Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Time to Be Born: Announcing Our Newest Publication

On Monday, the Today show featured a news story about a couple in the Midwest who had someone else's frozen embryo implanted into the women's uterus by mistake, but who chose to continue the pregnancy to term. When the baby is born, he will go to the biological parents of the embryo.

It's complicated to know the right language to even tell you that story. You may have had to read it twice to understand who is who.

I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be either of these couples' minister and provide pastoral care to them through these months and the years to come.

This is just one possible, complicated outcome of the burgeoning world of assisted reproductive technologies. As our Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Assisted Reproductive Technologies states, "fundamental questions of values and ethics are raised by expanding understandings of science and the development of technologies unimagined by earlier generations." Further, "there is a need for increased regulation to safeguard health, research to determine the risks...and caution...on ARTS that are high risk and low success."

It's complicated.

That's why I am so happy to tell you about the Religious Institute's latest publication, A Time to Be Born. It's available for download as a pdf on our web site. It includes information about ARTs, what Scripture and tradition say about infertility and childbearing, ethical issues and pastoral counseling, as well as lists of resources for more information. We're proud to be publishing the country's first multifaith resource for religious professionals on this emerging topic.

On Thursday, my colleague, Dr. Kate Ott, who directed the development of the new guide, will be blogging here about the ethical issues raised by ARTs. Be sure to stop by.

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