1. What is surrogacy and why might it be used? Many couples, such as homosexual, celibate and infertile couples, are unable to biologically conceive children with each other. Today, due to advances in reproductive technology, couples now have medical means to have children. Reproductive techniques such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation and other reproductive technologies allow otherwise infertile couples a chance to have children. However, there are still some couples for whom these techniques are not successful and for whom adoption is not an attractive or viable option.
These couples may still wish to have children who are their genetic offspring. Often the mother cannot give birth for reasons that may include lack of a uterus or where pregnancy would be medically risky. For these or other reasons, the only way to have genetic offspring is to have another woman carry and give birth to their child: a Surrogate Mother. Surrogacy is when a woman external of the couple carries the fertilised embryo, which was conceived by the couple, inside her womb until child birth, when she will hand the baby over to the couple.
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Surrogacy might be used for many different reasons. Couples most often choose surrogacy when the woman is infertile and treatments have failed, or when a woman is unable to carry a child herself because of abnormalities in her uterus or if she has had a hysterectomy. Secondly because in male homosexual couples there is no available womb and if the couple want to have a child they must use surrogacy. Women may choose to become surrogate mothers for many reasons. They may do so because they know the couple trying to conceive, such as a sister or a friend, and they want to help them out.
Other women volunteer to be surrogate mothers because they feel that by carrying someone else’s child, it will bring them a happiness that they would not have otherwise. 2. Give arguments that religious believers from two traditions might give for and against genetic engineering. The phrase genetic engineering refers to the artificial manipulation, modification and recombination of the natural world in a way that is perceived to be beneficial to human beings. It encompasses scientific methods such as cloning, embryology and human genetic engineering.
Each of these are surrounded by ethical issues, and traditions hold different views for each of these. The Roman Catholic view varies from pro to con with each different aspect of genetic engineering. They wholly support the usage of blood transfusions as well as organ transplants. This is because the Roman Catholic faith places great emphasis upon the sanctity of life, and by prolonging ones life, one is upholding the values of the gift of life – its sacredness and gift from God. However, when concerning Embryology and Cloning, the story is very different.
One of the fundamental conditions of the two mentioned is that during experimentation, the embryo is terminated in the process. To Roman Catholics, at the very ‘spark’ of conception, the cells become a human and that by terminating the foetus, you are in effect murdering a human, one of the gravest sins. The termination of the foetus in Roman Catholicism is considered ‘gravely contrary to natural law’. Natural law is the concept thought up by medieval philosopher Saint Thomas Aquinas. He argues that each thing has a purpose and natural end.
The purpose of pregnancy is to have a child, and the natural end of pregnancy is the birth of a child. When the end is not achieved, then this is believed to be against the will of God, and therefore errant. A major source of authority in Roman Catholicism, the Vatican, states that it ‘supports and urges a worldwide comprehensive ban on human embryonic cloning for both reproductive and scientific purposes’. As you can see, the absolute view on the topic is due to the termination of unborn embryos. The Roman Catechism strictly states that ‘human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception’.