This Week in Bioethics

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on April 22, 2016

1. Surrogacy Bill in Louisiana

Here we go again. After two previous attempts—thankfully vetoed by then Governor Bobby Jindal—another surrogacy bill has been introduced in the state of Louisiana. This new bill has passed the House, so we will be monitoring it closely while trying to educate the people in Louisiana of the many pitfalls surrogacy involves. This is not about helping people have babies as the news reporting would have you believe. It’s about exploiting women as breeders, risking their health, and using conception as a contract to handover a baby.

2. Sperm Bank Sued

A civil lawsuit has been filed against Xytex Cryo International, a Georgia-based sperm bank. Three families in the lawsuit allege that the sperm bank didn’t properly vet their donors, which led to a schizophrenic college dropout with a felony conviction being allowed to donate sperm. The man in question, donor #9623, was profiled as a man with an IQ of 160, multiple degrees in neuroscience, and a clean bill of health. Stories like these take to task the Hollywood message that the “kids are all right”.

3. Surrogacy in Oregon

The state of Oregon is promoting itself as a one-stop surrogacy shop. Oregon public radio did a five-part series explaining why internationals and “especially gay Israeli couples” should consider going to Oregon for surrogacy. Contracts in the state are clear-cut, protecting the intended parents’ rights; egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy are permitted by law; and while it is much cheaper to exploit women in developing countries for their eggs and wombs, arrangements in such countries lack transparency and often lead to problems getting the children back to the commissioning couples’ home countries. The solution, however, is not a visit to Oregon, but rather #StopSurrogacyNow.

4. PAS in the Empire State

New York State hosted a debate on a bill, which, if passed, would legalize Physician Assisted Suicide in the state. While it is promoted as the “Death with Dignity” act, it uses the practice of medicine to intentionally take the life of a human being. We are resolute in our opposition to this corruption of medicine. There is no dignity in physician-assisted suicide. It is the utter abandonment of a person in one of the most vulnerable times of life.

5. 3D Printed Ovaries

Scientists at Northwestern University have created a prosthetic ovary in mice, using 3D printing technology. This engineered ovary implant restored the fertility of mice, allowing them to reproduce new life. Perhaps this will have positive impact for women who have compromised fertility.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by marceloaa via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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