[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The success of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) worldwide has led to an accumulation of frozen embryos that are surplus to the reproductive needs of those for whom they were created. In these situations, couples must decide whether to discard them or donate them for scientific research or for use by other infertile couples. While legislation and regulation may limit the decisions that couples make, their decisions are often shaped by their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, health professionals, scientists and policy-makers are often unaware of the way in which faith traditions view ART and decisions concerning the ‘fate’ of surplus embryos. In this paper scholars representing six major religious traditions provide a commentary on a hypothetical case concerning the donation or destruction of excess ART embryos. These commentaries provide a rich account of religious perspectives on the status of the human embryo and an insight into the relevance of faith to health and policy decisions, particularly in reproductive medicine, ART and embryo research.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Religious or spiritual values often influence health care decision-making by patients and their families, particularly in times of crisis. Though religious values might seem to be irrelevant where continuing treatment is judged to be "futile", such clinical assessments should instead serve to open a dialogue about values and beliefs. The six major religious traditions in Australia have some similar values and principles about death and provision of care for the dying, but differ in their processes of ethical reasoning, cosmologies, and key moral concepts. Engaging with religious traditions on the common ground of basic values (such as human dignity, care, the sacredness of human life, non-violence, compassion, and selflessness) promotes negotiation of the manner in which care is provided, even where conflicts exist.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2005 · The Medical journal of Australia