The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations has declared its disagreement with Prof. Robert Edwards being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in developing in vitro fertilization. The problems of infertility, the group said in an official statement, must be solved within an ethical framework which respects the dignity of the embryo as a human being.

A statement from the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) from Oct. 4 was released by the Holy See's Press Office on Tuesday concerning the recent announcement that Cambridge University professor-emeritus Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his part in developing human IVF.

"As Catholics we believe in the absolute dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God," FIAMC declared in the statement signed by their president Dr. Jose Maria Simon Castellvi. "That dignity exists from the earliest moment of the conception of the new human being, and remains with them to their natural death.”

Noting the "enormous cost," that of undermining human dignity, with which IVF has "brought happiness" to couples who have conceived through this method, FIAMC decried the use of millions of embryos, thus human beings, created and discarded "as experimental animals destined for destruction." This use of human embryos, added the statement, "has led to a culture where they are regarded as commodities rather than the precious individuals which they are.”

"As Catholic doctors," we at FIAMC "recognize that pain that infertility brings to a couple, but equally," they said, "we believe that the research and treatment methods needed to solve the problems of infertility have to be conducted within an ethical framework which respects the special dignity of the human embryo, which is no different from that of a mature adult with a brilliant mind."

Concluding the statement protesting the Nobel Prize for Edwards, FIAMC observed that "the history of our salvation by Jesus Christ shows us that mankind suffers when it forgets or ignores the fact that God is our creator and we are his creatures.”

"We can only be fully human," the group said, "when we live in accordance with the will of God respecting the special dignity which is accorded to all human beings."

The award was also denounced by Archbishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who said on Monday that giving the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Robert Edwards encourages the “marketing” of human embryos and that the professor “opened the wrong door” with his research.

“Without Edwards there would not be a market for eggs, without Edwards there would not be freezers full of embryos waiting to be transferred to a uterus, or more likely waiting to be used in research or perhaps waiting to die abandoned and forgotten by all,” the archbishop commented to Vatican Radio.

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