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winter 2014

6 Pages
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York University
BIOL 1000
Nicole Nivillac

Genetically Engineered Bodies • Plastic bodies - alternations to the surface of the body / Interchangeable bodies- changes to the interior of the body/ Genetically engineered bodies- modifications that occur at the most basic level • Genetically engineered bodies are much better than the plastic bodies and interchangeable bodies • Discussion: advances and implications of stem cell research Stem Cell Research • Stem cells  cells that have the ability to differentiate into various other kinds of cells • Through the use of cells and the technique of cloning genetically engineered bodies can be created  doctors want to replace the bad cells with the good cells with this technique but they haven’t been successful • How can you grow stem cells? o Stem cells can grow in the lab from adults or fetal blood o Scientists can grow stem cells from embryos – fertilize human eggs  embryos  cells will grow  extract stem cells from the embryos • People oppose stem cell research because when you destroy embryos it’s the destruction of humans /killing humans. Same shit or when you produce cells to treat others it’s like selling human body parts. stem cell research is going too much towards the profit sector hence less regulations. Some believe that it is only a matter of time before future babies will be cloned • People support stem cell research because people think that the benefits overweigh the bad effects such as curing diseases (this support is done mostly by loved ones). They also think that an embryo won’t form into a human unless it is in a women’s uterus. The women that have fewer eggs and want to get pregnant won’t be likely to use a cloned egg because it has less chances of surviving. Reproductive Technology • Reproductive technology: are medical developments that allow doctors to control the process of human conception and fetal development – first bought to public on 1978 when Louise Browns mother wasn’t able to conceive so she went to the doctor got her egg taken out, her husband’s sperm and her egg were combined in a test tube and 9 months later  Louise Brown was born. This technique is known as vitro fertilization • This causes people to question the ethics- How far should doctors go? – Court cases: decide whether embryos need to be placed for adoption when the parents die or which parent should the embryo go to if they got a divorce ( who wants the embryo planted or destroyed) – another question is if a couples baby should be placed in another women. • This is very popular in Canada. Even though a lot of new technology came about live births have only less than a third chance. Infertility rates have also increased which means more women are eligible for this procedure • Pre implantation Genetic diagnosis: assisted reproductive technology that allows an embryo created through vitro to be tested for genetic abnormalities. • Women now go to doctors and go through tests to find out if their future children have any problems – due to false positives go through many tests • After finding out, it isn’t clear for women how they should deal with what they find out – a pamphlet give the women responsibility – but is it really? When in our society it’s bad to have a child with a disability? • This raises question of morality- is it moral to intervene so directly and invasively in human reproduction – • Those that favour it – these technologies give more control over the couples destinies – parents have a right to know everything about their children, this continues the existence of life • Those that oppose it- couples may try to spend tons and tons of money on trying to fix the disability instead of trying to make their lives better for themselves- this technology causes the children to be like a consume a product- this technology also undermines the normalcy of reproductive processes. • There is no correct way to do this. No limits on how this information can be used. It’s Time to Reframe the Savior Sibling Debate • Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant: way to treat life threatening conditions – these cells come from bone marrow, peripheral blood, umbilical cord blood etc. but this blood needs to come from a person that has the same blood – if no blood matches you create someone that will have the same blood. • There is a 25% chance of a saviour sibling and IVF increases these chances. Once the saviour sibling is created the blood from the umbilical cord will be taken for stem cells. • Clinical Perspective  saviour sibling is an option when there is no other option available but it causes an ethical debate  all the information is not always given to parents • Some doctors do not tell the parents at all because they do not think that it is an established practice • Moral/ethical debate  empirical evidence that is influential  parents firsthand experience  ethical concerns do not provide a valid warrant for non-disclosure Main ethical concerns about the creation of saviour siblings • Ethical concerns rely on harm  three categories o Concerns about moral hazards to society at large o Concerns about specific harms to donors or parents o Concerns about the destruction of embryos Moral Hazards to Society at Large • Commonly expressed as slippery slope  if an exception to a moral rule is allowed or we it we allow decision and actions that are aimed at a particular goal, society will inevitably slide down to a metaphorical slope undesirable and unacceptable consequences – even if the goal seems justifiable • Even though these arguments are common – gained little traction in the academic literature – they are flawed • Why? Because a technology can be created for moral purposes but it doesn’t mean that it will be used that way • The technologies that are used to create saviour siblings are used to benefit the sick sibling  no contribution to slippery slope that will cause designer babies Harm to Donor and Parents • The children that are created are not valued  violates Kant’s categorical imperative which “commands us to act in such a way that you treat humanity whether in your own person or in the person of another, never simply as a means but always s the same time as an end.” • Criticized rests as a misunderstanding that a person must not be treated merely or solely as a means to an end – people can be used as a means so long as there are treated as an end in their own means. In other words the saviour siblings needs also need to be met. • The objection also assumes that there is only one reason for parents to bring children into the world- there are more reasons – some say that parents should use this technology only if they wanted another child beforehand. • Separation Principle: assumes that reproductive decisions are immune to influence of other life events • its difficult to figure out if parents wanted children before or not, practically • The moral hierarchy: those that conceive because they wanted to save a child’s life are on higher moral grounds than those for selfish reasons • Separation principle also assumes that parental motivation is predictor of how the parents will raise their children – this lacks empirical support – applied to children suspicion on parental motivations – many
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