BY A STAFF REPORTER
CHRISTIAN spokesmen this week reacted guardedly to the latest technique of attempting to overcome infertility in women.
In a B.B.C.-2 interview, Mrs. Kenneth Allen. of Atherton, Lanes., said she had agreed to have an operation whereby an egg would be removed from her ovary and fertilised by her husband's seed in a laboratory. would be placed into her womb to grow into a normal baby.
Mrs. Allen is unable to conceive in the normal manner because of blocked fallopian tubes. Although the process is a form of artificial insemination, it is not A.I.D. (artificial insemination by donor), whereby a woman is fertilised from a source other than her husband.
Mgr. Michael Buckley, Warden of Wood Hall Ecumenical Centre, Yorks., said: "The Church has a positive rather than a negative role in society. It is to uphold the value and dignity of human life and to protect, especially the family.
"Every married man and woman has the right to a family, but not by any means or at any cost. For example, childlesss women cannot seek sexual relations with a stranger simply in order to have a child.
"Recent scientific advances such as the birth-control pill, heart transplants and 'the test tube baby' have presented the Church with situations up to now unexplored. The 'test-tube baby' discovery must be free from any influence which would affect adversely either the child or the structure of the marriage. "We have seen recently how the thalidomide pill, brought on the market too soon, resulted in deformed children for whom society must now care. It is our care for society that makes us view the 'test-tube baby' with concern and study."
The Catholic Marriage Advisory Council commented: "The general tendency has been that the child should be conceived through the loving intercourse of husband and wife. In this setting the assisted insemination by the husband has been seen as right.
"There must be understanding and sympathy for a couple longing for a child and praise for the ingenuity of those who are trying to help them achieve this. But it is one thing to work to try to remedy the unhappy condition of some individuals and quite another to think in terms of changes in the general human process of reproduction."
On Wednesday, The Times quoted Fr. John Macdonald, former Professor of Moral Theology at St. Edmund's, Ware, Herts., as instancing the principle laid down by Pope Pius XII that the marital act, by nature's design, consisted of a personal co-operation which the husband and wife exchanged as a right.
Artificial insemination lacked the personal, natural element that should be there. Another point on which Catholics would have further objections was the way in which the hus Cardinal Gordon Gray, president of the Scottish Bishops' Conference, said: "I certainly feel that these developments need very careful examination. As anyone will realise, the possible effects of developments in long-term biological engineering are frightening."
A spokesman for the Church of England said that the question would need to be assessed carefully on moral, social and legal grounds,