This Week in Bioethics #109

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on April 27, 2018

Post image for This Week in Bioethics #109

1. Mark Your Calendars

And save the date. One year from today — Saturday, April 27, 2019 — will be the next Paul Ramsey Award Dinner. This is the earliest we’ve ever announced the date, but we want to be sure that as many people as possible are able to attend. Let’s pack the place out! So get it on your calendar now. Start saving your airline miles and your hotel points now so that you can join us in the Bay Area next April!  

2. How Did we Get Here?

Our friends at #StopSurrogacyNow published an excellent review of Renate Klein’s terrific book Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation. The reviewer focuses on understanding how we got here. That is, “How did we get to the point where this reduction of women to bodies is accepted and even celebrated—not only among many men but also many women, even among some feminists?” It’s an excellent review that is well worth your time to read.

3. What Do We Owe Children?

Happening across a journal article this week spurred me to write a brief blog post on the ways in which we approach the issues of third-party reproduction: sperm donation, egg donation, and surrogacy. Almost all discussions are focused on adult desires, but we should also consider what adults owe to children. In fact, the needs of children should take priority well above the desires of adults.  

4. A Perilous Transformation

As I read this report on the possible (or perhaps likely) future of human reproduction, a quote from Dr. Brent Waters at our 2016 Ramsey Award Dinner sprung to mind. The report imagines that couples might have as many as 100 embryos created and analyzed so that they could select exactly the child they want. In contrast, Dr. Waters said:

Paul Ramsey warned that it is perilous to transform the natural procreation of children into reproductive projects, for in the latter, offspring are effectively reduced to artifacts of the parents’ will; children are made rather than begotten.

Why is this perilous? Because the relationship between maker and made is far different than a relationship based on the equality of being, and of being only human. He warned that the value of humans cannot be increased by presumably making them more desirable, but rather, humans are to be cherished simply for who they are.

5. False IVF Hope

The United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is warning those shopping for IVF services abroad — because of restrictions on IVF through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) — that clinics promising as much as a 97.82% success rate are peddling nothing more than “false hope.” Indeed, one woman quoted in the article said

“If someone sat me down at the beginning and said ‘this is the stark reality of it all, these are the facts and figures you’ve left it too late’ before the amount of emotional stress and the money I’ve spent, I may have made a different choice.”

The article is well done, probing a number of different angles of the situation. In the end, it is a reminder that there simply is not a technological solution for every problem, nor should there be.

Lagniappe

We have copies of Renate Klein’s Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation. Copies are $20, which includes U.S. shipping. Email us at info@cbc-network.org.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

 

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