Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ethics: Donor Gametes - In General and Between Parents and Children

no. 360

There was an interesting Opinion piece published in the April 27, 2007 Ottawa Citizen that I learned about due to Diane Allen's posting about it on the Yahoo DSR Discussion group. It was an opinion piece regarding the ethics of donor gametes. The piece was written in response to the news story regarding the freezing of a mother's ova (eggs) for later use by her daughter who is infertile. An interesting piece. I admit I need to read through it again to fully absorb it. The author is Margaret Somerville who is founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law.

I have presented the full article on this blog's Annex but at risk of being accused of publishing spoilers the last three paragraphs of the article are:

"Ova freezing is just one more example that raises the broad question: How should we deal ethically with scientific advances in reproductive technologies? I propose that all these technologies must be ethically evaluated primarily through the lens of the children who will result from their use.

That lens requires that, at the very least, we first do no harm to those children; that we respect their fundamental human rights to come into being from natural biological origins; and that we act in their "best interests," in particular, in preserving their natural genetic relationships.

Except for concern about physical risks to children from using reproductive technologies, the focus up to now has been almost entirely on the rights of adults, who want to have a child, to use these technologies -- that is, only the adult lens has been used. That has caused a failure to consider, in the depth and breath required, both what ethics requires with respect to the children conceived through the use of reproductive technologies and the fundamental human rights of those children with respect to their coming into being."

I don't think anyone will be surprised by her conclusions but I do think the entire piece worth reading to understand her reasoning.

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