Catholic Church Blasts Nobel Prize Committee for Honoring IVF Creator Edwards

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Church Blasts Nobel Prize Committee for Honoring IVF Creator Edwards

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The leading spokesman on pro-life issues for the Catholic Church says the committee that awards the Nobel Prize was wrong to give one to Robert Edwards, known as the father of the test tube baby and the inventor of in-vitro fertilization. He joins two pro-life groups publicly opposing the award.

Edwards has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his IVF work, but the prize has its critics because IVF has resulted in the deaths of unborn children.

Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the award was "out of order," according to the Christian Post newspaper.

“Without Edwards, there would be no market for human eggs; without Edwards there would not be freezers full of embryos waiting to be transferred to a uterus, or, more likely, used for research or left to die, abandoned and forgotten about by all,” he said.

The England-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children also opposed the prize.

SPUC says figures in Britain alone show 2,137,924 human embryos were created by specialists while assisting couples in the UK to have babies between 1991 and 2005, according to government figures. During this period, the HFEA indicates 109,469 were born — meaning more than two million unborn children died after creation via IVF.

The pro-life group Human Life International joined the Vatican and SPUC today in also opposing giving Edwards the award.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula, the interim president of the organization, blasted the Nobel Committee.

"One wonders what else the Nobel Committee could do to further harm its own reputation," he said. "To avoid the ethical difficulties of Dr. Edwards’ work is to duck the primary responsibility the Nobel Foundation has as the world’s champions of scientific achievement."

"This scientist is regarded as a hero, but what he has really done is to create a market for manufactured humanity," he added. "This is not a gift to humanity, it is a death sentence to millions of tiny human beings who are created only to be destroyed."

"Edwards’ supposedly great accomplishment has also created a means for the ultra-rich to tamper with every genetic aspect of the person, creating designer human beings," he lamented. "Sadly, we are reminded that the very real good of science can be destroyed when fundamental and universal ethical principles are kept out of the scientific process — in this case, the great value and dignity of the human person."

The web site for the Nobel Prize says over 10% of couples experience infertility and credits Edwards with helping them be able to have a baby.

The foundation for the Nobel Prize says Edwards’ contributions to fertility "represent a milestone in the development of modern medicine."

In the 1950s, Edwards believed IVF could eventually help treat infertility and, after decades of work, in fertilizing human egg cells in cell culture dishes, the first test tube baby was born in 1978.

Since 1978, about four million babies have been born via IVF, some of whom are now parents themselves as second and third generations spring from them.

However, in-vitro fertilization has come at a price because multiple embryos are frequently implanted during fertility treatments and unborn children are subsequently killed when more than one baby’s life becomes viable.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –


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