The US Bishops approved a pastoral statement Life Giving Love in An Age of Technology at their November meeting.
The document acknowledges the prevalence (one in six couples are estimated to experience infertility) and suffering brought on by infertility in marriage. It addresses the various technological methods at hand to correct or promote conception and endorses
hormonal treatments and other medications, conventional or laser surgery to repair damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, means for alleviating male infertility factors and other restorative treatments are available. The techniques of natural family planning (NFP) can aalso be used to locate the most fertile time of a woman's cycle in order to maximize the chances of conceiving. These and other methods do not substitute for the married couple's act of loving union; rather, they assist this act in reaching its potential to conceive a new human life.
The bishops articulate no new teaching in the document, but take the opportunity to comment on many of the developing reproductive technologies in an up to date and pastoral document. They emphasize the importance of the Catholic church's teaching that the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage must not be separated. Because of this stringent and instrinsic moral principle, the bishops reject in-vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogate mothering, human cloning and related procedures.
The pastoral tone of the document is welcome, but footnotes would be helpful for several assertions it makes about scientific facts. Perhaps the final published version will provide them.