This paper addresses the topic of bioethics in reproductivemedicine from the perspective of the religious implications for the field. The assumption underlying the approach is that religion remains a factor that influences the field of bioethics even in a secularized postmodern society. The first part of the paper analyses the main bioethical issues which mark obstetrics and gynecology, uttering that the four basic principles of bioethics are available both in obstetrics and gynecology and must be applied in (...) association with the practitioner’s virtues. The second part of the paper focuses on the main directions that guide the debate on the presence of religion in the field of bioethics, with a special interest in their relevance for reproductivemedicine. Despite the difficulties implied by the task of advocating for the place of religion at the secular table of deliberation in medical ethics, the relevance of religion for bioethics cannot be ignored. (shrink)
This essay sets down three directives for conscientiously objecting clinicians—physicians, particularly obstetrician/gynecologists, trained in NaProTechnology by the Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton University School of Medicine and any medical professionals who share their natural law vision of reproductive health care—to protect their right to well-formed conscientious objection in reproductivemedicine. Directive one: understand the nature of a well-formed conscience and its rightful exercise. Directive two: fulfill all reasonable American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ requirements for (...) conscientious refusal. Directive three: execute a political strategy to protect health-care conscience rights. (shrink)
In its recent statement 'Sex Selection and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis', the Ethics Committee of the American Society of ReproductiveMedicine concluded that preimplantation genetic diagnosis for sex selection for non-medical reasons should be discouraged because it poses a risk of unwarranted gender bias, social harm, and results in the diversion of medical resources from genuine medical need. We critically examine the arguments presented against sex selection using preimplantation genetic diagnosis. We argue that sex selection should be available, at (...) least within privately funded health care. (shrink)
It is a common feature of debates on the regulation of reproductivemedicine to find law portrayed as a crude form of intervention consisting in the imposition of inflexible rules on doctors and medical researchers. This paper argues that this view must be replaced by a more accurate assessment of the law's potential role in the regulation of reproductivemedicine. From an analysis of the White Paper on human fertilisation and embryology, and in particular the proposed (...) Statutory Licensing Authority, the author contends that far from being an inflexible method of regulation law can foster discussion and compromise. (shrink)
Selection in reproductivemedicine today relies on normative assessments of what ‘good life’ consists of. This paper explores the terms under which such assessments are made by focusing on three particular concepts of ‘quality’: quality of life, biological quality and population quality. It is suggested that the apparently conflicting hypes, hopes and fears that surround reproductivemedicine can co-circulate because of the different forms of normative assessment that these concepts allow. To ensure clarity in bioethical deliberations (...) about selection, it is necessary to highlight how these differing forms of assessment are mobilized and invoked in practices of and debates about reproductivemedicine. (shrink)
Assisted reproduction , particularly that performed using donated gametes, increases the prospect of healthy babies being delivered to increasing numbers of people striving for parenthood. The psychosocial, ethical and legislative issues related both to the donation and receipt of gametes are perceived as extraordinarily complicated. In 2009, a research project aimed at mapping the issues was drawn up and implemented in the Czech Republic. The project should have provided material for consultation purposes, for the work of ethical and legislative bodies, (...) and for better interdisciplinary and international communication in reproductivemedicine. Work on the project was affected by several unforeseen events, particularly by the drafting and adoption of a new law on ART . The article describes the dynamic and structural changes occurring within the project due to drafting of the bill as well as the changes and consequences resulting from other circumstances related to the topic researched. (shrink)
Social, political, and economic environments play an active role in nurturing professional virtue. Yet, these environments can also lead to the erosion of virtue. As such, professional virtue is fragile and vulnerable to environmental shifts. While physicians are often considered to be among the most virtuous of professional groups, concern has also always existed about the impact of commercial arrangements on physicians’ willingness and capacity to enact their professional virtues. This article examines the ways in which commercial arrangements have been (...) negotiated to secure medical virtue from real or perceived threats of erosion. In particular, we focus on the concern surrounding conflicts of interest arising from commercial arrangements that have developed as a result of neoliberal economic and social policies. The deregulation of medical markets and privatization of services have produced new commercial relationships that are often misunderstood by patients, publics, and physicians themselves. ‘Conflicts of interest’ policies have been introduced in an attempt to safeguard ethical conduct and medical practice. However, a number of virtue ethicists have critiqued these policies as inadequate for securing virtue. We examine the ways in which commercial arrangements have been seen to impact upon medical virtue, both historically and in the context of modern medicine. We then describe and critique current efforts to restore clinical virtue through both conflict of interest policies and through virtue ethics. Finally, we suggest some possible ways of addressing the corrosive effects of neoliberalism on medical virtue. (shrink)
The paper discusses the practice of genetic counseling and elective abortion in the German Democratic Republic. Keywords: elective abortion, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, protection of human life, reproductive ethics, German Democratic Republic, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
The diffusion of medical technology is largely determined by the marketplace demands supported by national and historical contexts. Using the cases of cesarean delivery and newborn intensive care in the United States, this article presents the argument that the interaction of four factors accounts for the rapid diffusion of untested technologies. These factors are economic expansion in an unrestricted market, the vulnerability of the patient population, a social disposition towards emergency medicine, and the vested interest of medical specialists.
The concept of reproductive health promises to play a crucial role in improving health care provision and legal protection for women around the world. This is an authoritative and much-needed introduction to and defence of the concept of reproductive health, which though internationally endorsed, is still contested. The authors are leading authorities on reproductivemedicine, women's health, human rights, medical law, and bioethics. They integrate their disciplines to provide an accessible but comprehensive picture. They analyse 15 (...) cases from different countries and cultures, and explore options for resolution. The aim is to equip readers to fashion solutions in their own health care circumstances, compatibly with ethical, legal and human rights principles. (shrink)
The social interface between reproductivemedicine and embryonic stem cell research has been investigated in a pilot study at a large IVF clinic in central China. Methods included observation, interviews with hospital personnel, and five in-depth qualitative interviews with women who underwent IVF and who were asked for their consent to the donation of embryos for use in medical (in fact human embryonic stem cell) research. This paper reports, and discusses from an ethical perspective, the results of an (...) analysis of these interviews. The participants talked of extreme social pressure to become pregnant. Once they had a baby, ‘spare’ embryos lost practical significance due to the Chinese one-child policy. In the context of decision making about donating embryos to research, the women used the clinical distinctions between ‘good and bad quality’ embryos and also between frozen and transferred embryos, as guiding moral distinctions. In the absence of concrete information about what sort of research their embryos should be used for, the women interviewed either refused consent (for fear that the embryo would be given to another couple) or accepted, expressing motives of solidarity with other women in a similar situation. This reveals that they filled the knowledge gap with an image of research improving fertility treatment. (shrink)
Background Against a background of on the one hand, a declining demography and a conservative family register system that emphasizes the importance of the blood line, and on the other hand, an increase in the number of people undergoing fertility treatment, the absence of a legal regulatory framework concerning ART matters is likely to result in an increasing number of contradictory situations. It is against this background that the paper sets out to examine the judgements of court cases related to (...) ART, with a particular focus on the legal determination of parental status, and to link these to aspects of the legal and socio-ethical environment within which the courts make their judgements. Methods The methods used were thorough investigation of all the court cases concerning ART in the public domain in Japan, including the arguments of the concerned parties and the judgements so far delivered. With the court cases as a central focal point, trends in Japan, including deliberations by government and academic societies, are reviewed, and the findings of surveys on the degree of understanding and attitudes among the people toward ART are summarized. Results In terms of the judgements to date, the central criteria used by the courts in determining parental status were the act of parturition and the consent of the husband of the concerned couple. The government and academic societies have displayed a cautious attitude toward ART, but the findings of attitude surveys among the people at large show a generally positive attitude toward ART. Attitudes toward the overwhelming importance hitherto attached to the bloodline are also seen to be changing. Conclusion The main conclusion is that in the absence of a legal regulatory framework for ART, there is likely to be an increase in the contradictions between the use of outdated legal precedents and the technical development of ART. Since much of the specialist discussion necessary for the formulation of a legal framework has already been carried out, the speedy enactment of comprehensive and at the same time flexible legislation would be highly desirable, but further wide-ranging discussion involving the general public is likely to be needed first. (shrink)
Title: Medicine, Morals, and the LawPublisher: Gower Pub CoISBN: 0566005336Author: Sheila McLean and Gerry MaherTitle: Reproductive EthicsPublisher: Prentice HallISBN: 0137739044Author: Michael BaylesTitle: Ethics of Withdrawal of Life-Support SystemsPublisher: Praeger PaperbackISBN: 0275927105Author: Douglas N. Walton.
Enhancement of autonomous choice may be considered as an important reason for facilitating the use of genetic tests such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The principle of respect for autonomy is a crucial component not only of Western liberal traditions but also of Western bioethics. This is especially so in bioethical discussions and analyses of clinical encounters within medicine. On the basis of an analysis of qualitative research interviews performed with British, Italian and Swedish geneticists and gynaecologists on ethical aspects (...) of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the plausibility of the notion of autonomy within reproductivemedicine is discussed. The analysis of interviews indicates not only that there is a gap between theoretical discussions and concrete practice, but also that an increase in choice — paradoxically — can hamper couples' choice. (shrink)
The major dilemma for bioethics is choosing an appropriate method of ethical analysis, one that when applied to individual cases can illuminate if not resolve vexing ethical issues for providers and their patients. Two of these books offer direction in this regard. The framework Carson Strong adopts and makes a compelling case for in EthicsinReproductiveandPerinatalMedicine:ANewFramework is one of modified casuistry. Casuistry, imported to bioethics by Jonsen and Toulmin, is a practical, case-based method of ethical decisionmaking. It relies on comparison between (...) moral factors in a case under consideration and in paradigm cases with justifications for different outcomes. The preferred course of action is the one warranted by the paradigm case that most resembles the case under consideration. Strong's framework is a modified form of casuistry because it takes into account social and political views and allows for, upon occasion, a prioritization of values across cases. (shrink)
Is there any ethical justification for limiting the reproductive autonomy and not make assisted reproductive technologies available to certain prospective parents? We present and discuss the results of an interdisciplinary clinical ethics study concerning access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in situations which are considered as ethically problematic in France (overage or sick parents, surrogate motherhood). The study focused on the arguments that people in these situations put forward when requesting access to ART. It shows that requester’s (...) arguments are based on sound ethical values, and that their legitimacy is at least as strong as that of those used by doctors to question access to ART. Results reveal that the three implicit normative arguments that founded the law in 1994, which are still in force after the bioethics law revision in July 2011—the welfare of the child, the illegitimacy of a “right to a child,” and the defense of the so called “social order”—are challenged on several grounds by requesters as reasons for limiting their reproductive autonomy. Although these results are limited to exceptional situations, they are of special interest insofar as they give voice to the requesters’ own ethical concerns in the ongoing political debate over access to ART. (shrink)
Certain restrictions on public funding for assisted reproductive technology (ART) are articulated and defended by recourse to a distinction between medical infertility and social infertility. We propose that underlying the prioritization of medical infertility is a vision of medicine whose proper role is to restore but not to improve upon nature. We go on to mark moral responses that speak of investments many continue to make in nature as properly an object of reverence and gratitude and therein (sometimes) (...) a source of moral guidance. We draw on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein in arguing for the plausibility of an appeal to nature in opposition to the charge that it must contain a logical fallacy. We also invite consideration of the moral plausibility of some appeal to nature. Finally, we examine what follows in the case of ART. Should medicine respect as natural limits that should not be overcome: the need for a man and a woman in reproduction; menopause; and even declining fertility with age? We must first ask ourselves to what degree we should defer to nature in the conduct of medicine, at least in the particular if not the general case. This will involve also asking ourselves what we think is natural and in what instances and spirit might we defy nature. Divergent opinions and policies concerning who should receive ART treatment and public funding are more easily understood in view of the centrality, complexity and fundamental nature of these questions. (shrink)
Much discussion of decision-making processes in medicine has been patient-centred. It has been assumed that there is, most often, one patient. Less attention has been given to shared decision-making processes where two or more patients are involved. This article aims to contribute to this special area. What conditions need to be met if decision-making can be said to be shared? What is a shared decision-making process and what is a shared autonomous decision-making process? Why make the distinction? Examples are (...) drawn from the area of new reproductivemedicine and clinical genetics. Possible gender-differences in shared decision-making are discussed. (shrink)
This article describes the relatively new technology of freezing human eggs and examines whether egg freezing, specifically when it is used by healthy women as 'insurance' against age-related infertility, is a legitimate exercise of reproductive autonomy. Although egg freezing has the potential to expand women's reproductive options and thus may represent a breakthrough for reproductive autonomy, I argue that without adequate information about likely outcomes and risks, women may be choosing to freeze their eggs in a commercially (...) exploitative context, thus undermining rather than expanding reproductive autonomy. (shrink)
Based on the "Guide to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990", this volume reviews the regulation of assisted conception including complex moral issues such as abortion, embryo research and cloning.
Ethical conflicts have always been connected with new techniques of reproductivemedicine such as in-vitro fertilization. The fundamental question is: When does human life begin and from which stage of development should the embryo be protected? This question cannot be solved by scientific findings only. In prenatal ontogenesis there is no moment during the development from the fertilized oocyte to a human being which could be recognized as an orientation point for all ethical problems connected with the question (...) of the right to dispose of prenatal life (interruption of pregnancy, research on embryos). The protection of an individual human life must be valid for all in the same manner and from the very beginning on. It must not depend on value judgments or on stages of development, so-called grades of humanity, because these would then become selection criteria. Procreated life must have the right to be born. These were the essential ethical arguments which led to the German Embryo Protection Law. (shrink)