First, a couple of self-referential issues. We have changed our commenting software to Disqus, a popular and robust add-on which is used on many big websites. It works much the same as the old system, but is easier for the moderators. The transition was relatively smooth, but I fear that a couple of comments might have been lost. I apologise if they were yours.
We have launched our six-monthly BioEdge appeal for donations. You still have a month left, so don't panic! We do not have a big institutional donor backing us, so please think about it.
As for other matters, our stories this week cover a wide range of topics, from Belgian euthanasia, to doctor-cide in Syria, to animal rights, to prenatal testing for autism.
But one item in my background reading that I found riveting was the blog of Rudy Rupak Acharya, the founder of a leading medical tourism company in California called Planet Hospital. Although he claimed to be a broker for procedures ranging from teeth whitening to hip replacements, surrogacy was a major part of his business.
What appalled me was how crass making babies becomes when profit supplants romance. What's love got to do with it anyway? Here's the raucous, pitchman voice of Rudy:
In Mexico, we have actually managed to make the costs as cheap as India when you take air, hotel, and visas into consideration. I am saddened to see this latest crap circus [a ban on gay surrogacy] come blazing out of the poop shoot of Indian bureaucracy because it ruined the plans of so many people ...
A word to our competitors. Be decent and build your own opportunity but do not try to leach off of us. We have signed exclusives with our clinic already while you were trying to figure out what hit you...
We here at PlanetHospital.com will provide you with the impeccable service that many of our clients praise us for and use our experience to guide you. We will also provide you with options in Mexico, Thailand and Panama. We understand what you need and what you are looking for and it is our pleasure to make it happen stress free, and we will even throw in a free pizza for you ...
I think that Margaret Atwood could make a novel out of Rudy's blog posts without much effort at all. Oh, and by the way, Rudy's company has been forced into involuntary bankruptcy, with an alleged US$1 million owing to his creditors, many of them couples seeking to acquire children. No more free pizzas, guys.
|This week in BioEdge|
by Michael Cook | May 17, 2014The unintended consequence of vigorous campaigns to remind women that their fertility declines with age may be a rise in the number of abortions among...
by Michael Cook | May 16, 2014She gave birth to twins at 60 after IVF treatment.
by Michael Cook | May 16, 2014Calling for the integration of ethics into neuroscience, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues this week released the first of two volumes...
by Michael Cook | May 16, 2014The head of Belgium's euthanasia oversight commission, Dr Wim Distelmans, will lead a study tour of Auschwitz in October.
by Michael Cook | May 16, 2014Increasingly surrogacy services offer rich pickings for con artists.
by Xavier Symons | May 16, 2014Stephen Hawking recently wrote an article warning of the dangers of artificial intelligence. Nobody seemed too concerned.
by Xavier Symons | May 16, 2014A new animal rights advertisement has sparked controversy in Germany. It vilifies an animal physiology researcher from the University of Bremen, and calls upon the...
by Xavier Symons | May 16, 2014Leading researcher Simon Baron-Cohen believes that significant obstacles, both scientific and ethical, remain before we can undertake prenatal testing for autism.
by Xavier Symons | May 16, 2014The Syrian government has been systematically targeting medical personnel, according to a damning new report.
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