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Christian Denominations With Most Liberal Stance on Designer Babies

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 05:19 PM

Fertility clinics can now offer services that allow prospective parents the ability to create “designer babies,” selecting their baby’s eye and hair colors, sex, and even stature, as well as screening for genetic diseases. But this controversial practice is criticized by some Christians.

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Referred to as “cosmetic selection,” the procedure is technically called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and it involves removing a cell from an embryo and testing it for desired physical traits, the Christian Post said. One clinic reported in 2009 that parents could select for those physical traits but quickly retracted the decision after “public outcry” against the idea. 

Like many technological advances that raise ethical issues, the idea of tinkering with a baby’s characteristics is controversial, and some Christian denominations believe it is acceptable, while others don’t support the idea.

When the technology to create designer babies first came about, there were few clear policies from church groups on whether it was a moral choice or whether it violated Christian ethics. But many Christian denominations have stated opinions on other reproductive issues like in vitro fertilization and embryo adoption.

Here are some churches that have taken a more liberal stance, usually specifying circumstances and the use of modern technology, when it comes to fertility procedures:

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Protestant Church

The Protestant Church accepts treatment of infertility, as well as a limited form of in vitro fertilization (IVF). One of its rules is that the participants are married.

Anglican Church

The Anglican Church shares a similar policy… that the semen can be collected via masturbation from the husband. Third party participation is forbidden.

Christian Science Faith

The Christian Science faith has no objection to Christian designer babies, as long as they are conceived through artificial insemination without the use of medication and surgery.

Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church of America has not formally given the green light to its members, but instead expressed caution with regard to test tube babies. “Christian ethics cannot be determined by medical technology. Fallopian tubes, as the Sabbath, are here for the benefit of moral human beings created in God’s image. The basic issue is the validity of conception control, whether in aiding or in preventing such conception,” said William Lazareth, theologian with the Lutheran Church in America. He also added that "the ethical significance of the use of any medically sound method within a covenant of marital fidelity depends chiefly on the motivation of the users” and said, “Human beings do not actually create life, whether inside or outside of test tubes. Ultimately, God remains the sole Creator of the egg or the sperm, and the sovereign author of the miracle of life.” 

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According to IVF Worldwide, the following churches are more liberal in their approaches to IVF, as long as embryos are not destroyed in the process:
  • Baptists
  • Methodists
  • Lutheran
  • Mormon
  • Presbyterian
  • Episcopal
  • United Church of Christ
  • Jehovah’s Witness
  • Seventh Day Adventists
  • Mennonites
However, some of these denominations, such as the Methodists, have actively spoken out against designer babies, so even a tentative approval of IVF does not translate to gene therapy. 

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Fertility clinics can now offer services that allow prospective parents the ability to create "designer babies," selecting their baby's eye and hair colors, sex, and even stature. But this controversial practice is criticized by some Christians.
christian, designer babies, liberal, ivf, church
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 05:19 PM
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