Roman Catholic clerics in Poland on Tuesday condemned in vitro fertilization (IVF) as "inadmissible and undignified" in a public letter from the Polish Episcopate to parliamentarians.
Clergymen protested the method on the grounds that "many embryos perish" with each trial and termed it a "type of refined abortion".
Advertisement"A baby is not a thing and even future parents cannot say that they have a right to the child, especially as this 'right' is always bought with the death of his or her brothers and sisters," the letter said.
With more than 90 per cent of Poles identifying themselves as Roman Catholics, the clergy remains extremely influential in Poland.
However, numerous laboratories specialising in IVF, or so-called "test-tube babies", have sprung up across Poland.
Highly valued by couples unable to conceive, the treatment is not refunded by public health services in Poland as in some other European states.
Left-wing politicians Poland have long lobbied for the state to cover the cost of IVF but the governing liberals have hedged on the issue.
Following the demise of communism in 1989, the Catholic church pushed hard for Poland's restrictive abortion law, which carries penalties of up to two years behind bars for physicians or persons terminating regular pregnancies.
Abortions are permitted if the foetus is deformed, pregnancy threatens a woman's heath or is the result of rape.
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