This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on June 19, 2015

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1. New Study Offers Grim Results for IVF Success Rates

A new study just out offers grim prospects for those seeking to use IVF later in life. According to The Guardian, “the chances of women having a baby through IVF was only 1.3% in those aged 44 and above.” The study went on to describe any efforts as “nearly futile.” Regrettably, the report encourages egg freezing and the use of donor eggs as an alternative solution. At the CBC, we’ll keep advocating against any and all forms of reproductive technology that requires the deconstruction of our bodies and that very often comes with health risks—to the women pursuing these technologies, other women they are relying on, and their future children.

2. More Fallout from Reproductive Technology

Two stories from earlier this week highlight just how messy the world of assisted reproductive technology has gotten. On Tuesday the Daily Mail reported on how celebrities who have children in their forties (or later!) give false hope to women who think they can simply delay childbearing because everyone else is doing it. It doesn’t always turn out as planned. Another tragic story from earlier this week illustrated this sad truth: a 38 year old Greek woman died during an IVF procedure in Italy. These technologies are wrought with risks and serious complications—that’s why we’ve been sounding the alarm for so long.

3. Promising and Ethical New Treatments for Infertility

On the upside, in case you missed it earlier this week, we alerted you to the fact that there is great promise in a new procedure that would allow women at risk for being rendered infertile through cancer treatments to preserve their fertility by freezing their ovarian tissue. Treatments that are ethical and sound . . . what a concept!

4. Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Fails in Maine

A bill that would have legalized physician assisted suicide in Maine failed earlier this week. In a razor thin vote, the state senate defeated the bill 18-17. As we’ve continued to see throughout the past few months, most states have been wary to green-light physician assisted suicide, although pressure continues to mount. 

5. Surrogacy Spreads to Vietnam

Three months ago the laws surrounding surrogacy were revised in Vietnam allowing for the practice to take place under altruistic circumstances. This week an embryo was implanted into the first Vietnamese surrogate. As we have seen around the world, surrogacy is almost never a free choice and protections for the surrogate mother are inadequate. We lament the growth of this practice and encourage individuals of all political persuasions and cultural backgrounds to continue to work together to Stop Surrogacy Now.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by Taber Andrew Bain via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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