Tag: reproduction

Blog Posts (51)

January 21, 2015

Infertility, ethics, and fairy tales

This weekend my wife and I went to see the movie version of the musical Into the Woods. The music was done beautifully and the characters were casted and acted well, but I left disturbed by the ethics presented in the story. For those who have not yet seen the musical I will attempt to comment on it without spoiling it for you. The plot... // Read More »
January 14, 2015

Consequentialism and surrogacy

A recent news article reports on a study by researchers at the Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. The study found that “in the longer term surrogates do not experience psychological problems as a result of being a surrogate.” 34 women had initially been surveyed 1 year after being a surrogate and this study was a follow up of... // Read More »
October 17, 2014

Metaphor: Shopping

Story: a white couple ordered sperm from a sperm bank, stipulating that it be from a white man, for artificial insemination; however, in the delivery room, it was immediately apparent that they didn’t get what they ordered, as their newborn daughter was mixed-race. The couple is now suing the sperm bank for $50,000. In Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune, columnist Dahleen Glanton wrote a commentary on this... // Read More »
August 23, 2014

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides…

I just finished reading a very dry book on organizational theory as applied to reproductive medicine. The book was a Swedish observational study evaluating the sociomaterial aspects of that subspecialty, particularly Swedish IVF clinics. While the book did not directly address ethical issues in reproductive medicine, it did note some of them in passing. One that caught my eye was issue of the choice of... // Read More »
August 21, 2014

Breast Cancer, BRCA Mutations, and Attitudes about PGD

If you knew you had a gene mutation that confers a high risk of cancer, would you use IVF and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent passing on the mutation to your offspring? That is the question that cancer doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston put to 155 young women, still of childbearing potential, with breast cancer.  The doctors actually asked their patients... // Read More »
July 8, 2014

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: A thin margin indeed

The recent Supreme Court decision, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, has been hailed as a victory for religious rights, but in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion there are ominous signs for bioethics. First, no commentator so far has mentioned that the Supreme Court decision implies that the only legally viable objection to underwriting abortifacient interventions must be religious in nature. The thin margin of decision by... // Read More »
July 3, 2014

Musing About the Hobby Lobby Decision

I am in the camp that applauds this week’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.  But of course others disagree, and I was not surprised to see that there is alarm on the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine.   A “Perspectives” article written by two attorneys (one with a bioethics degree) and one M.D. includes two graphs, in particular, that I... // Read More »
June 14, 2014

Making Babies; the New “Normal”

Once upon a time in a fairy tale land that now seems far, far away, young people fell in love, got married, and started a family. But the idea of “starting a family” has taken on new meaning as pregnancy has come under the rubric of technological control. Increasingly, it is not about having children but about “making babies.” With the advent of technology and... // Read More »
June 12, 2014

Germline Alteration and Defining “Just Research”

Yesterday’s post by Steve Phillips raises a central question for us in the “biotech century”:  are there some sorts of experiments that fundamentally ought not be done because of the potential they will be grossly misapplied by bad actors?  Steve cited research by Lord Robert Winston seeking to create genetically altered pigs—that seem, from the description in the press, to be what scientists call “transgenic”... // Read More »
June 11, 2014

New method for genetic modification – genetic alteration of sperm

Germline genetic modification is a technique that some find intriguing and many find very concerning when its use is considered in humans. However there are uses of germline genetic modifications in animals that may impact humans in multiple ways. In an article in The Telegraph, British researcher Robert Winston talks about current research to develop animal organs (usually from pigs) that could be genetically modified... // Read More »