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One of the outcomes of IVF is that it produces a surplus of embryos that in many cases are unwanted once couples succeed in having a child. These embryos either remain in suspended animation or are thawed and allowed to die. Another possibility is for them to be adopted and be implanted into a surrogate and so be brought to term. There has been no consensus amongst Catholic bioethicists about the morality of embryo adoption, with some arguing for its moral licitness, while others have argued against it. This paper argues that in some cases embryo adoption – altruistic surrogacy – is not morally wrong. These cases, however, are quite limited and involve a preparedness for lifelong commitment to the child brought to term by this process. It is argued that some arguments against embryo adoption employ an equivocation about such terms as impregnation and hence fail.


School of Philosophy

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Philosophy Commons