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Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group


Publication details for Professor Sarah Banks

Scully, Jackie Leach, Banks, Sarah, Song, Robert & Haq, Jackie (2017). Experiences of Faith Group Members Using New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies: A Qualitative Interview Study. Human Fertility 20(1): 22-29.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper explores the experiences of members of faith groups deciding whether or not to use new reproductive or genetic technologies (NRGTs). It is based on 16 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with people with direct experience of NRGTs. Participants identified as members of Christian or Muslim faith traditions and had been faced with deciding whether or not to make use of novel forms of fertility treatment or genetic testing. The findings show that members of faith groups may experience specific barriers of access, and distinctive ethical difficulties, when considering the use of different forms of NRGTs. Both Christian and Muslim interviewees reported difficulties in obtaining information on the official faith teaching, or found that their faith group had not yet crafted an official position. Participants’ needs for information, and the opportunity to discuss the faith implications of their clinical choices, were not being met in either the clinic or the faith setting. This paper concludes that clinics should indicate more clearly their acknowledgement of patients’ faith concerns. Appropriate training is needed for both healthcare professionals and chaplains, while faith groups should be encouraged to engage with healthcare providers to ensure that guidance is available to their members.