© 2007

The Ethics of Embryo Adoption and the Catholic Tradition

Moral Arguments, Economic Reality and Social Analysis

  • Sarah-Vaughan Brakman
  • Darlene Fozard Weaver
  • One of the first two collections on the Catholic Tradition and Embryo Adoption

  • The first Interdisciplinary contribution to Catholic scholarship on Embryo Adoption, with contributions from a medical practitioner and a couple who have embryo adopted, in addition to those from philosophers and theologians

  • Argues for new approaches to moral analysis of embryo adoption, while working within the Catholic Tradition

  • Goes beyond the moral permissibility of embryo adoption to investigate moral issues in the practice of embryo adoption

  • Includes a Protestant perspective on Catholic debates about the practice


Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 95)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. The Morality of Embryo Adoption

    1. Sarah-Vaughan Brakman, Darlene Fozard Weaver
      Pages 3-23
    2. Reverend William E. Stempsey
      Pages 25-41
    3. Reverend Tadeusz Pacholczyk
      Pages 69-83
    4. Christopher O. Tollefsen
      Pages 85-101
    5. Brandon P. Brown, Jason T. Eberl
      Pages 103-118
  3. The Debate Engaged

  4. Morality in the Practice

    1. John Stanmeyer
      Pages 231-236
    2. Suzanne Stanmeyer
      Pages 237-249
    3. Elizabeth Cason Crosby Cheely
      Pages 275-306
    4. Christopher Kaczor
      Pages 307-322
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 323-326

About this book


At last, a comprehensive collection of essays that examines and advances ethical evaluations of the controversial and increasingly popular practice of embryo adoption. In the United States alone, 400,000 frozen embryos created for in vitro fertilization exist but are no longer desired for that purpose. What are we morally obliged or permitted to do about these "spare" embryos? More of their genetic parents are considering donating these embryos to others to gestate and raise. This practice is politically volatile (figuring in debates about embryonic stem cells) and medically and morally complex. At the present time within the Roman Catholic Church there is no official teaching on embryo adoption. Catholic ethical analyses grapple with the way embryo adoption comports with respect for embryonic human life yet challenges Catholic moral critiques of assisted reproductive technologies. This volume brings together leading philosophers and theologians to engage Catholic debates about embryo adoption in an interactive format. The editors, a philosopher bioethicist and a moral theologian, provide a helpful overview of the practice and the arguments surrounding embryo adoption. They engage neglected Catholic ethical resources and issues to advance the current debate and chart new directions in Catholic moral thinking about this intriguing practice. The volume also includes a description of embryo adoption from a physician practitioner along with reflections from a couple who successfully adopted an embryo.


Catholic ethics Moral adoption embryo ethics reproductive technology sexual ethics

Editors and affiliations

  • Sarah-Vaughan Brakman
    • 1
  • Darlene Fozard Weaver
    • 1
  1. 1.Villanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

Bibliographic information

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