Heterologous embryo transfer as an act of adoption: A moral analysis based on a Catholic theology of adoption

John A Krivak, Fordham University


Presently, the ongoing Catholic debate over the morality of embryo adoption (EA) has yet to be resolved either by scholars or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). A critical analysis of this debate indicates that the effort to determine the morality of EA in principle, in the Catholic tradition, remains somewhat fragmented and, at times, theologically impoverished. This situation calls for the development of a Catholic theology of adoption that would place the divergent scholarly contributions to the Catholic EA debate into more fruitful dialogue and bring additional elements of the Catholic tradition into this moral conversation. Such an analysis reveals that as a group, advocates of EA show concern for the plight of cryopreserved human embryos, understand the meaning of adoptive parenthood, recognize the complexities involved in the decision to adopt, and embrace the general principles of Catholic social teaching. In addition, the advocates of EA have developed credible arguments to indicate that embryo adoption does not violate the unitive or procreative ends of marriage, and thus, it cannot be classified as an intrinsic evil. On the other hand, as a group, opponents of EA fail to argue convincingly that EA does violate the unitive and procreative ends of marriage; they advance arguments that are vulnerable to the charge of physicalism; and they appear to undervalue the dignity of embryonic human life. Consequently, those who defend EA in principle, would seem to hold the more credible position.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Krivak, John A, "Heterologous embryo transfer as an act of adoption: A moral analysis based on a Catholic theology of adoption" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3715378.