Early life > Assisted reproduction

Biotechnology & the Human Spirit

Professor in the Faculty of Medicine
Founding Director of the Faculty of Law's Centre for Medicine,
Ethics and Law at McGill University

Facing the unprecedented challenge of reprogenetics

WHAT HAS CHANGED IN HUMAN REPRODUCTION?

Let's have a look, first, at the characteristics of human reproduction around fifty years ago:

Whether and when a child was conceived was largely a matter of chance (one could eliminate chance, of course, by not engaging in sexual intercourse, or reduce it by much less effective contraception than is available today). Where it was conceived was always in a woman's body. How life was transmitted to the child was through sexual reproduction. What genetic heritage the child received was determined by the natural recombination of the genes carried in the female parent's ovum and the male parent's sperm. Those genes were received by the child in their natural or unaltered state. The sex of the child was a matter of chance. Voices Across Boundaries Vol.1 No.2:...

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The Freezing, Implantation, and Adoption of Embryos

The Freezing, Implantation, and Adoption of Embryos

Is it acceptable to freeze human embryos?

We began freezing human embryos in order to augment the efficiency of the diverse methods of medically assisted reproduction. In this way we do not have to 'oblige' women to be subjected to repeated ovary sampling, either in the case where a first implantation is not successful or when a new fertilization is desired.

If we consider these embryonic cells as merely biological material or a potential embryo, freezing only poses technical or juridical problems (e.g., to whom belong these embryos entrusted to the clinic, abandoned or forgotten in a hospital?). On the other hand, if we consider that it is necessary to respect the human being from its conception, then freezing an embryo is unacceptable. It is morally illicit.

In fact, we must ask ourselves what gives us the right to plunge an embryonic child into a 'cold prison?' In 1987 Donum vitae addressed the issue as follows: "The freezing of embryos, even when carried out in order to...

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From Homo sapiens to Techno sapiens

Professor in the Faculty of Medicine
Founding Director of the Faculty of Law's Centre for Medicine,
Ethics and Law at McGill University

Children's Human Rights  to Natural Human Origin

Some old and new phenomena - adoption is old, new reproductive and genetic technologies and same-sex marriage are new - have recently thrown the issue of children's rights with respect to their biological origins and biological families into the public policy spotlight and public square debate.  

Adoption has long challenged children's rights with respect to their biological families. Early in the 20th century, societally condoned sperm donation presented a similar challenge. In the last thirty years new reproductive and genetic technologies (NRTs) have brought, and will continue to bring, unprecedented challenges. And, most recently same-sex marriage has done so. 
   From Homo sapiens to Techno sapiens: Children's Human Rights to Natural Human Origins", Proceedings, 14th World Congress on In Vit...

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