This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director on February 27, 2015

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1. Britain Becomes the First Country in the World to Approve Three-Parent Embryos

On Tuesday, the British House of Lords voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the creation of three-parent embryos. Lord Winston, voting in favor of the law, said that it would be a “step in the dark”—but a necessary one for medical advancement. This is a glib dismissal of the serious ethical concerns raised by this new procedure. And as Jennifer Lahl highlighted yesterday over at Public Discourse, the potential for helping children comes at the cost of very real harms to women’s health.

2. Thailand Bans Commercial Surrogacy

The Baby Gammy case—the tragic story of the Australian couple who abandoned their surrogate-carried child with Down Syndrome in Thailand—exposed the great corruption at play in international surrogacy. As a result, the Thai parliament has voted to ban the practice of international commercial surrogacy in hopes of ending their womb rental fertility tourism. Let’s hope other international surrogacy hotspots, such as India and Mexico, will heed Thailand’s example.

3. Sperm Donors Seeking Parental Rights

A lesbian couple in New Jersey with children conceived via anonymous sperm donation is now being challenged in court by their sperm donors who are seeking visitation rights. To date, the sperm donors are winning. Imagine that! A court legally recognizing that a father is . . . well, a father! While we’re happy to see the court affirming the biological realities, the entire case is “Exhibit A” of what a mess third party reproduction has created for the children conceived through these arrangements.

4. Cell Breakthroughs May Lead to Creation of Two-Dad Babies

British scientists have been able to create human egg and sperm cells from skin cells from two adults of the same sex. On the heels of Britain’s decision to allow for three-parent embryos, this signals that scientists and advocates alike in Britain see no limits to the pursuit of parenthood.

5. Tickets on Sale for CBC’s Annual Paul Ramsey Award Dinner

Tickets, tables, and sponsorships are now on sale for the our 12th Annual Paul Ramsey Award Dinner. This year we’ll be honoring Dr. John Kilner. The Paul Ramsey Award Dinner is our biggest night of the year, and we promise that you won’t want to miss it, so get you tickets fast!

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by Martin Fisch via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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