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Life in Christ

571

The gift of a child

2373

Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional practice see

in

large families

a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’

generosity.

163

2374

Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly.

“What will you give me,” asks Abraham of God, “for I continue

childless?”

164

And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, “Give me

children, or I shall die!”

165

2375

Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be en­

couraged, on condition that it is placed “at the service of the hu­

man person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral

good according to the design and will of God.”

166

2376

Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by

the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or

ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterolo­

gous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to

be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by

marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother

only through each other.”

167

2377

Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous ar­

tificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet

remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the

procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer

an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that

“entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and

biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin

and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in

itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents

and children.”

168

“Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its

proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is

to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link

between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the

human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of

the person.”

169

163 Cf.

GS

50 § 2.

164

Gen

15:2.

165

Gen

30:1.

166 CDF,

Donum vitae intro., 2.

167 CDF,

Donum vitae

II, 1.

168 CDF,

Donum vitae

II, 5.

169 CDF,

Donum vitae

II, 4.

1654

2293