“I find the choice of Robert Edwards completely out of order,” Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which speaks for the Vatican on medical ethics issues, told ANSA news agency on Monday.
“Without Edwards, there would not be a market on which millions of ovocytes are sold … and there would not be a large number of freezers filled with embryos in the world,” he was quoted as saying.
“In the best of cases they are transferred into a uterus, but most probably they will end up abandoned or dead, which is a problem for which the new Nobel Prize winner is responsible.”
These statements were heavily moderated in a transcript of his interview with ANSA, which was obtained by AFP later on Monday.
In the transcript, Carrasco de Paula called the choice of Edwards understandable and said the scientist should not be underestimated.
The transcript also specified that he was speaking in a personal capacity.
The Vatican considers in vitro fertilisation immoral because of the wastage of a large number of embryos during the procedure.
In their first announcement of the annual prize season, the Nobel committee on Monday hailed the 85-year-old Briton’s work as “a milestone in the development of modern medicine”.
The original test tube baby also offered her congratulations.
“It’s fantastic news. Me and mum are so glad that one of the pioneers of IVF has been given the recognition he deserves,” said Louise Brown.
“We hold Bob in great affection and are delighted to send our personal congratulations to him and his family at this time.”