This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on August 14, 2015

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1. New Study Evidences that Egg Freezing “Doesn’t Always Work”

A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine found a success rate of only 43% of live births for women who freeze their eggs. Fresh eggs yield a success rate that is only slightly higher at 50%. As the high failure rates evidence, the practice of egg freezing is built on false promises—with those working in the fertility business standing to profit on a practice that is losing bet for the majority who participate in it.

2. Children’s Welfare Should Be Highest Priority in Reproductive Medicine

An editorial for the Asia News Network encouraged countries considering laws on egg and sperm donation and surrogacy to consider the welfare of children as their highest priority. As the editorial concluded, “The most important thing is to have a perspective that puts top priority on the happiness of those children to be born through reproductive medicine.” In certain cases, such as surrogacy, we believe that even regulation falls short and that the practice should be banned all together. But the prioritization of children’s welfare over parental desires is an important step in the right direction that must be lauded.

3. New Mexico Court Strikes Down Physician Assisted Suicide

As I noted earlier this week, the New Mexico Court of Appeals struck down a lower court’s decision that allowed for physician assisted suicide in the state. This decision sets a fine precedent that we hope other states will follow.

4. Push for Physician Assisted Suicide in California Heads to Court

Speaking of state precedents: the movement for physician assisted suicide heads to court in California today, where a San Francisco judge will hear an appeal against the law that currently forbids the practice. The California Attorney General recently noted that “While plaintiffs pose many difficult policy questions worthy of public debate, it is for the Legislature, not this court, to grapple with these important policy issues.” The legislature has recently considered the issue and it did not make it out of committee. Let’s hope the California courts respect this decision and decide against declaring a right to physician assisted suicide by judicial fiat. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will report back.

5. Standing with Maggie

Our newly released documentary short film, Eggsploitation: Maggie’s Story, received a fine review in Biopolitical Times, the weblog of the Center for Genetics and Society. As the reviewer notes, “Until we have better research, tracking, and regulation of egg provision and the fertility industry as a whole, these important questions will remain dangerously unanswered.” As this review—and many others have urged—Maggie’s Story deserves a hearing. Will you join us and #StandWithMaggie?

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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