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ITEST Webinar

In Vitro Fertilization
and the Sanctity of Human Life

This webinar aired on Saturday, November 19, 2022

Our Presenters

Mary Anne Urlakis, PhD

Sanctity of Life:
IVF: Science, the Church, & Bioethics

Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dignitas Personae Institute for Nascent Human Life. a charitable organization committed to the mission of defending and promoting the Magisterial teaching regarding the sanctity of every nascent human life- particularly embryonic nascent human life- from the first instant of conception to natural death. She holds three graduate degrees in Philosophy and Bioethics and is currently pursuing a second doctorate in Theology from Pontifex University. Dr. Urlakis’ work involves continued research, particularly within the scope of the history of medical ethical praxis, the philosophical and theological underpinnings of sound moral reasoning, and the value of Virtue Ethics and Natural Law Theory. She is staunchly Pro-Life, and advocates for the rights of vulnerable human persons, specifically those at the edges of life- the unborn, the terminally ill, and the elderly. As a Secular member of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Mary Anne has an abiding love of contemplative prayer and spirituality. She is a writer, speaker, WCAT Catholic Radio show host, and member of the board of Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter. Dr. Urlakis has been married for 32 years and treasures her vocation as wife and the mother of ten children- eight living- as the most cherished of her roles.


From the moment of conception, a profoundly unique and sacred relationship exists between every human person and Almighty God. Each and every person, bearing the image and likeness of God, is created with a vocation to fulfill an eternal destiny of divine beatitude. The Church teaches us: “Endowed with “a spiritual and immortal” soul, the human person is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake. From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1703, referencing Gaudium et Spes 14 §2; 24 §3).” In this presentation, we will examine the role of bioethics regarding In Vitro Fertilization and other Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ARTs). After a brief survey of the history and role of bioethics and the anthropology of the human person, this presentation will focus on both science and theology which underpins the Magisterial teaching regarding the sanctity of human life and the role of Artificial Reproductive Technology.

Craig Turczynski, PhD

Assisted Reproductive Technology
Violates Natural Law and Causes Harm

Craig Turczynski, Ph.D. is Director of Strategy and Scientific Affairs for The Billings Ovulation Method Association-USA. Craig is trained as a Reproductive Physiologist. He directed the IVF, andrology and hormone assay laboratories at LSUMC-Shreveport and was Assistant Professor of ObGyn. Dr. Turczynski, left his academic post in 1999 after having a crisis of conscience. He observed the harm ART caused to patients and this experience drew him closer to his faith and Church teaching. In 2018, he joined BOMA-USA and became a certified teacher and trainer of the Billings Ovulation Method®. He is also a provider on My Catholic Doctor. Craig serves on the board for Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter and is a scientific advisor for Natural Womanhood. He is currently completing certification in health care ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and completing a research and education fellowship with Dr Phil Boyle of NeoFertility. Married for 31 years with 3 children and 2 grandchildren, he lives on a small farm in North Texas where he enjoys the culinary experience and health benefits of producing farm to table food. He believes in the intersection of virtue and science and aligns himself with organizations that seek the root cause of disease and therapeutic cures.


The leaders in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are promoting the use of technology in an increasingly more radical direction. Separating the unitive and procreative purpose of marital intercourse is foremost, but there are many ways in which ART promotes evil that even non-Catholics can identify with. These share a common characteristic of violating natural law. The first principle of natural law is “the good is to be done and pursued and evil is to be avoided.” This necessarily requires following an objective moral truth that can be ascertained using human reason. On the other hand, ART follows a subjective, relative interpretation of right and wrong. Application of the technology outside of objective moral boundaries often produces more complications and difficulty for the individual and society than the problem in which they intend to solve. This talk will summarize the 5 most undesirable consequences of ART’s disordered approach as experienced by an Embryologist who left the field after having a crisis of conscience.

Q&A Moderator

Laura Elm

Laura Elm is the Director and Founder of Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter (SHG), an organization whose mission is to provide burial for the human embryos whose lives start and end in IVF laboratories. Laura has been interviewed on Relevant Radio and WCAT Radio. She has been featured in The Catholic Spirit and published in the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s newsletter: Ethics and Medics. Laura is a wife, a mom, and works full-time in the pharmaceutical industry. She earned her MBA from the University of Minnesota and previously worked in product management for a national health insurer.

Webinar resources

WCAT TV presents . . . Mary Anne Urlakis and Laura Elm on the Sacred Dignity of Embryonic Human Life

webinar co-sponsors

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