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Buddhists/Theravada Buddhism on Fertility Treatments (IVF)

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Question
Good afternoon Justin Choo,
My name is Atem and I am currently participating in the Study of Religion in Grade 12, and my assignment for this term requires ethnographic research from a Buddhist denomination about their religious morals, values and ethics regarding a birth technology. I would like to have the privilege to ask you some questions regarding Theravada Buddhism morals and ethics.

1. What is Theravada Buddhism's interpretation of killing?

2. What is Theravada Buddhism's interpretation of Fertility Treatments?

3. What is Theravada Buddhism's view on In-vitro fertilisation in particular?

5. Buddha scriptures say life begins at conception, does Theravada Buddism believe the same? and if so, does this effect their interpretation on In-vitro fertilisation or fertility treatments that involve potential death?

6. Can you recall any experiences that have involved In-vitro fertilisation in Theravada Buddhism?

7. As a follower of the Theravada tradition, what is your interpretation of IVF, do you find it acceptable or unacceptable?

8.What does Theravada Buddhism find as the positives and negatives of In-vitro fertilisation?

9. Do the positives outweigh the negatives or vice-versa?

Thanks, Atem.

Answer
Hi Atem,

1. What is Theravada Buddhism's interpretation of killing?

In the Buddhist context, a person is fully responsible for the act of killing only if the following 5 conditions are fulfilled:

1.The victim of the killing must be a living being.
2.The killer must know the victim is a living being.
3.The killer must have the volition to kill the victim.
4.The killer personally act on the killing.
5.The victim dies as a result of this action.


2. What is Theravada Buddhism's interpretation of Fertility Treatments?
This is a technical question which should should ask the relevent expert.  But if you are asking about Buddhist opinion, Buddhism has no issue on this.

3. What is Theravada Buddhism's view on In-vitro fertilisation in particular?
Same as "2".

5. Buddha scriptures say life begins at conception, does Theravada Buddism believe the same? and if so, does this effect their interpretation on In-vitro fertilisation or fertility treatments that involve potential death?
I have not come across that "Buddha scriptures say life begins at conception".  Physical life may begins with conception.  But we don't know when "consciousness" takes root.  Buddhism is about how to live in peace within oneself.  There will be new scientific discoveries and Buddhism has no issue on them.  So long as they are not harmful,there is nothing wrong with them.  We just use our common sense and human intelligence.  We don't need a religion to tell us what is right or wrong.


6. Can you recall any experiences that have involved In-vitro fertilisation in Theravada Buddhism?  
See "5".  

7. As a follower of the Theravada tradition, what is your interpretation of IVF, do you find it acceptable or unacceptable?  See"5".

8.What does Theravada Buddhism find as the positives and negatives of In-vitro fertilisation?See "5".

9. Do the positives outweigh the negatives or vice-versa? See "5".

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Justin Choo

Expertise

All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.

Experience

I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

Organizations
I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Publications
YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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