Tag: reproduction

Blog Posts (110)

March 21, 2017

The 14 day rule – A brief update

In early December, this blog commented upon the 7 December 2016 conference at University College London, which debated rethinking the ethics whether or not to increase the UK’s restriction on experimentation on human embryos from 14 to 28 days. One result of that conference is that the Progress Educational Trust (the sponsor of the original conference) has since submitted a request to the House of... // Read More »
March 19, 2017

The Semantics of Therapy, Part II

A previous blog post of “The Semantics of Therapy” posed three questions about the human genome being a “patient” to be treated. One reader found the post “provocative and disturbing” and called for further explanation and discussion of the questions posed. That will take some time and several postings. The first of the questions to be considered is this: If the “patient” is a genome, to whom... // Read More »
March 19, 2017

The Semantics of Therapy, Part II

A previous blog post of “The Semantics of Therapy” posed three questions about the human genome being a “patient” to be treated. One reader found the post “provocative and disturbing” and called for further explanation and discussion of the questions posed. That will take some time and several postings. The first of the questions to be considered is this: If the “patient” is a genome, to whom... // Read More »
March 8, 2017

The difficult way to eradicate a genetic mutation

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has a section in each issue titled “A Piece of My Mind” in which one of the physician readers writes a personal essay. The February 28, 2017 issue includes an essay titled “Eradicating a Genetic Mutation” by Maryl Goldberg Sackheim, an OB/GYN physician, who gives a personal account of her choice to use IVF and PGD to... // Read More »
March 3, 2017

Heritable human gene editing and the public

The recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine includes a chapter dedicated to public engagement.  Scientists leading gene editing efforts have actively sought broader public engagement, and point out that they desire this input, including from people who disagree with them about it.  They may push to win any arguments, but for the most part they don’t seem to be hiding.... // Read More »
March 1, 2017

The Gift of Finitude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finitude. About limits. Incompleteness. Even failure. Like the friend of a friend who is dying and has just been admitted to hospice, whose young teenaged daughter is facing the prospect of a life without her mother. Like the colleague who is grieving the loss of both a spouse and a parent within a month of each other. Like... // Read More »
February 23, 2017

Still further on heritable human gene editing

I want to spend a little time—several consecutive posts—on the subject of heritable gene editing in humans, and on the recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine on it.  The topic bears more attention than a single blog post, written in a bit of a rush, based on only the initial release of the report, pending a deeper dive.  That is... // Read More »
February 17, 2017

Human germline gene editing full report—a bit more

As Steve Phillips pointed out yesterday, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has published, in book form, its full report on “Human Gene Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance.”  On Valentine’s day.  (I suppose it’s not so ironic.)  The entire report may be downloaded for free through this link.  Also available at that page are links to a 4-page summary report and to one-pagers... // Read More »
February 15, 2017

Is there a compelling reason for germline genetic editing?

Yesterday the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine release the findings of an expert panel on Human Genome Editing. The most significant of their recommendations relate to human germline genetic editing. They recognize that the techniques for doing this are not yet at the point that they can be considered safe enough to do at the present, but make the assumption... // Read More »
January 22, 2017

The Semantics of Therapy

What is therapy? This is one question that should occur to the reader of Jill Neimark’s “Unexpected Risks Found In Replacing DNA To Prevent Inherited Disorders.” In referring to the birth of the baby born of three parents last year, the author names it “mitochondrial replacement therapy”: Using a technique called mitochondrial replacement therapy, the researchers combined DNA from two women and one man to bypass... // Read More »

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Published Articles (3)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 12 Issue 8 - Aug 2012

Review of Christine Overall, Why Have Children: The Ethical Debate Andrea Mechanick Braverman

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 3 - Mar 2011

Sexless Reproduction: A Status Symbol

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 10 Issue 11 - Nov 2010

Review of Charis Thompson, Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies

News (28)

August 27, 2012 8:51 am

Prenatal genome sequencing expected to pose challenges to doctors (American Medical News)

“My instinct is this will be available certainly in the next decade, and probably sooner,” said Benjamin E. Berkman, MPH, deputy director of the Bioethics Core at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md.  But the medical community is not prepared to address the clinical challenges and ethical issues that probably will accompany the procedure, say some bioethicists and geneticists.

August 15, 2012 9:41 am

Yes we should (prenatal sequencing) (Discover Magazine (blog))

Of course the natural objection is that I’m discussing a problem which doesn’t exist. I wish this were so, but there’s a whole bioethics industry whose bread & butter is to trade in flimsy and specious reasoning, which might appeal to politicians who are will to purchase specious reasoning for purposes of their demagoguery. For example, As Prices for Prenatal Genome Sequencing Tests Fall, Researchers Worry About Consequences for Families in a Real-Life ‘Gattaca’.

August 8, 2012 3:12 pm

Gay or straight baby - the choice could be yours says expert (ONE News)

Parents-to-be may be able to have their unborn child screened for homosexuality within a matter of a few years, according to a visiting American expert in bioethics.  Professor Robert Klitzman of Columbia University’s Centre for Bioethics has told TV ONE’s Close Up that genetic tests are now being developed to look for autism, alzheimers and various types of cancers.  “We may find tests with homosexuality for instance,” he said.

August 2, 2012 10:01 am

The flawed basis behind fetal-pain abortion laws (Washington Post)

On Thursday, Arizona’s new abortion law will take effect, outlawing the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy — a much earlier threshold than in any other law that has been upheld in court. Like-minded laws have been enacted in Nebraska, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Louisiana, and a bill similarly limiting abortion in the District drew support Tuesday from a majority of the U.S. House, but not from enough members to pass.

July 13, 2012 1:19 pm

Is Your Fertility Doctor Taking Kickbacks? (Slate Magazine (blog))

In theory, they’re just like any other loan company—except that they’re dealing with a population of borrowers who are often far more emotionally vulnerable than your average home buyer, and many of these lenders seem totally comfortable taking advantage of that fact. There are some that charge exorbitant interest rates, and others that are engaging in something far more unethical: Snyderman reports that some lenders are giving fertility doctors kickbacks or a stake in the company in exchange for sending customers their way. Ugh.

July 13, 2012 1:09 pm

Turkish doctors face fines for elective caesareans (The Guardian)

Itil is concerned that doctors might not be ready to opt for surgery once the law is in place: “How can a law decide when a patient requires a certain treatment? This is against medical ethics, and the art of medicine in general. Turkey will set a very negative example with this law.”

July 12, 2012 12:22 pm

Growing IVF loan business helps families finance their fertility (msnbc.com (blog))

Even with success stories like the Clintons’, some experts are concerned that desperate couples could get into financial trouble – and that doctors who own a share of the loan companies might be crossing ethical boundaries.

June 28, 2012 8:13 pm

Conservatives line up against sperm donors, but lack the power to ban them (Washington Post)

A new documentary exploring the ethical implications of sperm donation is creating a buzz among religious audiences.  “Anonymous Father’s Day” delves into bioethics from the perspective of donor-conceived children who grow up not knowing their biological fathers. The film gives fodder to opponents of assisted reproductive technology, who argue the fertility “industry” has led to psychologically scarred children and the “commodification” of human life.

June 20, 2012 1:13 pm

Before Birth, Dad’s ID (New York Times)

It is an uncomfortable question that, in today’s world, is often asked by expectant mothers who had more than one male partner at the time they became pregnant. Who is the father? With more than half of births to women under 30 now out of wedlock, it is a question that may arise more often. Now blood tests are becoming available that can determine paternity as early as the eighth or ninth week of pregnancy, without an invasive procedure that could cause a miscarriage.

April 26, 2012 9:45 am

Pregnant woman who bought U.S. donor egg speaks out (CBC News)

A royal commission, several parliamentary committees, an act of Parliament and a federal agency have all debated reproductive technologies, touching on a quagmire of legal, social and ethical issues that include the exploitation of surrogates and the sale of sperm and eggs before the advent of cryopreservation. Prof. Françoise Baylis, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, advised the royal commission and later sat on the board of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada before she quit in frustration in 2010 over concerns about its management.

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