Publication of Catholic Bishops’ Submission to Government Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction

12 Feb 2003


12 FEBRUARY 2003



The Submission which the Irish Bishops’ Conference made to the Government Commission on
Assisted Human Reproduction in December 2001 was published today. The full text of the
Submission is attached.

The booklet “Assisted Human Reproduction – Facts & Ethical Issues” published by the
Bishops’ Committee on Bioethics (Veritas Publications 2000) to which the Submission refers is
available at

The main Recommendations of the Submission are as follows:

1. Medical intervention on human embryos should only be permitted if it is designed to
protect the life and health of the specific embryo being treated.

2. The production of embryos specifically destined for research is unethical and should
be prohibited by law.

3. The cloning of human embryos for so-called therapeutic purposes e.g. stem-cell research
should be prohibited by law.

4. In the treatment of infertility, the donation of human reproductive material or human
embryos should be prohibited by law.

5. In cases where the donation of reproductive material or embryos has already taken place,
the right of a person to know the identity of his/her biological parents should take
precedence over the right to confidentiality of the donor.

6. Any legislation to provide for Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) should recognise and
protect the right of every child to be born to a mother and father who are permanently
committed to one another.

7. The cloning of human embryos for the purpose of reproduction should be prohibited by law.

8. The storage and disposal of human sperm or ova, if permitted by law, should be governed
by appropriate legislation.

9. In any form of ART steps should be taken to avoid the production of more human embryos
than can be safely transferred to the womb of the mother in any one treatment-cycle.

10. The deliberate destruction of human embryos should be prohibited.

11. Any fertilised ovum should be used for normal implantations.

12. The storage of embryos should be prohibited.

12 February 2003

Further information:
Fr Martin Clarke: 087 220 8044
Ms Brenda Drumm: 087 233 7797

Click here to read the full text of the Catholic Bishops’
Submission to the Government Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction.