Monday, April 28, 2008

Infertility and the Catholic Church - Part Deux

Q - I remember hearing something about a form of 'conception' where an egg and the sperm were separated by an air bubble, and then reintroduced to the uterus. Is this an actual form of conception and what sort of implications are there from a Catholic standpoint on this concept?

A - Thanks for the question. I am guessing that this is a follow-up to my post about In-vitro, which I recommend others read before I answer this question.

You are referring to the GIFT technique, which stands for "gamete intrafallopian transfer". It is a rarely used technique that is neither approved or disapproved by the Church. Here is the USCCB definition of the technique:
Nearly ripe ova are obtained from the woman's follicles by ultrasonically guided aspiration techniques as for IVF. But one ovum, separated with an air bubble from a prepared seminal fluid sample, is immediately reinserted with a plastic tubing into the woman's fallopian tube so that conception will occur within the body. Pregnancy rates are similar to IVF.
The reason it is rarely used, is because it involves a surgical procedure, is more expensive than IVF, and doctors don't like doing it.

I am not sure what you mean by "an actual form of conception", but conception takes place within the women's body.

The USCCB website I linked to above has more info.

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