This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on August 7, 2015

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1. China Prohibits Egg Freezing, Encourages Sale of Sperm

China has long held a ban on single women freezing their eggs, but now in light of the decision by Juhuasuan, a Chinese company affiliated with Alibaba (the Chinese equivalent to eBay) to begin selling sperm, some Chinese women are pushing back against “reproductive inequalities.” Here at the CBC, we point women to the myriad of problems with egg freezing and oppose the buying and selling of sperm. Both rely on false hopes and promises, and very rarely deliver on their many promises.

2. Tennessee Awaits Ruling on Physician Assisted Suicide

Earlier this year the Tennessee state legislature decided not to take up a bill to consider legalizing physician assisted suicide in the state. Now, a private citizen is challenging the state’s prohibition of the practice in court. A decision is expected soon. Those of us monitoring the case are hopeful that a right to physician assisted suicide—something that representatives of the people have already rejected—will not be determined by judicial fiat.

3. The Rise of “Sex Tech”

Our society has witnessed the quick rise of reproductive technology in past decades, and now, a new movement is also now gaining ground: “sex technology.” A new study from the University of Sunderland predicts that by 2070, “Humans and robots falling in love and having intimate relationships may become the norm in the future.” Of course, even if these technologies do take off, these “couples” will still likely want to have children—and they’ll likely use technology for that, too, so I don’t anticipate the demand for eggs, sperm, and wombs to decrease. Just an example of selfish, individual desires triumphing once more.

4. Dr. Howard Jones Dead at 104

As I noted on our blog earlier this week, Dr. Howard Jones has passed away at the age of 104. Jones was an early pioneer of in vitro fertilization in the United States and an ardent apologist for it. While his obituaries noted that many thousands of couples that have attempted to use the technique that Jones pioneered, it failed the mention that the overall failure rate for IVF in the United States hovers at around 70 percent. The number is even higher on a global level, reaching an almost 80 percent failure rate.

5. New York State’s Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Criticized

A bill that would legalize physician assisted suicide in New York State is under fire—but not for reasons you may think. Sure, organizations like the CBC are on the record in opposition against the bill. But, now advocates in favor of physician assisted suicide are critical of the current bill saying it doesn’t go far enough. Critics claim that the bill is unfair as it excludes Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s patients from being eligible for the practice. As we’ve long tried to point out, advocates of physician assisted suicide will continue to demand more. Voluntary euthanasia will inevitably give way to involuntary euthanasia. And so the trend continues. For shame.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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