The lesson of infertility.

Author:Jordan, Susan Emily
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor
 
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I found Eric Cohen's "A Jewish-Catholic Bioethics" (June/July) most instructive. I was moved by Cohen's commendation to the Catholic Church for its "witness in defense of human life" and his admonition that Jews should "stand more humbly before the mystery of new life." Such statements are powerful in the continuing dialogue about the use of embryos for stem-cell research. Cohen also made the clear connection between the burgeoning practice of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and the resulting "spare" embryos unclaimed and sitting in freezers in IVF clinics. I have often wondered why Catholics did not speak out more strongly against IVF decades ago. Without the growing supply of hundreds of thousands of "spare embryos," the scientific field might now be focusing on more licit sources of stem cells for research: from adult tissue, umbilical cords, and placenta tissue.

It was especially helpful to learn more about the deep-rooted Jewish view of the pathos of infertility and the special meaning of procreation within Judaism: the significance of birth over baptism in the passing of Judaism through generations shed new light on...

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