Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 26, 2009
Couple that adopts embryos strives to remain faithful
CNS PHOTO |DON BLAKE, THE DIALOG
Erin Smith, 2, who was conceived in a Petri dish through in vitro fertilization and adopted as an embryo, is pictured with her adoptive parents, Dawn and Tim Smith, in this March 2007 file photo
BY CHAZ MUTH
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
Fitzwilliam, N.H. — As committed Catholics, Timothy and Dawn Smith respect Vatican pronouncements, but recent Church statements about frozen embryo adoption have bewildered the parents of three children who came into the world through this process.
In the document Dignitas Personae, the Vatican said embryo adoption raises serious ethical concerns.
“If the Church did come out and say you can’t adopt frozen embryos, we wouldn’t openly challenge Church teachings,” said Timothy Smith, 44, whose wife Dawn, 40, has given birth to three children who were adopted as frozen embryos.
“But, the door is still open a crack here. Until that is shut, we would like to say we think this is a very good thing to do.”
When the Smiths married they knew they wanted three or four children, but later learned they were infertile.
They decided they wanted to accept the donation of frozen embryos from couples who had conceived through in vitro fertilization.
The Smiths subscribe to Church teachings that artificial methods of procreation, such as in vitro fertilization, are immoral.
But they believe they protected the lives of their three children by adopting them as frozen embryos and providing Dawn’s womb as a nurturing place for them to grow.
The couple welcomed daughter Erin in 2004, and sons Conrad and Dominic in late 2007.
They understand the Church’s position on procreation, but were still surprised at the contents of the bioethics document released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“It doesn’t read like they talked to people — especially Catholics — who had gone through this and weighed the moral issues involved.”
One argument against embryo adoption is that it involves the future parents in an immoral process.
But by that line of reasoning, Smith said couples who adopt children already born may be involved in an immoral act — helping an unwed mother who had sex outside of marriage.