This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on December 4, 2015

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1. Gene Editing Summit Supports Human Embryo Research

The just concluded International Summit on Human Gene Editing called for “cautious development” of germline editing. While the hope is that such a method would prevent the spread of certain inheritable diseases, it does so by destroying human embryos and it will almost certainly open the floodgates to creating designer babies. If you thought the Brave New World was already here, just wait until this new technique is widely embraced.

2. Human Egg Prices May Be Regulated

As we’ve mentioned before, a group of egg donors are suing in hopes of regulating the market for human eggs. A new article out by Debra Spar offers an astute analysis of the situation. “If Americans believe that the sale of human eggs is abhorrent or dangerous, then we should either ban or restrict the practice,” she writes. Of course, we at the CBC do believe and know that the practice is dangerous—that’s why we’ve been raising awareness of the harms of egg donation more so than any other group. Perhaps now that it’s coming under more legal scrutiny, the powers that be will begin to listen.

3. AMA Supports the Ban of Prescription Drug Advertisements

The American Medical Association has called for a ban on prescription drug advertisements. As an article in The Verge notes, “The AMA claims drug advertisements create high demand for the expensive treatments that patients see on TV and online, when alternative low-cost medical solutions may be available and more effective.” Such a move would be good for consumers and go a long way in reducing the commercialization of the practice of medicine. We’d like to see this extended to a call for a ban of advertisements for surrogates and egg and sperm donors.

4. China’s Cloning Factory

A massive cloning factory has opened in China with hopes of producing one million cloned cows by 2020. While its executives have noted they are “self-restrained” and have not engaged in human cloning, they’ve acknowledged the technology is available. It’s hard to imagine this “restraint” lasting much longer.

5. CBC in the News: Speaking out for Surrogates and Egg Donors

In case you missed it, the CBC has had a banner few weeks in the news. Our work in supporting two different surrogate mothers in California who are under pressure to abort one of the children they are carrying has received national attention. So, too, has the story of Maggie Eastman who donated her eggs ten times and was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. We were the first to chronicle this tragic tale in our short documentary Maggie’s Story.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

 

 

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