize several eggs to increase the likelihood that one of them will survive for implantation and then selectively abort or cryogenically freeze the "extra" babies. The Roman Catholic position is that Christians should oppose that practice for the same reasons they oppose abortion.

  • It's not "common practice" to transplant more than one embryo. IVF consultants are not keen on deliberately increasing the chances of multiple births for a number of reasons: the obvious one being that twins/ triplets etc are often born weaker and need more medical care. Multiple embryos would not be routinely put back in younger mothers (under 40). I know. I have had IVF (one daughter from one transplanted embryo).
    – user14700
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 15:50
  • @Hart: It's common practice to fertilize multiple eggs because not all of them survive until implantation. (My edit reflects this clarification.)
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 3:58
  • Perhaps conventions have changed. Multiple implantations definitely used to be common.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 5:15
  • @curiousdannii: You could be right.
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 3:26

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