This Week in Bioethics #110

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on May 4, 2018

Post image for This Week in Bioethics #110

1. Update on New Jersey and New York

As I write, we’re waiting to hear whether New Jersey Governor Murphy is going to sign the surrogacy-enabling legislation on his desk. Meanwhile, hearings are scheduled in New York for later this month on a bill seeking to legalize surrogacy in the Empire State. We are keeping a close eye on both of these states, doing interviews like this one in the Christian Post, and sending educational information through members of the Stop Surrogacy campaign who are there on the ground. Be sure to watch our Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates.

2. What is CRISPR? What Issues Does it Raise?

This week we published an important new piece that provides an introduction to and overview of CRISPR technology. What is it? What does it do? What issues does it raise? A student at Fordham did an internship with us this semester and took the lead in developing this piece. It is some of the rich fruit of the work of our Paul Ramsey Institute. CRISPR is a rapidly developing field, so we’ll be keeping the document updated as things progress in the field. Be sure to give it a read.

3. She’s Your Daughter, Not Your Egg

Amy Throckmorton recently posted on Facebook that she had met the egg she “donated” in college. A young woman named Elizabeth was born from the egg, and she is now a student at the same college Amy attended. I’m sure Amy was simply trying to be lighthearted by saying she met her egg, but this kind of language masks the realities at stake in donor conception. Let’s be clear: the child born from your “donated” egg is your daughter.   

4. No Escape from DNA

The case of the so-called Golden State Killer has been in the news over the past week, and of course I’m particularly interested in the fact that he was identified through a publicly-available DNA and genealogy database. By using crime-scene DNA with a made-up name and profile, investigators were able to locate distant relatives and then trace down his actual identity. This raises a host of questions about the far-reaching power of our DNA and the DNA of our family members, our expectations of privacy, what constitutes a reasonable search, and more.

all those people shipping off a tube of saliva for testing don’t necessarily think of all the ways their data could be used — NPR

These are very important and under served issues, and but one example of the ways in which biotechnologies carry with them unforeseen complexities.  

5. Impossible to Legislate or Regulate Away Surrogacy’s Harms

A recent article took a look at a number of current television shows that are exploring the topic of surrogacy, raising some of the ethical issues that accompany it, and exploring ways in which those concerns are evident in the shows. All this, and yet the author still manages to call surrogacy “something that is ultimately selfless.”

I wrote up some brief thoughts on this attitude, which exemplifies the mistaken belief that the harms and dangers of surrogacy can be legislated and regulated away. Click through to my blog post for links on a host of resources that detail why no amount of legislation or regulation will ever be enough to protect women and children from surrogacy.

Lagniappe

This week last year was a very busy one. Jennifer and I returned from Spain where we spent several days working in Madrid with several members of the Stop Surrogacy Now coalition. Jennifer along with colleagues Jennifer Schneider and Wendy Kramer had a very important commentary piece, “Long-term breast cancer risk following ovarian stimulation in young egg donors: a call for follow-up, research and informed consent,” published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online, and more. Take a look back at a recap of all we had going on in the first week of May 2017.

 

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

 

 

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