cloneBishops of Poland’s influential Roman Catholic Church have branded in vitro fertilization (IVF) “the younger sister of eugenics” in a letter aimed at swaying lawmakers ahead of a parliamentary debate.

Their intervention, two weeks after the Vatican condemned the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine to IVF pioneer Robert Edwards, triggered an unusually sharp response from lawmakers who say the clergy should not meddle in politics. (Photo: A cloned human embryo, created at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 19 May 2005/handout)

“The in vitro method comes at great human cost. To give birth to one child … many humans suffer death at different stages of the medical process,” said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

The letter alluded indirectly to the practice of eugenics by Nazi Germany during World War Two, which involved ruthless medical experiments on prisoners and ethnic minorities as part of a drive to strengthen the “purity” of the German race.

Poland lacks laws precisely regulating IVF. Parliament will debate several bills ranging from a complete ban to ensuring full state co-financing of the procedure.