Fourth Edition, Publication No. 5-452 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2001


29. All persons served by Catholic health care have the right and duty to
protect and preserve their bodily and functional integrity.16 The
functional integrity of the person may be sacrificed to maintain the
health or life of the person when no other morally permissible means is

30. The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally
permissible when such a donation will not sacrifice or seriously impair
any essential bodily function and the anticipated benefit to the recipient
is proportionate to the harm done to the donor. Furthermore, the freedom
of the prospective donor must be respected, and economic advantages should
not accrue to the donor.

31. No one should be the subject of medical or genetic experimentation,
even if it is therapeutic, unless the person or surrogate first has given
free and informed consent. In instances of non-therapeutic
experimentation, the surrogate can give this consent only if the
experiment entails no significant risk to the person’s well-being.
Moreover, the greater the person’s incompetency and vulnerability, the
greater the reasons must be to perform any medical experimentation,
especially non-therapeutic.

32. While every person is obliged to use ordinary means to preserve his or
her health, no person should be obliged to submit to a health care
procedure that the person has judged, with a free and informed conscience,
not to provide a reasonable hope of benefit without imposing excessive
risks and burdens on the patient or excessive expense to family or

33. The well-being of the whole person must be taken into account in
deciding about any therapeutic intervention or use of technology.


16. For example, while the donation of a kidney represents loss of
biological integrity, such a donation does not compromise functional
integrity since human beings are capable of functioning with only one
kidney.17. Cf. directive 53.
18. Declaration on Euthanasia, Part IV; cf. also directives 56-57.