Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco De Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized the decision to honor Robert Edwards, known as the "father of the test-tube baby," The Irish Times reported. Carrasco De Paula said Edwards had opened a "new chapter" in reproductive technology and one that includes morally dubious practices like "the marketing of donor eggs, the freezing of embryos."
"Thousands of embryos will be abandoned to die," he said.
Jacques Suaudeau, a member of the Pontifical Academy, was even blunter, saying Edwards pioneered practices that bypass "every ethical limit."
The Catholic Church opposes in vitro fertilization because of the embryos that are discarded or left indefinitely in freezers and because it separates the sexual act and conception.
Edwards, a biologist at Cambridge University, and his research partner, Patrick Steptoe, supervised the conception and birth of Louise Brown, the world's first test-tube baby, in 1978.