Ch8 Reproductive Technology.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Debate on IVF about the nature and meaning of family, the welfare of children, treatment of women, moral status of embryos, value of human life, sanctity of natural procreation, legitimacy of reproductive rights Traditional surrogacy sperm from male partner or donor is used to artificially inseminate the surrogate Gestational surrogacy surrogate receives a transferred embryo created through IVF using sperm and egg of others Anti-surrogacy: amounts to baby-selling Defenders of surrogacy: surrogate is simply relinquishing her right as a parent to have a relationship with the child selling/forfeiting the right to enjoy a future parent-child relationship, therefore does not seem wrong Peter Singer (p373) Seven moral objections against IVF focusing its use in the simple case (married, infertile couple use an egg and sperm taken from them and all embryos created are inserted into the womb of the wife) 1) IVF is unnatural 2)its risky for the offspring 3) it separates procreative and conjugal aspects of marriage Concludes that all the above objections are weak and that they should not count against going ahead with IVF when it is the best way of overcoming infertility and when the infertile couple decides against adoption Argue against objections to the simple case: 1) IVF is unnatural 2) Risky for offspring 3) Separates procreative and conjugal aspects of marriage and so damages martial relationship 4) Is illicit because it involves masturbation 5) Adoption is a better solution to the problem of childlessness 6) IVF is an expensive luxury and the resources would be betweer spent elsewhere 7) Allows increased male control over reproduction and hence threathens the status of women in the community Support for arguments 1) Would reject modern medicine as a whole, for the very purpose of the medical enterprise is to resist the ravages of nature which would otherwise shorten our lives and make them much less pleasant. If anything is in accordance with the nature of our species, it is the application of our intelligence to overcome adverse situation in which we find ourselves. Application of IVF is a classic example of this application 2) Results of IVF have happily refuted fears of risk. Used date to support success of procedure. In vitro technique does not add increase risks of abnormal offspring, abnormalities were all ones that arise with the ordinary method of reproduction 3) urged by spokesmen for certain religious groups, but are difficult to defend outside the confines of particular religions. Whether it will harm marriage is for couple to decide 4) based on religious prohibitions. Absurd to extend a prohibition to a case in which masturbation is being used in the context of a marriage and precisely in order to make reproduction possible 5) we cant demand more of infertile couples that we are ready to demand of ourselves. Its not an ideal world. If fertile couples are free to have large families of their own, rather than adopting from overseas, then infertile couples must also be free to do what they can to have their own families, therefore should not make adoption compulsory in latter case either 6) must not single out IVF for harsher treatment than we give to other medical techniques (ex: to cover for injury, psychological distress). If allocation of national budget needed to be considered, need to consider all medial areas 7) came from feminists. But women have figured quite prominently in the leading IVF teams in Britain, Australia, and US. Odd for a feminist to neglect the contributions these women have made and it provides choices for women: women will be helped rather than harmed by IVF Warren (p377) examines some feminist objections to IVF and other new reproductive technologies because of the risks and costs to women from IVf, its not at all clear that it provides a net benefit for them but if disadvantages do not clearly outweigh possible benefits, then matter is properly left to individual choice wrong to conclude that womens interests demand as end to research in IVF neither the partial society nor pronatalist ideology makes women incapable of reasoned choice about childbearing few have paid much attention to dangers to women although reproductive technologies (RTs) pose some significant dangers for women, it would be wrong to conclude that womens interests demand an end to IVF research must ask whether IVF is morally objectionable, and whther its a part of an adequate societal response to the problem of involuntary infertility among women IVF is only a small solution to the above problem: it can help only a small minority of infertile women, and does nothing to address the underlying social causes which contribute to the problem Publicity surrounding IVF may deflect attention and resources from more important tasks of understanding causes of infertility1) Feminist criticisms microlevel Level of individual behavior, rights, and wrongs Primary issue is whether IVF is sufficiently beneficial to IVF patients to justify the commercial marketing of the procedure, or even continued research and development A number of risks to mother and infant associated with ways in which IVF pregnancies are monitored Number of risks during IVF procedure Mental burdens can result When costs are considered with the fact that only a small minority of women who undergo IVF will give birth to viable infants, not clear that IVF provides a net benefit to its patients 2) IVF and informed consent Net benefit depends on how severe the costs are, whether success rates can be improved in existing programs and greatness of boon motherhood for individuals Those who regard motherhood as the greatest pleasure or achievement will be prepared to tolerate greater risks than those who see motherhood as institutional burden Right to use RTs is meaningless unless the requirements are met for informed and voluntary consent Informed consent requires an understanding of the medical and psychological risks, and probabili
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