IVF, Stem Cell Research and Cloning

May 1, 2007

This afternoon at our annual Clergy Day, my brother priests of and I heard an outstanding presentation on the science and ethics of in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and cloning by the Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. Director of Education, Neuroscientist and Staff Ethicist of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Fr. Tad is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. As an undergraduate he earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He also worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Fr. Tad studied for 5 years in Rome where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and North Carolina State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He has given presentations and participated in roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. He has done numerous media commentaries, including appearances on CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, and National Public Radio. He directs the Center’s National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics.

He also directed us to Cutting Through the Spin on Stem Cells and Cloning DVD, which examines the science and ethics of stem cell research and cloning. Embryonic stem cell research is considered in the light of morally acceptable alternatives, and a careful consideration of the various media myths surrounding this area of science is presented, therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning are examined both scientifically and morally. The need to carefully protect and safeguard embryonic humans is stressed and highlighted. The video is introduced by Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, and includes participation with a live studio audience followed by a question and answer session. The DVD may be obtained through http://www.ncbcenter.org/

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