Disputes between separated couples over whether frozen embryos can be used in an attempt to create a child create a moral dilemma for public policy. When a couple create embryos intending to parent any resulting children, New Zealand’s current policy requires the consent of both people at every stage of the ART process. New Zealand’s Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology has proposed a policy change that would give ex-partners involved in an embryo dispute twelve months to come to an (...) agreement before the embryos are destroyed. New Zealand’s current policy and the proposed policy both favour the person who wishes to avoid procreation. Two alternative policy approaches that do not favour procreative avoidance are considered. Using pre-fertilisation contracts to determine the decision reached in embryo disputes allows the couple’s wishes at the time the embryos are created to determine what happens to the embryos if they separate. However, pre-fertilisation contracts are agreements about healthcare and personal relationships, and changing circumstances can make enforcing such agreements unjust. Finally, it is argued that New Zealand’s Family Court system should be used to reach decisions that balance the interests of those involved in the dispute. (shrink)
Reproductive ageing has effects on individual and public health, now and in generations to come. This volume of presentations from a conference at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists brings together a diverse but timely set of contributions.. in ny chapter I specifically examine the responsibilities of the College to women outside normal reproductive age.
A ‘should’ question normally signals work for an ethicist but this ethicist’s task is complicated by the normative dimension of all the chapters in this volume. Each author was asked to come up with three recommendations from their own subject area – ’should’ statements deriving from the ‘is’ analysis that they present. If those prescriptions cover the relevant topics, what more is there for an ethicist to do? I have had a personal interest in obstetricians’ relationship with ‘older women’ since (...) being classified as an ‘elderly primigravida’ at the superannuated age of 26 years. Apart from that, however, what original contribution can I make? The convenors of the 56th RCOG Study Group gave me plentiful suggestions – perhaps a little too plentiful: How should the RCOG approach its constituencies, medical ethics, regulation and its relationship to government and the rest of the medical profession, i.e. the NHS and the market, vested interests, individuals or consumers, families, the unborn, doctors, drug companies, surrogacy, the unborn, trafficking, global adoption, law, research? I have to admit this was just too much for me. Instead, I want to argue for what may seem a self-evidently simple point. The RCOG describes its mission as ‘setting standards to improve women’s health’ – presumably all women. In the 6 years that I have served on the RCOG Ethics Committee, however, we have almost always been concerned with that minority of the female population who are of reproductive age. (shrink)
Konrad Lorenz's popularity in the United States has to be understood in the context of social concern about the mother‐infant dyad after World War II. Child analysts David Levy, René Spitz, Margarethe Ribble, Therese Benedek, and John Bowlby argued that many psychopathologies were caused by a disruption in the mother‐infant bond. Lorenz extended his work on imprinting to humans and argued that maternal care was also instinctual. The conjunction of psychoanalysis and ethology helped shore up the view that the mother‐child (...) dyad rests on an instinctual basis and is the cradle of personality formation. Amidst the Cold War emphasis on rebuilding an emotionally sound society, these views received widespread attention. Thus Lorenz built on the social relevance of psychoanalysis, while analysts gained legitimacy by drawing on the scientific authority of biology. Lorenz's work was central in a rising discourse that blamed the mother for emotional degeneration and helped him recast his eugenic fears in a socially acceptable way. -/- . (shrink)