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Bridging the divide: sex and religion – infertility

09 Dec 2015

So far this week we have studied faith views on contraception and abortion. In today’s instalment sex and relationships therapist Emma Ziff scrutinises IVF and infertility.

Infertility, IVF and religion

Many pharmacists have asked me about IVF and religion, and what they need to know as there has been a big rise in the number of couples seeking help with fertility. Infertility is seen in different lights among the religions.

  • Judaism: there are many different rabbinical views on IVF as to whom the eggs and sperm come from, and what happens to the wasted embryos. A big issue for Orthodox women can be that there is a minimum of five days menstruation with a further seven bloodless days afterwards, and many couples can have challenges conceiving due to a possible crossover between time of abstinence after menstruation and ovulation. There are many ways to help these women with hormonal manipulation and there are specialists who can guide them. They may also meet with their rabbi who will be well versed and direct them to what to do next.
  • Church of England accepts IVF for couples but has expressed concerns for IVF for single women and gay couples.
  • Catholicism: with regards to assisted reproduction, only Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)and Gamete Intrafallopian Tube Transfer (GIFT) are permitted. Masturbation may not be used to collect the semen and no third party may be involved.
  • Islam: IVF is permissible but no third party donor can be involved.

Circumcision as a religious rite. Join us tomorrow to find out more.

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