The Great Debate UK
In vitro fertilization (IVF), the pioneering technique that won Robert Edwards the 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine, opened up a wealth of scientific options and a Pandora's box of ethical dilemmas.
Edwards's success in fertilizing a human egg outside of the womb led not only to "test tube babies" but also to innovations such as embryonic stem cell research and surrogate motherhood. (Photo: Frozen human embryos at the Priory Hospital in Birmingham, England, July 31., 1996/Ian Hodgson)
Amid the applause for these medical breakthroughs, ethicists from some Christian churches oppose IVF and techniques related to it because they involve the destruction of human embryos. The bewildering array of options due to the IVF revolution -- from the morality of making "designer babies" to exploitation of poor women as surrogate mothers -- has created much concern and many debates among secular ethicists as well.
The Roman Catholic Church's top official for life issues slammed the award to Edwards as "completely misplaced."