Buddhist arguments for and against fertility treatments

AIH and IVF

  • For: AIH is one form of fertility treatment that many Buddhists find they can support. This is because it does not break any codes of behaviour, and appears to benefit the individuals involved. Most Buddhists believe that it is a rare privilege to be born as a human, as humans are the only beings capable of enlightenment. The technique may also enable a couple to have a child and, therefore, could be considered a compassionate action.
  • Against: Buddhists are generally not under pressure to create a family. Furthermore, Buddhists are encouraged not to crave as doing so can cause suffering. Buddhists should, therefore, accept their inability to have children.

IVF and spare embryos

  • For: It is common for more than one embryo to be produced by IVF and for some to be left over when pregnancy has been achieved. Embryos are allowed to be frozen for use at a later date by the couple or disposed of. Donating these spare embryos or sperm could be seen as an act of metta.
  • Against: The unwanted embryos might be destroyed; they are potential human beings and to destroy them goes against the first Precept of not taking innocent life.

AID and surrogacy (requiring donor)

  • For: Most Buddhists accept AID and surrogacy on the basis that a person is showing loving-kindness to a couple to end their suffering. This, in turn, is a good action on the part of the donor and is good for them too.
  • Against: Some Buddhists might liken treatments involving a third person to adultery. This goes against the third Precept, which forbids sexual misconduct. However, not many Buddhists believe that there would be any sexual harm as technology has removed the sexual act, based on desire, between the donor and the couple.