This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on July 31, 2015

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1. The Price of a Human Egg Litigated

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported on litigation where two women are claiming that the price guidelines for egg “donation” clinics are in violation of antitrust laws. These women argue that the agencies have suppressed the real dollar amount they should be able to get for their eggs. Regardless of your take on the lawsuit, it makes clear that eggs are incredibly valuable—which should make it all the more egregious that young women are coerced into selling theirs without being informed of the very real medical risks at stake. For shame!

2. “A child is not a commodity” Rules Swiss Court

On Thursday, the highest court in Switzerland declared that a child could not have two fathers. The dispute was over whether or not two men could both be listed as fathers when the child had been conceived via donor egg and a surrogate. In the ruling, the court declared the “child must be protected from being downgraded to a commodity which can be ordered from a third party.” Bravo!

3. Surrogacy Banned in Thailand

The practice of surrogacy and the trade of egg and sperm is now officially banned in Thailand, as of this past Thursday. In recent years Thailand has been the epicenter for many surrogacy related scandals, which have evidenced that there is no effective way to regulate the practice and that it must be shut down. How fitting that such a ban would take effect on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons! Let’s hope the rest of the world now follows Thailand’s example.

4. South Africa Medical Regulatory Bodies Oppose Physician Assisted Suicide

The two major regulatory bodies for medical practitioners in South Africa have both come out against physician assisted suicide. As one of the doctors involved in the decision noted, “The ethical imperatives are that doctors should not and must not use their medical treatment to kill, that is a primary ethical tenant.” This is a victory for physicians and patients alike and we applaud their moral courage to uphold the principles of medicine, rather than caving to political pressure.

5. CBC in the News

CBC President Jennifer Lahl was quoted earlier this week in a large Yahoo News profile on the battle over surrogacy and our efforts to Stop Surrogacy Now. Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education, had an article in National Review discussing the risks of egg donation as revealed in our new documentary film short, Maggie’s Story.
This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by wwworks via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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