This Week in Bioethics #97

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on February 2, 2018

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1. It’s Time to Start Paying Attention to Surrogate Mothers

This feels like the kind of thing we’ve been saying for a very long time (see here and here and here, for example). An important article in The Richmond Journal of Law & Technology (The first exclusively online law review) states:

In addition to the risks of unequal bargaining power, the surrogate’s inability to reliably predict and value the damage her body may incur as a result of pregnancy is a pressing public policy concern. Individuals have a psychological tendency to underestimate negative consequences (“optimist bias”), which may lead surrogates to irrationally discount the possibility of physical disability or death resulting from pregnancy complications.

More:

Poor women and women carrying multiples are at greater risk of pregnancy complications and death than average, yet anecdotal evidence suggests that these characteristics are common among surrogates . . . It’s time to start paying attention to America’s surrogates.

I would add that this isn’t an issue only in America. It’s time to start paying attention to surrogate mothers around the world.

2. Ethics and Burnout

The New England Journal of Medicine just published a brief piece examining burnout among healthcare providers. I wrote up some brief reflections on the article. Briefly, I suggest that it is at least worth asking whether there are ways in which the dominant ethical framework might be part of the problem. Is there some other ethical framework, some other way of conceiving of the doctor-patient relationship that might help to alleviate burnout?

3. Not all of Hollywood is Pro-Surrogacy

Scott Patterson from Gilmore Girls is bothered by the show’s surrogacy plot line in the newest episodes (spoiler alert!).

As revealed by Us Weekly, Patterson told reporters that he felt the idea of Lorelai and Luke having a baby through surrogacy was not the way in which the couple should have conceived, admitting that it was an “awkward” situation for both his character as well as in real life.

That was a bit unexpected. But Patterson gets it, even if he can’t fully articulate it. Thanks for being bold enough to express it.

4. Our Next Film

Yesterday Jennifer and I signed a contract with an editor to complete our next documentary film. Many of you have followed and supported our work on the film so far, which will feature Kelly and tell her story of being a surrogate mother three times. She was lied to, lied about, nearly died, and left almost ruined financially. Release date: Fall 2018! Stay tuned…

5. Have We Got a Book Deal for You!

If you’re interested in reading Renate Klein’s excellent new book Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation (see a review here) we have copies available for $16 including USA shipping. Email us if you want a copy. Or if you’re outside the US, email us and we’ll calculate the shipping to where you are.

Lagniappe

This week, in 2011, our film Eggsploitation was named Best Documentary at the California Independent Film Festival. Celebrate with us by watching it (or watching it again) on iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.

Postscript

This is only a sampling of the items that have come across our screens this week. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to keep up with all the latest.

 

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