This Instruction sets out the criteria of moral judgement as regards the applications of scientific research and technology, especially in relation to human life and its beginnings. The progresses of biological and medical science, are at the service of mankind, but they also involve serious risks, and may call for the values and rights of the human person to be safeguarded.
This document, published in 1987, represents the official teaching of the Church and is its leading statement on the matter. It establishes the moral basis for respect of the human embryo, and examines the moral character of a range of interventions upon human procreation. These include: in vitro fertilisation, research and experimentation on human embryos and foetuses, new techniques in human reproduction and artificial insemination, and surrogate motherhood. The proper relation required between procreation and marriage is explained, as are the requirements of moral and civil law.