I was listening to Pints With Aquinas July 29th episode with Trent Horn, he mentioned that a practice of gamete inter-fallopian transfer is an open question in the Catholic Church. What are the arguments for and against GIFT and what does that have to do with the use of a porous condom within marriage? (where does one even get a porous condom?)

  • To the parenthetical question, a qualified nurse can make sterile puncture holes in a condom. Catholics are permitted to use this method to collect a semen sample for analysis, as some semen can move through the holes and the condom does not cause the marital act to be changed in such a way that would be contraceptive. If you work with a truly Catholic OBGYN and nursing team, they do this commonly.
    – jaredad7
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


The controversy around GIFT within Catholic moral theology primarily stems from differing interpretations of the Church's teachings on procreation.

Arguments Against GIFT

The primary argument against GIFT, and most forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART), is that they separate the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act, which is considered morally unacceptable within Catholic moral theology. The Catholic Church teaches that every sexual act within marriage must be both unitive (expressing love between the spouses) and procreative (open to the transmission of life).

In procedures like GIFT, the marital act is not the direct cause of the conception, because the gametes are combined outside the body and then inserted into the fallopian tubes. This is seen as a violation of the principle that the procreation of a new human being should be the result of the marital act itself.

Arguments for GIFT

On the other hand, some theologians argue that GIFT might be morally permissible because it differs significantly from other ART procedures like IVF. In IVF, fertilization occurs outside the body, whereas in GIFT, fertilization occurs within the body, preserving the natural process to a greater extent.

They argue that GIFT could be seen as an assistance to the marital act rather than a replacement of it, similar to how natural family planning methods are permitted because they assist rather than replace the natural process.

Porous Condom Use

The mention of a "porous condom" likely refers to a specific kind of condom used sometimes in the GIFT procedure to collect sperm. These condoms have tiny holes in them that allow some sperm to pass through, thus the act remains open to life and potentially maintains the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act. The use of these condoms is another area of debate within Catholic moral theology.

As for where to get such a condom, they are typically medical grade and used primarily in clinical settings, so they're not something you'd typically find at a regular pharmacy or store. But if you are lucky, tell us all, where to get one. ;)

  • All condoms are porous.
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 0:33

All condoms are porous. I think you're asking about a perforated seminal collection device (SCD):

There is, however, an excellent alternative to collect seminal fluid [for medical testing purposes] that does not violate one’s religious, moral or aesthetic beliefs [or does it?] and obtains reliable results. This technique is to use a perforated seminal collection device (SCD). This collection device can be purchased from: Apex Medical Technologies, Inc., 10064 Mesa Ridge Ct., Suite 202, San Diego, CA 92121. Phone: 1-800-345-3208. The perforations need to be placed by an assistant with a sterile needle because the SCD does not come pre-perforated. In this fashion, however, the seminal fluid can be collected with an act of intercourse, at home, in a way that is not contraceptive [or is it?]. When the seminal fluid is collected in this fashion, it needs to be brought to the hospital or to the laboratory within 30 to 45 minutes after collection and it should be kept warm during this time. It is preferable for the seminal fluid to be emptied from the collection device into a clean plastic container prior to being brought into the laboratory. […] this technique has been found to be superior to masturbation or coitus interruptus for the collection of seminal fluid [in terms of semen quality].

—Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, The NaProTECHNOLOGY Revolution, ch. 25 "Male Infertility"

  • 1
    Do you mean porous to air or water or something? Or do you mean that perfect use of condoms still has a 2% chance of leading to fertilisation?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 5:32

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