Westport Institute to publish faith-based guide to assisted reproduction

WESTPORT — The Religious Institute has announced the publication of “A Time to be Born: A Faith-Based Guide to Assisted Reproductive Technologies.” The guide is the first multifaith resource to address the scientific and ethical complexities of reproductive technologies from a religious perspective. A Time to be Born is intended to help clergy and other religious professionals provide informed counsel and ethical reflection on the use of reproductive technologies.

“The expanding array of options available for assisted reproduction has outpaced religious and ethical discernment,” said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute. “These technologies raise vital ethical questions and pastoral concerns, and religious leaders must be prepared to engage them.”

“A Time to be Born” provides an overview of assisted reproductive technologies and how they work, while highlighting concerns about risk, cost, accessibility and discriminatory practices. The guide examines traditional religious perspectives on reproduction and fertility, and outlines a model of pastoral care that will enable religious leaders to effectively minister to the people they serve. It also suggests ways that religious communities can support and educate individuals and families regarding assisted reproduction.

“Assisted reproductive technologies raise the hopes of those who yearn for biologically related children, but they may also pose unreasonable health risks and an enormous financial burden,” said Dr. Kate Ott, associate director of the Religious Institute and author of the new guide. “Faith leaders must arrive at an ethical response that respects every individual’s desire to have children, while calling for accountability and equity in how these technologies are used.”

In February, the Religious Institute published an “Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Assisted Reproductive Technologies,” a call to the nation’s religious leaders to engage the ethical considerations of assisted reproductive technologies and to become stronger counselors and advocates for the safety, effectiveness and accessibility of these technologies.

Copies of both “A Time to be Born” and the “Open Letter” are available for download at www.religiousinstitute.org.¬†

The Religious Institute, based in Westport, is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society. More than 4,800 clergy and religious leaders, representing more than 50 faith traditions, are part of the Religious Institute’s national network.



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