Michael Vacca is the director of ministry, bioethics, and membership experience at the Christ Medicus Foundation in Troy, Michigan.


            Embryo adoption is one of the most heated topics of debate in the Church. The reason is clear: over a million innocent human beings are cryogenically frozen and their prospect of survival is slim because there are simply too many to implant.[1] In fact, their only chance of survival is if they are implanted in the womb of a woman and then gestated to full term, delivered, and raised.[2]

            Section 1 of this paper compares heterologous in vitro fertilization (IVF) to embryo adoption, both of which include heterologous embryo transfer (HET), and argues that embryo adoption and IVF are intrinsically immoral because HET is intrinsically immoral. Section 2 deconstructs the arguments that embryo adoption is morally licit based upon a reading of Dignitas personae and that embryo adoption does not concern the goods of marriage.[3] It then applies the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs),[4] arguing why a consistent reading of these directives precludes embryo adoption.

The Immorality of Heterologous Embryo Transfer (HET) Morally Excludes Heterologous IVF and Embryo Adoption

            The arguments used to justify embryo adoption invariably distinguish it from heterologous IVF because the natural moral law and the Church clearly condemn the latter.[5] But there is more wrong with heterologous IVF than the creation of embryos ex utero in a petri dish, which the Church clearly condemns.[6] In homologous IVF, this process uses the gametes of a married couple, who are the genetic parents of the child conceived ex utero. Conversely, in heterologous IVF,  at least one of the gametes is donated from a third party.[7] We can then view heterologous IVF as consisting of two components: (1) the creation of the embryo through scientific means outside the womb (extra uterum) through the fertilization of an ovum outside the marriage bond , and (2) the subsequent transfer of that embryo into a woman to be gestated outside the marriage bond, that is, not as a the fruit of this woman’s marital act with her husband.[8] This second component is what is meant by heterologous embryo transfer. Because both heterologous IVF and embryo adoption involve HET, the moral defense of embryo adoption requires a defense of HET.   I will demonstrate that, because HET is intrinsically immoral, not only heterologous IVF, but also embryo adoption is morally excluded.

Understanding the Moral Object

            Every moral action has three components: the moral object chosen, the intention, and the circumstances.[9] Of the three, the primary determinant is the moral object chosen. As stated eloquently by Pope St. John Paul II in his great encyclical on moral theology Veritatis splendor, “The morality of the human act depends primary and fundamentally on the object rationally chosen by the deliberate will.” Another way of stating this primacy of the moral object chosen is to say that certain moral objects are irremediably evil and incapable of being ordered to God and the good of the human person.[10]

            What then is the moral object chosen in heterologous IVF? It is the creation of an embryo outside the womb and then the transfer of that the embryo into a woman to be gestated outside the marriage bond. By outside the marriage bond, I mean that the child implanted in the womb is not the fruit of the marital love of the couple raising the child.[11] What then is the moral object chosen in embryo adoption (HET)? It is the transfer of an embryo created outside the womb into a woman to be gestated outside the marriage bond.[12] Specifically, the only difference in the moral object chosen between heterologous IVF and embryo adoption is that the latter does not include the creation of an embryo ex utero, but rather, presupposes the creation of an embryo ex utero. Still, both share the same moral object of implanting an embryo in a woman to gestate that embryo outside the marriage bond. If implanting an embryo in the womb of a woman to gestate that child outside the marriage bond (HET) is intrinsically immoral, both heterologous IVF and embryo adoption would be morally illicit for precisely the same reason.

HET, and Therefore Embryo Adoption, Severs the Unitive and Procreative Dimensions of the Marital Act

            Catholic teaching leaves no doubt that God wills the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act.[13] This is why contraception and assisted reproductive techniques that replace the marriage act such as IVF are intrinsically immoral.[14] They separate what is by nature necessarily joined: the unitive and the procreative. The question before us then resolves as follows: is implanting an embryo in the womb of a woman to gestate that child outside the marriage bond (HET) a separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act? If the answer is yes, then all HET, including embryo adoption, is intrinsically immoral, just like heterologous IVF is intrinsically immoral.

            Now one may wonder legitimately how embryo adoption can be a separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marriage act since in the case of embryo adoption, the child that is normally the fruit of the marriage act already exists.[15] This argument, however, presupposes that procreation means only conception, and that the subsequent gestation of an unborn child is outside the scope of procreation. This, however, cannot possibly be the meaning of the Church. The Church teaches that parents, for instance, are the primary educators of their children, such that procreation imposes upon them not only the duty of physically raising their children, but also their moral and spiritual upbringing.[16] Procreation is, therefore, not merely a physical action, but a moral and spiritual action,[17] and this is necessarily the case because the human persons called to procreate, a man and his wife, are body-soul persons. To limit procreation to conception alone is, therefore, to exclude the moral and spiritual development of the unborn child in the womb, which is an essential aspect of procreation.[18] 

            Since the child conceived in the womb can only continue in existence through being gestated in the womb, “procreation” must be understood by the Church in its natural sense as encompassing not only conception, but also gestation. Gestation presupposes conception and is a necessary part of the actualization of the human person conceived in the womb, such that it would be altogether unnatural and unreasonable to separate conception from gestation.[19] So procreation encompasses at the very least conception and gestation in their total physical, moral, and spiritual aspects.[20] Consequently, embryo adoption is, in fact, a separation of the unitive and the procreative dimensions of the marital act because the moral object chosen, gestating an unborn child, is included in the meaning of procreation but does not result from marital union.[21] Therefore, embryo adoption is intrinsically immoral because it separates the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act, just as heterologous IVF does.[22]  This is the application of the extended inseparability argument, which views the inseparability between the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act as extending into conception and gestation.[23]

            Advocates of embryo adoption that implicitly reject the extended inseparability argument by treating embryo adoption in the context of adoption and arguing that gestation does not give rise to the same duties as genetic parenthood[24] do not address the harm done to marriage by excluding gestation from the marital union.  The reason advocates of embryo adoption do not directly argue against the extended inseparability argument is because there is no more justification for separating gestation from conception and marital intimacy than for separating conception from marital intimacy.[25]  Advocates of embryo adoption may as well ask us to accept that a root and a trunk are part of the same tree, but not the leaves and the fruit.

            The extended inseparability argument is supported by evidence that not only do woman undergo hormonal changes during pregnancy, but their husbands do as well.[26] Science suggests that the union of a husband and wife extends beyond the conception of a child into the pregnancy itself, and that this union expresses itself hormonally in both the man and the woman.[27] So if the unitive dimension of marriage extends into gestation, it would only make sense if the procreative did as well, which further supports the claim that procreation extends beyond conception.  What is desperately needed is a broader, clearer understanding of the marriage covenant, so the goods of marriage—union and procreation—are not reduced to the marital act.[28]

Embryo Adoption Violates the Exclusivity of the Marriage Covenant

            In fact, it is precisely the disassociation of gestational motherhood from the total and exclusive gift of the woman’s self to her husband in marriage that violates the marriage covenant between husband and wife.[29] Dignitas Personae is completely clear that the unity of marriage requires reciprocal respect for the right within marriage to become a father or mother only together with the other spouse. The Church grounds this teaching in respect for “the unity of marriage” and respect for the “specifically human values of sexuality which require that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses.”[30] This reciprocal respect for the unity of marriage and for the love between the spouses is objectively contradicted by embryo adoption where a woman becomes a mother outside of the marriage bond. Even if the husband consents to the embryo adoption, his “participation in the conjugal act [that normally leads to the gift of children] is systematically precluded.”[31] We must remember that the generative capacity of the woman “belongs to the marital union.”[32] Advocates of embryo adoption invoke a weak analogy with post-natal adoption based on the similarity that the adopted child is not the fruit of the marriage. But the analogy comes to nothing once we recognize that post-natal adoption does not cause gestation, and therefore, does not abuse the procreative powers reserved to the marital covenant.[33] To reduce pregnancy to housing an unborn child in the same way as adoption houses a born child is to reduce pregnancy to a merely physical action, when in reality, pregnancy is a profoundly moral and spiritual action because it physiologically changes the woman’s body, thus affecting the marital covenant itself.[34] In fact, we can legitimately say that to treat pregnancy as a merely physical action is to reduce the woman to a mere incubator and, thus, to deny what women know by nature, that pregnancy is intrinsic to “vocational motherhood.”[35]

            That procreation is reserved to the marriage covenant is implied in the Church’s treating of children as the “supreme gift of marriage itself”[36]; children are of the order of marriage just as procreation, including gestation, which brings forth children, is of the order of marriage. This is also implied by the Church regarding children as the “crowning glory” of marriage.[37]

Addressing the Praiseworthy Intention Behind Embryo Adoption

            Does the fact that the intention and circumstances of embryo adoption are admittedly different from heterologous IVF provide a morally compelling reason for concluding that embryo adoption is morally distinct from heterologous IVF? In a word, no, because the primary determinant of a moral action is the moral object chosen,[38] which as argued above, is the same morally illicit object in both heterologous IVF and embryo adoption. Embryo adoption is wrong in and of itself because HET is fundamentally irreconcilable with “the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation,”[39] which is the primary criterion for the marital union.[40]

  1. Deconstructing the Moral Defense of Embryo Adoption

Interpreting Dignitatis Personae

            Edward Furton argues that embryo adoption is morally permissible with reservations.[41] He argues that what Dignitas personae condemns is not embryo adoption itself, but the wrong intention to use embryo adoption as a solution for infertility.[42] But how can embryo adoption be consistent with Catholic teaching in any circumstance, regardless of whether it is subjectively viewed as a solution to infertility, when it clearly violates the teaching of Dignitas personae regarding the unity of marriage, since, in fact, the wife of the adoptive couple becomes a mother without her husband? Furton simply dismisses this argument by denying that the wife becomes a mother to the unborn child.[43] Furton is correct that the wife does not become a full mother to the child, but that is precisely the problem. The wife of the adoptive couple undoubtedly becomes the gestational mother without embracing the full reality of motherhood and the full gift of self to her husband emanating from her marital union.[44]

Furton’s position that the adoptive parents in embryo adoption do not become parents is really a claim that gestational motherhood is not motherhood. But this claim is belied by the natural moral law which integrates genetic motherhood, gestational motherhood, and social motherhood as one integrated reality,[45] and by biology which clearly shows that the child growing in her womb profoundly affects the woman carrying the child[46] such that it is unimaginable that the intimacy between a mother and the child growing in her womb is wholly external to the profound mystery of motherhood. Clearly, gestational motherhood is motherhood, and in the case of embryo adoption, this procreative act of motherhood is wholly extrinsic to the marriage bond, thus violating the clear teaching of Dignitas personae that women are not to become mothers except through their husbands.[47]

            Furton goes further in asserting: “The claim that the embryo has not yet been procreated can be reduced to an attitude of moral opprobrium. The embryo is thought to carry within itself the mark of its own supposed incomplete procreation, which it bears as a defect that makes it unworthy of adoption.”[48] With due charity and respect, the argument that procreation is not complete at the conception of a child outside the womb is a statement about the definition of the process of procreation, not a statement about the moral worth of the embryo. This argument confuses categories of morality by wrongfully transitioning from a wrongful moral object to a defective moral person. No one alleges that the embryo is responsible for his or her status. Clearly, the moral worth of the embryo is not in dispute. By affirming that the procreation of a child wrongfully conceived outside the womb is not complete, I presuppose the embryo’s dignity because I insist that the child has the right to be procreated fully within the marriage bond, as the “supreme gift of marriage.”[49]

Embryo Adoption and the Goods of Marriage

            Germain Grisez argues that embryo adoption “has nothing to do with the good[s] of marriage, because it is not a sexual act.”[50] This argument distorts the true nature of marriage by reducing the unitive and procreative dimensions of marriage to the marital act itself. By marriage, the Church means a sharing or partnership in the whole of life.[51] The goods of marriage—the union of the spouses and the gift of children-–thus extend to the full measure of married life, not simply the marital act. So it is false to claim as Grisez does that because the transfer of the embryo is not sexual, that is, because it is outside the marital act, it does not concern the goods of marriage. Embryo adoption profoundly affects both the unitive and procreative goods of marriage by interposing a child from outside the marriage into the heart of the marital embrace, into the very womb of the woman, thus disassociating life from love, the child from the marital embrace, which is the essence of surrogacy.[52]

The Implementation of the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD)

            ERDs directive 40 prohibits heterologous fertilization “because it is contrary to the covenant of marriage, the unity of the spouses, and the dignity proper to parents and the child.”[53] But heterologous fertilization is often for the sake of implanting the fertilized ovum, the embryo, into a woman’s womb, and so as a practical matter, it includes the practice of HET. Moreover, for the aforementioned reasons, it is not practically possible to disassociate embryo adoption which includes HET from heterologous IVF in a morally significant way. Therefore, for directive 40 to really have an effect on the provision of Catholic healthcare services safeguarding the covenant of marriage, the unity of marriage, and the dignity of parents and children, it should be interpreted to prohibit not only the fertilization of the ovum, but also the subsequent HET, including embryo adoption. A Catholic healthcare institution cannot credibly argue against the evil of heterologous fertilization if it is itself creating a market for embryos fertilized ex utero, albeit not an essential one. [54] It creates the impression that human beings can be bought and sold, which is a form of human trafficking which Catholics should have no part in.[55] Since I believe embryo adoption is intrinsically immoral, I would argue that Catholic facilities that allow embryo adoption are engaged in formal cooperation with evil, which is always morally illicit, in addition to the material cooperation with IVF clinics that can cause scandal. Since ERDs directive 70 prohibits Catholic facilities from engaging in immediate material cooperation with evil, there can be no doubt that formal cooperation with evil is wholly out of the question.

Conclusion                It is imperative that the Church not allow the praiseworthy intentions behind embryo adoption to distort the serious moral problems involved. We can recognize the good intentions of those advocating for embryo adoption, while strongly disagreeing with their moral reasoning. The unity of marriage and the love of husband and wife deserve protection, and that protection will never be consistent with embryo adoption because, as previously stated, HET interposes a child from outside the marriage into the heart of the marital union. The best way to protect marriages and future embryos is to stop the cycle of abuse and refuse to continue having anything to do with the illicit creation and transfer of human embryos.[1]

[1]Ephesians 5:11  reads: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” See CDF, Dignitas personae, n. 19, citing John Paul II, Address to the Participants in the Symposium on “Evangelium vitae and Law” and the Eleventh International Colloquium on Roman and Canon Law (24 May 1996), Acta apostolicae sedis 88 (1996): 943–944, 6: “John Paul II made an ‘appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons.’”

[1] The Church has definitively stated that embryos must be treated as human persons. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), I.1; see also introduction, 1; introduction, 3; and Anthony Zimmerman, “Zygotes and Embryos Are People,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, June 2000, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=2808; Elissa Strauss, “The Leftover Embryo Crisis: There Are an Estimated 1 Million Frozen Embryos in the United States Right Now. What Should Be Done with Them? What Should I Do with Mine?,” Elle, September 29, 2017, https://www.elle.com/culture/a12445676/the-leftover-embryo-crisis/.

[2] Ectogenesis, the use of artificial wombs to develop these embryos, is not currently a realistic option but may be in the coming decades. Helen Sedgwick, “Artificial Wombs Could Soon Be a Reality. What Will This Mean for Women?” The Guardian, US Edition, September 4, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/04/artifical-womb-women-ectogenesis-baby-fertility.

[3] CDF, Dignitas personae (September 8, 2008).

[4] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (EDRs), 6th ed. (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2018).

[5] The moral illicitness of heterologous in vitro fertilization and homologous in vitro fertilization is stated clearly in CDF, Donum vitae, II.A–II.B. Magisterial teaching on this issue is summarized in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004), n. 235.

[6] John M. Haas, “Begotten Not Made: A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology,” USCCB website, 1998, https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/reproductive-technology/begotten-not-made-a-catholic-view-of-reproductive-technology.

[7] See Mayo Clinic Staff, “In vitro Fertilization (IVF),” Patient Care and Health Information: Tests and Procedures, Mayo Clinic, accessed July 6, 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/in-vitro-fertilization/about/pac-20384716.

[8] Tadeusz Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” in Human Embryo Adoption: Biotechnology, Marriage, and the Right to Life, ed. Thomas V. Berg and Edward J. Furton (Philadelphia: National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2006), 37: “The core question involves the final stepof the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process and whether the transfer of an embryo into a woman’s uterus is morally licit.”

[9] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: US Conference of Catholic Bishops / Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2016 update), nn. 1750–1761.

[10] John Paul II, Veritatis splendor (August 6, 1993), n. 78, see n. 81.

[11] USCCB, Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2009), 3, https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/resources/upload/Life-Giving-Love-in-an-Age-of-Technology-2009.pdf: “In marriage, man and woman are united to each other, body and soul, through a loving physical union. As embodied persons, they were created to complete and fulfill one another in love and also to unite together in bringing about a new human being as the fruit of that love.”

[12] Even advocates of embryo adoption acknowledge that the transfer of the embryo into the womb is a part of the moral object chosen as a means to save the life of the child. E. Christian Brugger, “A Defense by Analogy of Heterologous Embryo Transfer,” in Human Embryo Adoption, 200.

[13] Paul VI, Humanae vitae (July 25, 1968), n. 12; Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 235.

[14] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 235.

[15] “Some authors have ventured to claim that embryo adoption has practically nothing to do with procreation. The procreative act, they maintain, has been completed in IVF, and what exists now is a post-procreative reality, namely, an early human being whose life can be saved only if he or she is transferred into someone’s womb.” Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 40. One such author who makes this claim is Brugger, “A Defense by Analogy,”200–201.

[16] Catechism, n. 2223.

[17] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 42, associates procreation with education and argues that birth is the transition from procreation to education. I agree with this view.

[18] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 43: “Pregnancy is thus not some kind of addition to procreation, a form of nurturing or fostering which is an incidental after-thought; it is rather an integral and deeply expressive manifestation of human procreation.”

[19] The unnatural setting of the embryo can make us forget the basic realities of the development of the human person. Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 38.

[20] “Procreation in this broad context encompasses the inscribed intentionality of the conjugal act up to its implied finality at birth.” Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 43.

[21] Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 44.

[22] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 44. The argument that procreation is included as part of the marriage covenant is also shared by Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, “The Embryo Rescue Debate: Impregnating Women, Ectogenesis, and Restoration from Suspended Animation” in Human Embryo Adoption, 91. This argument is further shared by Christopher Oleson, “The Nuptial Womb: On the Moral Significance of Being ‘With Child’ in Human Embryo Adoption, 168–195.

[23] Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, “Embryo Adoption and the Extended Inseparability Argument,” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 21.1 (Spring 2021), 29–35, doi: 10.5840/ncbq20212114.

[24] Melissa Moschella, “Gestation Does Not Necessarily Imply Parenthood: Implications for the Morality of Embryo Adoption and Embryo Rescue,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92.1, 21–48, doi: 10.5840/acpq20171130137.

[25] See Austriaco, “Embryo Adoption and the Extended Inseparability Argument,” 34.

[26] JR Thorpe, “4 Ways Men’s Hormones Change During Pregnancy Too,” Bustle, November 23, 2015, https://www.bustle.com/articles/125186-4-ways-mens-hormones-change-during-pregnancy-too; see Lee T Gettler et al., “Prolactin, Fatherhood, and Reproductive Behavior in Human Males,” American Journal of Biological Anthropology 148.3 (July 2012): 362–370, doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22058; Robin S. Edelstein et al., “Prenatal Hormones in First-Time Expectant Parents: Longitudinal Changes and Within-Couple Correlations,” American Journal of Human Biology 27.3 (May/June 2015): 317–325, doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22670.

[27] Douglas Carlton Abrams, “The Making of a Modern Dad,” Psychology Today 35.2, March 1, 2002, 38–42, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200203/the-making-modern-dad.

[28] This is suggested by the following: “A judgment against HET might well imply or specifically articulate a broader understanding of the marital covenant, since marital exclusivity would then be thought to extend to goods beyond sexual sharing and the discernible moment of conception, to include gestation itself.” Thomas V. Berg, introduction in Human Embryo Adoption, 4–5.

[29] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 48.

[30] CDF, Dignitas personae, n. 12.

[31] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 48: “One should not attempt to become a mother in any semi- or pseudo-procreative manner; one should not make use of pregnancy, this special part of marital exclusivity, outside its proper and reserved context.”

[32] Tonti-Filippini, “The Embryo Rescue Debate,” 91.

[33] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 48.

[34] Tonti-Filippini, “The Embryo Rescue Debate,” 87.

[35] Christopher Oleson, “The Nuptial Womb,” 179.

[36] Council Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, n. 51

[37] Catechism, n. 1652.

[38] John Paul II, Veritatis splendor,n. 81.

[39] Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II, n. 51.

[40] Council Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, n. 51; see Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 39–40.

[41] Edward Furton, “Embryo Adoption Reconsidered,” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16.2 (Summer 2010), 329.

[42] Furton, “Embryo Adoption Reconsidered,” 331.

[43] Furton, “Embryo Adoption Reconsidered,” 336.

[44] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 46–48.

[45] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 46.

[46] Studies suggest that a woman’s brain is remodeled by pregnancy. Catherine Caruso, “Pregnancy Causes Lasting Changes in a Woman’s Brain: New Mothers Showed Evidence of Neural Remodeling up to Two Years After Giving Birth,” Scientific American, December 19, 2016, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pregnancy-causes-lasting-changes-in-a-womans-brain/.

[47] CDF, Dignitas personae, n. 12: “With regard to the treatment of infertility, new medical techniques must respect three fundamental goods: a) the right to life and to physical integrity of every human being from conception to natural death; b) the unity of marriage, which means reciprocal respect for the right within marriage to become a father or mother only together with the other spouse; c) the specifically human values of sexuality which require ‘that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses.’

[48] Furton, “Embryo Adoption Reconsidered,” 337.

[49] “Children as Gift,” Natural Family Planning Program, USCCB, https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/catholic-teaching/upload/Children-as-gift.pdf, accessed July 29, 2022.

[50] Germain Grisez, The Way of the Lord Jesus, vol. 3, Difficult Moral Questions (Quincy, IL: Franciscan Press, 1997), 241–242.

[51] Catechism, n. 1601:“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.”

[52] Pacholczyk, “Some Moral Contraindications to Embryo Adoption,” 50–51. Since, then, embryo adoption is a form of surrogacy, it should be prohibited by ERDs, dir. 42.

[53] EDRs, dir. 40.

[54] It is well documented that embryo adoption may involve material cooperation in the evil of IVF clinics. Thomas K. Nelson, “Personhood and Embryo Adoption,” Linacre Quarterly 79.3, 261–274. In fact, this is so true that advocates of embryo adoption have to give disclaimers regarding the pastoral problems likely to result from Catholic support for embryo adoption. Brugger, “A Defense by Analogy of Heterologous Embryo Transfer,” 227 footnote 41.

[55] Catherine Harmon, “Think All Human Trafficking is Illegal? Think Again,” Catholic World Report, January 17, 2014, https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2014/01/17/think-all-human-trafficking-is-illegal-think-again/. The mere prospect of scandal can be a sufficient reason for a Catholic facility not to partner with a non-Catholic entity that is acting contrary to Church teaching. ERDs, dir. 71.

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