domingo, 2 de octubre de 2016

BioEdge: Towards ethical standards in surrogacy

BioEdge: Towards ethical standards in surrogacy


Towards ethical standards in surrogacy
Surrogate mother and clients of Men Having Babies   
Surrogacy agencies are often accused of being unethical, but some do try set down ethical standards for their work. The American company Men Having Babies has posted a long statement of its ethical standards and aspirations on its website. Here are some of the principles:

  • Surrogacy should be legal everywhere for infertile couples
  • Contracts should be legally enforceable
  • It should be possible to “seamlessly terminate any parental rights and obligations of donors and surrogates”
  • Prospective parents should agree to criminal background checks
  • Compensation should be reasonable. It should not be tied to outcomes.
  • Surrogates should give informed consent and should have legal representation.
  • “agencies need to ensure that at the very least, the surrogate has the right to see and hold the child she carried after the deliver”
Men Having Babies runs seminars in the United States, Belgium and Israel. A Belgian blogger attended a recent gathering in Brussels. She was skeptical of the ethical framework:

They claimed to be a non-profit organization aiming to provide tools and means for gay men to pursue their right to have a biological family. The fact that their biggest sponsors happened to be those fertility centers and law firms that pitched to the 220 attendees wasn’t considered as a conflict of interest to them …

Strongly advising to use the eggs from another woman than the surrogate, the birth mother is most likely to give up the baby. But also the enforceability of the 50-page contract offers the insurance that you can take the child with you after it is born. The contract even allows payments to be ceased if the surrogate does not comply with the terms of the contract. I also must mention that many contracts have a non-disclosure clause: it prohibits women to speak publicly about any malpractice they endured.

A lot of time and attention went to the reassurance of conceiving an as healthy child as possible. Gender selection is included in this ‘service’. My consternation was huge when a fertility doctor asked the audience who would chose to abort a child with a defect. Most of the hands went in the air. For the record: abortion can also be enforced by contract.
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Yes, the American president is the most powerful man in the world. Yes, he has the launch codes. But there is something unhealthy in the preoccupation of the world’s media with the US presidential campaign at the expense of other world crises.
Donald Trump, who must be the worst major party candidate ever, seems to have incited violence at some of his rallies and has even made vague threats to Hillary Clinton. If you Google “Trump violence”, you will get 82,700,000 results. It’s a live issue, at least in the media.
Google “Duterte violence” and you will get only 971,000 results – about 1% of the figures for Trump. But Mr Duterte has incited thugs, vigilantes and police to kill drug dealers and since he took office on June 30. The Filipino president now has the blood of 3,500 of his own countrymen on his hands. And he is not a buffoon running for President. He is the President.
But it could get worse. This week he cheerfully compared himself to Hitler. “Hitler massacred three million Jews ... there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told a press conference. “You know my victims. I would like (them) to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
The number of murders in July, August and September is more or less equivalent to the number of civilians killed in Syria. Why doesn’t the world care? It’s probably because Duterte’s victims are drug addicts and dealers. Even if they are, they have a right to life and a right to justice. They are human beings; they are not scum.
The world is demanding the removal of Syria’s President Assad because of the atrocities committed by his regime. It’s time that world leaders called for the removal of President Duterte.

Michael Cook

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