Monday January 11, 2010

100 Polish Scientists Condemn In Vitro Fertilization

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

WARSAW, January 11, 2010 ( – A group of Polish scientists have issued a document demanding that the government legislate a statutory ban on artificial (in vitro) fertilization procedures. The 100 signatories also call for full government funding of NaProTechnology, an ethically acceptable and highly successful method of evaluating and treating infertility.

The demand from the scientists follows on the heels of an open letter delivered to the Polish parliament last September from hundreds of doctors and medical professionals, urging them to vote against legalizing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and opt instead for the more successful, safer, and natural treatment for fertility problems.

Several proposals had been brought forward in the fall session of parliament to deal with the widely available, though officially illegal practice of IVF. Proposals range from taxpayer funding for all IVF treatments without restriction, including for lesbians, to an outright ban of the creation of human embryos outside the mother’s body.

“September last year saw the commencement of the work on the legal regulations concerning the in vitro procedure. As scientists and academics, we would like to stand up to speak on such an important social issue,” the scientists begin their appeal to the government. They then state categorically that IVF is “deeply unethical” and is a “a gross contradiction with the ecology of procreation – by replacing the natural environment of conception and of initial human development, i.e. the mother’s womb, with ‘glass’.”

The scientists confirm that “human life begins at the moment of conception – this is a biological fact, confirmed scientifically,” and then declare that their moral and professional objection to artificial procreation is based on the fact that countless human embryos are created and destroyed in the process of IVF treatment.

“The in vitro procedure aiming to transmit human life is inseparably linked with destruction of a human life in its prenatal phase. Data published by various medical centers performing in vitro fertilization show that during this procedure 60-95% of conceived human beings die.”

High praise is given to NaProTechnology by the scientists, who view this form of infertility treatment technology as a much more effective, safe and ethical alternative to artificial reproduction.

“NaProTechnology does not involve the destruction of conceived human beings, nor the violation of the dignity of a husband, wife nor their conceived child, and it observes the ecological principles of procreation. It is also worth mentioning that compared to the in vitro procedure, NaProTechnology is more effective and several times less expensive.”

NaProTechnology has shown a success rate of 76% in assisting couples to achieve pregnancy, compared to the 10-15% success rate of in vitro fertilization, and without the enormous financial cost and adverse emotional and other psychological effects of in vitro fertilization.

The Bishops of Poland have issued statements condemning IVF and appealed to the government for a complete ban on artificial procreation.

Last June the Polish Bishops’ Conference issued a statement in support of a proposal submitted to the Polish parliament by the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Boleslaw Piecha, which provides for a complete ban on in vitro fertilization procedures.

“This draft is in line with the Catholic Church’s position expressed in the Vatican’s official instruction, the position of the Church in Poland, and that of Polish Catholics,” stated Bishop Stanislaw Budzik.

“The point of departure for the Piecha draft is an unconditional respect for, and protection of, the human genome and embryo. A draft that bans extracorporeal fertilisation is closer to Church teaching and generally in conformity with it,” added Warsaw’s Archbishop Henryk Hoser.

A grassroots initiative by the group ‘Contra in Vitro’ has also presented the parliament with a petition signed by 160,000 citizens which calls for not only a ban on IVF but also for prison sentences for doctors performing it.

Contra in Vitro chairman, Jacek Kotula, said the group’s proposal asks for changes to the civil code that would establish legislation providing a three year prison term for anyone convicted of engaging in the fertilization of an egg cell outside of a mother’s body. The group also called for between 5 and 25 years in prison for anyone engaging in embryonic stem cell research.

“We are appealing for the introduction of a statutory ban on the drastic and inhumane procedure of in vitro fertilization,” the scientists conclude their appeal to the government, “and for a widespread popularization of NaProTechnology and its full funding by the National Health Fund.”

Contact information:

Health Minister Ewa Kopacz

[email protected]

[email protected]

Polish Parliamentarians (in the subject field indicate that you want this to be forwarded to all parliamentarians, e.g. “do polskich parlamentarzystow”)

[email protected]

Polish Senators (in the subject field indicate that you want this to be forwarded to all senators, e.g. “do polskich senatorow”)

[email protected]

Speaker of the Parliament Bronislaw Komorowski

[email protected] (subject: List do Marszalka Sejmu)

President Lech Kaczynski

[email protected]

Prime Minister Donald Tusk

[email protected]

See related LSN articles:

Poland’s Bishops Support Draft Law Banning In Vitro Fertilization

As IVF Debate Rages in Poland, Doctors Propose Ethical, Natural, More Effective Alternative

Fertility Treatment is Hugely Successful but Largely Ignored by Medicine

Study Finds Common Infertility Treatments Are Unlikely To Improve Fertility