Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Designer Babies

Only this Wednesday I was blogging about the sale of human eggs and Murdo Macdonald, Policy Officer of the Society, Religion and technology project passed on to me information about the open market conditions in the USA for the purchase of eggs from young women with high academic achievements. This situation is different from that of women from developing countries who chose to sell their eggs possibly to alleviate conditions of poverty and deprivation. It is not that I am against the commerce and profit making of valuable commodities. Commercial activities are good for people and for the economy.

Human tissue is one of the most valuable commodities, and it is legally for sale in some countries in the world. However, the availability of human parts in an open “fertility supermarket” presents a number of ethical problems. It is legitimate to ask, why might it be ethically wrong for a woman to consciously decide to sell parts of her body? Nobody would object to the selling of her hair, why object to the selling of her eggs? Hair and human eggs are not essential for survival and most women have plenty of them. However, eggs are not the same as hair. The eggs are unique life-giving bodily parts. They are not interchangeable and each one carries distinctive personal family traits. From a Christian perspective the uniqueness of each human being is deserving of our complete respect, and we should beware that commercialisation of human eggs is becoming commonplace. Legal does not always equate with wise, and some matters are more than a matter of supply and demand.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog reminds me of Richard Titmuss' study on blood donor systems in various parts of the world: 'The Gift Relationship'. he underlines the importance of voluntary giving in strengthening social and cultural bonds, giving opportunities for generosity, 'taking part in the creation of a greater good transcending the good of self-love'. He says social policy should be encouraging and facilitating gift relationships - if you accept that 'man has a social and biological need to help.' I think much of his findings are relevant in the sale of human eggs issue.


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