This Week in Bioethics

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on November 10, 2017

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1. We Won’t Back Down

The CBC (like most nonprofit organizations) rely heavily on end-of-year giving in order to start the new year on a strong footing. We’ve had an amazing year, although one not without its difficulties. We’re up against powerful interests that profit handsomely from their exploitative work. We truly need your financial help to continue to stand courageously against them. To those who have already given, we thank you. And to those who will be giving, we thank you in advance.

2. #StopSurrogacyNow Follow Up

The NY Post, which last week broke the story of surrogate mother Jessica Allen, this week follows up with information on and pictures of her reunion with her own son.

According to Allen, the agency informed her that the Lius expected between $18,000 and $22,000 as compensation for the return of her child. She was also told that the Lius were considering putting the boy up for adoption by another family. Mercifully, Malachi was returned to his rightful parents after two months, without money changing hands.

3. Android Citizenship,  Artificial Intelligence Residency, Oh My!

Last month, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to an android called Sophia. This Sophia is in no way conscious, but rather is programed with an admittedly sophisticated set of canned responses so that it is able to mimic a participation in a sort of conversation. Similarly, an artificial intelligence “virtual boy” has been granted residency in a district of Tokyo. “The boy named ‘Shibuya Mirai’ does not exist physically, but he can have text conversations with humans on the widely used LINE messaging app.”

Both of these seem like parlor tricks and publicity stunts, yet they are steps on the way toward an even braver, even newer world. A world that we need to be giving a great deal more thought and debate. One good place to start is Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

4. New Documentary on Donor Conception (Not by Us)

Have you liked the Anonymous Father’s Day Facebook page yet? There is a great community of people over there keeping up with all the latest on donor conception. This week, they highlighted a new documentary by a filmmaker, Sara Lamm, who is herself donor-conceived. Thank You for Coming chronicles her search for her donor, any half-siblings, and the fullness of her history. In her filmmaker statement, Ms. Lamm writes, “my hope is that the film allows viewers to consider more concretely that the donor-conceived child grows into a donor-conceived adult with very real thoughts and feelings.” We couldn’t agree more.

It’s an Official Selection of several prestigious film festivals — congratulations to them! The trailer is below. Watch for a comprehensive review once I’ve had a chance to see it.

5. Contract Pregnancies Exposed Part 1

Jennifer has written a lengthy piece on the realities of contract pregnancies. This week we published the first part of that essay, which covers the history of surrogacy in the United States. Next week (on Tuesday — you heard it here first!) we will publish the second and final part, which looks at the actual language used in surrogacy contracts. Please take the time to read both parts, which we believe makes a clear case that regulating surrogacy does not protect women and children. It only commodifies them more. The only protection is prohibition. #StopSurrogacyNow
This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by  Jellaluna via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 

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