Category: Reproductive Technology

The Birds and the Bees and Children’s Literature
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The Birds and the Bees and Children’s Literature

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When my children were younger we spent a lot of time at our local public library. We went to the weekly story time and the annual fairs, joined the summer reading programs to win prizes for books read, and spent a lot of time sitting on rugs and tiny chairs reading, reading, and reading. It’s […]

The Playgrounds of War I
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About an Unwanted Boy

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I’ve just watched an in depth report about a baby boy born via surrogacy in India on November 12, 2012, and left behind by his Australian parents. This tragic story highlights the dirty side of buying and selling and trafficking in children, the complicity of government officials, and the corrupt $500 million per year surrogacy […]

Science Run Amok
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Science Run Amok

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Sometimes reports impacting respect for the dignity of the human person appear to have been written by Rod Serling, creator of the 1950’s television series The Twilight Zone. For example, in China it is reported that scientists are editing the genomes of human embryos. The research has been roundly criticized by Marcy Darnovsky of the […]

When Child Custody Battles Move to the Lab
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When Child Custody Battles Move to the Lab

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I have to confess, I hadn’t heard of Sofia Vergara or her ex-fiance, Nick Loeb, until the frozen embryo custody battle broke in the news. For those, like me, who aren’t familiar with these two, Vergara is an actress, mostly known for her role in the TV show Modern Family, and Loeb is a businessman […]

Egg Trafficking and Rented Wombs: UN Learns How Not to Make Babies
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Egg Trafficking and Rented Wombs: UN Learns How Not to Make Babies

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Every seat in the UN auditorium was filled, with a waiting line outside, to hear about making babies. “Online baby making, buying and selling eggs, renting wombs,” said Jennifer Lahl. “We no longer beget our children, we make our children, we build our families.” Lahl is a pediatric nurse turned film director. Her documentaries explore […]

Silence on Three-Parent Embryos is Deafening
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Silence on Three-Parent Embryos is Deafening

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I will be honest. I am tired. I am angry. I am frustrated. This is likely an uncharacteristically emotional post because, after nearly a decade of writing about biotechnology, I am uncharacteristically horrified. The UK has officially approved the creation of embryos with three genetic parents, and babies created with this technique are likely to […]

Four Things You Can Do To Help Stop the Creation of Genetically-Modified Kids
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Four Things You Can Do To Help Stop the Creation of Genetically-Modified Kids

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At a time when more and more people are becoming wary of generically-modified foods in their diet, the United Kingdom is poised to begin creating genetically-modified children with the genetic material of three people, two women and one man; a genetic combination that could not occur naturally.And the way the UK goes, the United States […]

Human Dignity Exterminated in Frankenstein's Kitchen
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Human Dignity Exterminated in Frankenstein’s Kitchen

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Dignity is a word that is creating a stir in some philosophical circles, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. For example, one writer tells his readers that “Dignity 1.0, the older conception shared by Christians, natural law theorists and others, refers to the idea that humans have ‘inherent worth of immeasurable […]

China’s Black Market for Human Eggs Lures the Young
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China’s Black Market for Human Eggs Lures the Young

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Illegal clinics are luring high school and college-age girls in China with the promise of large payments for their eggs. The procedure can damage the girls’ health and future child-bearing, and the clinics are offering no legal or medical help if complications ensue. For clinics operating on the black market, there is little incentive to […]

Sex, Lies and Birth Certificates
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Sex, Lies and Birth Certificates

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Recently in my state of California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that, beginning in 2016, will alter birth certificates in a dramatic way. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) authored Assembly Bill 1951, which amends the California Vital Records Birth Certificate law in order to “modernize” California birth certificates by allowing each parent to self-identify as mother, father, […]

A New Year's Resolution for You
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A New Year’s Resolution for You

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New Year’s Resolutions tend towards the personal: lose weight, take up a hobby, spend more time with the family, get up earlier, read great books, etc. But this new year I beg people to take some time to learn more about bioethics. The stakes are high. Our definitions of life, death, and human dignity are […]

"I Paid $50,000 for a Girl"
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“I Paid $50,000 for a Girl”

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I think future generations will look back on our insane notion of “reproductive rights,” and they will be horrified. Back in the 70s reproductive rights meant terminating a life you already started. Today it also means creating life however you see fit and tossing out whatever doesn’t suit your desires. So not only have we […]

The Future of Reproduction
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The Future of Reproduction

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Last week the New America Foundation hosted a conference on “The Future of Reproduction” in Washington, D.C. Despite a few exceptions, the event was pretty much one large cheerleading session in praise of reproductive technology. A few highlights: Dan Kois, co-Host of “Mom and Dad Are Fighting,” Slate’s parenting podcast, offered praise of preimplantation genetic […]

The Contending Opinions on Three-Parent Embryo Safety, Part I
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The Contending Opinions on Three-Parent Embryo Safety, Part I

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In our long stride toward the inevitable designer babies, the first manipulation has been the noble goal of creating babies free of the mitochondrial diseases carried by their mothers. This series will examine the issue rather thoroughly in four basic segments: 1. The basic cell biology involved. 2. The problem of defective mitochondria. 3. The […]

The One Way Street Called Sperm Donation
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The One Way Street Called Sperm Donation

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Creating children with sperm donation has gone on for a long time. In fact, the first documented case of a woman becoming pregnant by donor insemination was in 1884. A Quaker woman and her merchant husband, not able to conceive, approached Dr. William Pancoast of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. When Dr. Pancoast presented this […]

U.S. Borders Open Wide and Encourage Reproductive Tourism
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U.S. Borders Open Wide and Encourage Reproductive Tourism

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Last night before heading off to bed I happened to check my email, only to read this unbelievable headline – “Obama Administration Allows Fertility Clinics To Sell US Citizenship.” Boy, did that catch my eye! I’ve just finished reading the Policy Alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security. You can read it here but […]

My Journey Through In Vitro Fertilization
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My Journey Through In Vitro Fertilization

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It’s July 2008 and I’m strapped to a surgical table as a fertility doctor siphons three dozen eggs out of my ovaries through a long needle. Blood is coming from between my legs, as the needle repeatedly perforates my vaginal walls en route to my ovaries in search of viable eggs. In the next room, […]

A Case of Surrogacy’s Gordian Knot
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A Case of Surrogacy’s Gordian Knot

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What a mess. What a God-awful mess the new reproductive technologies in general—and commercial surrogacy, in particular—are making of family life. What a legal, emotional, and moral mess. Case in point: A commercial surrogacy contract was litigated in Tennessee all the way to the state’s Supreme Court—which was forced to sort out the chaos that […]

The Trouble With Uterus Transplants
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The Trouble With Uterus Transplants

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Last week doctors in Sweden announced the birth of a baby after a uterus transplant. The baby is so far healthy being born at only 31 weeks gestation. I am very happy that mother and baby are healthy enough to leave the hospital and I wish them continued health. I  also wish that this procedure […]

Today's Three-Parent Kids Are Not the Same As Tomorrow's Three-Parent Kids
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Today’s Three-Parent Kids Are Not the Same As Tomorrow’s Three-Parent Kids

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Many people are not aware that there are already about two dozen kids in the United States that have been genetically modified. A recent headline exclaims that “The World’s First Genetically Modified Babies Will Graduate High School This Year.” This is true.Nearly 2 decades ago, Dr. Jacques Cohen of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and […]

UK Quietly Opens the Door to Genetic Engineering, ‘Three-Parent’ Embryos
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UK Quietly Opens the Door to Genetic Engineering, ‘Three-Parent’ Embryos

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Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering. Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column […]

Artificial Wombs, Real Consequences
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Artificial Wombs, Real Consequences

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The recent report by transhumanist Zoltan Istvan that scientists are well on their way to successfully creating artificial wombs has caused a stir in a number of circles. Ectogenesis, the scientific name for the process, was once merely a product of fiction. For most of us, however, the reality of artificial wombs is something we […]

Ignorant Slaves
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Ignorant Slaves

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Pattharamon Janbua is a surrogate mother who carried twins for an Australian couple. Upon learning that one of the twins had Down syndrome, the couple pressed Janbua to get an abortion. She refused and the couple chose to abandon that child and take only the healthy baby. This is a chilling story, but one with a happy ending […]

‘Baby Gammy’ Raises Awareness for True Nature of ‘Surrogacy Motherhood’
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‘Baby Gammy’ Raises Awareness for True Nature of ‘Surrogacy Motherhood’

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After two weeks of media reports on baby Gammy, is difficult to discern which version of the story is the one we should believe. Is it true that the Australian couple, who used the services of a Thai “surrogate mom”, upon learning that one of the two children that the “surrogate mom” was expecting suffered […]

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