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Reproductive Technology

Reproductive Technology Reproductive Technology Technological development and the advancement of science constantly raises new political and legal challenges. We must promote scientific development, but at the same time we must also impose restrictions involving certain human and social values. Reproductive technology is one of the best examples of the challenges posed by the development of medical science and its involvement with the law. Issues involved with Reproductive Technology include: Techniques, Morals and Ethics, and The Charter of Right and Freedoms. Reproduction is a fact of life, but it has always fascinated humans. Why did babies die? Why were some people sterile? How can childless couples be helped? To answer these questions scientists began research.

This research began mostly in the late nineteenth century. However, some of the techniques used today have been used for hundreds of years. Artificial Insemination is the oldest known assisted reproductive technology. The first known cases of this type occurred in 1790. Many years of research were put into the development of In Vitro Fertilization.

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Following the research dealing with humans, scientists began with animals. The first successful transfer of an embryo which resulted into the birth of young was between two rabbits in 1891. During this time, many attempts were made to transfer embryos between mammals. Success was not achieved until the 1970s. Using mice proved to be an important advance because the similarity in the technique used for humans.

Despite these similarities it was a long time before anyone achieved success in humans. Bob Edwards of the UK reported successful fertilization of human eggs in vitro in 1969. Upon finding a technique to retrieve the eggs, experiments were performed to determine the best time to retrieve the eggs, how long they should be incubated, and what conditions were most favourable for the embryos. The first test tube baby whose name is Louise Brown, was born in 1978. Since the development of these techniques, many new technologies have been established. A total of 20,659 babies were born in 1996 (in the USA) using one of the following techniques: In vitro fertilization, gamete intra fallopian transfer, and zygote intra fallopian transfer.

In vitro fertilization involves extracting a womans eggs, fertilizing the eggs in the laboratory, and then transferring the resulting embryo(s) into the womans uterus through the cervix. Gamete intra fallopian transfer is when a fiberoptic instrument called a laparoscope is used to help place the unfertilized eggs and sperm into the womans fallopian tubes through small incisions in her abdomen. Zygote intra fallopian transfer involves fertilizing a womans eggs in the laboratory and then using a laparoscope to help transfer the fertilized eggs into her fallopian tubes. There are a number of other techniques but they are not as popular and do not have a very high success rate. Other techniques have been used for specific reasons.

Some parents who have children with blood disorders decide to have a test-tube baby so that it can save their suffering child. Ellen Phillipson called a fertility clinic in Newcastle upon Tyne to discuss the possibility that a baby brother or sister could save her four-year-old daughter, Simone, who has Fanconi anemia(NP-1). There is a very high demand for this type of reproduction technology. The first Designer Baby is thought to be Adam Nash. Adams parents selected their sons embryo from among others in a petri dish in order to ensure it was free of his sister Mollys life-threatening blood disease, Franconis anemia.(NP-2) With all these new reproductive technologies becoming available to people, ethicists are popping up with questions on whether the developing child is harmed during the medical procedure. In the case with Adam Nash, he experienced no pain when donating his umbilical cord (since there are no known nerve terminals in the umbilical arteries).

In future cases involving organ donation it will be hard to assess whether the donor child will be harmed. How will it be possible to assess whether a child from whom a kidney is removed would have been stronger and healthier had he or she not been subjected to an operation in infancy?(NP-3) This question is highly controversial with the ethicists. But there is another concern that passes unnoticed by the ethicists. A human beings moral status should not depend upon its parents love, or lack of it, or on their opinion about its genetic profile. It is obviously true some people have children for bad reasons, or for no reason at all.

And it is also wholly good Molly Nash has been given a chance to live. But it is precisely such cases , in which the benefits are obvious and the drawbacks subtle, that are surely and swiftly overthrowing the ethical codes that have guided our civilization for generations.(NP-4) The argument for saving the life of an innocent child has, in this case, inched us closer to accepting that human beings may be treated as utilities. What does it mean when a person becomes the treatment? Just how far can we go? Is there a difference between conceiving a child for umbilical cord cells or bone marrow transplants, for a kidney or a lung? Do parents have the right to produce one child as a set of spare parts for another child? The petri-dish embryo that became Adam was genetically tested for its own health and its sisters. But testing isnt limited to lethal childhood diseases. Do we want to screen out a disease that wont click in for 40 years, if at all? And contrary to that do we want to choose enhancement genes to pick children for height, hair color, or musical ability? We are going there. Its just a question of when we get there.(Mag-1) Another case where a baby is going to be used to provide aid is in the case of a Scottish couple who are using the recent UK human rights bill to force authorities to allow them to chose the sex of their next child.

Alan and Louise Masterton, who have four boys, say that they have psychologists reports claiming that they have a need for a female dimension to the family following the death of their only daughter, Nicole. They were bombarded with suggestions that he and his wife were trying t …


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