In Western countries, a social trend toward delaying childbearing has been observed in women of reproductive age for the last two decades. This delay is due to different factors related to lifestyle, such as the development of a professional career or the absence of the right partner. As a consequence, women who defer childbearing may find themselves affected by age-related infertility when they decide to conceive. Fertility preservation techniques are, therefore, proposed as a solution for these women. Among all possible (...) solutions, social freezing is an alternative strongly discussed from a scientific, social and ethical point of view.A survey among 930 female students at the University of Padova (Italy) investigated their knowledge and attitudes on social egg freezing and their potential intentions regarding this procedure. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the level of awareness of age-related infertility in Italian young women and their attitudes regarding acceptable indications for elective oocyte freezing, their potential personal use, the circumstances in which they would then decide to use cryopreserved eggs, and their attitudes towards cost coverage and oocyte donation.Data collected in this study revealed some important points about young women and their knowledge about social oocyte freezing in Italy as compared to other European countries and the United States.Overall, 34.3% of the students reported having heard about the possibility of oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical reasons and being aware of the meaning of this procedure; only 19.5% were in favour of social egg freezing and 48.4% thought that the cost for this procedure should be borne entirely by the woman herself. Regarding egg donation, the majority of students (64.9%) would not accept donating their eggs to a known woman or couple and 42.5% would instead accept donating to a biobank.Our study shows that young Italian women are significantly less aware of age-related decline in fertility and the possibility of using social egg freezing compared to their similarly situated counterparts in other Western countries. (shrink)
The tissue biobanking of specific biological residual materials, which constitutes a useful resource for medical/scientific research, has raised some ethical issues, such as the need to define which kind of consent is applicable for biological residual materials biobanks.
Biobanks are an important resource for medical research. Genetic research on biological material from minors can yield valuable information that can improve our understanding of genetic–environmental interactions and the genesis and development of early onset genetic disorders. The major ethical concerns relating to biobanks concern consent, privacy, confidentiality, commercialisation, and the right to know or not to know. However, research on paediatric data raises specific governance and ethical questions with regard to consent and privacy. We have considered the Italian normative (...) context focusing on what is mentioned in each document on the ethical and legal requirements that guarantee the rights of minors. We found out that there is no systematic reflection on the ethical and policy issues arising from the participation of minors in biobank research. Moreover, we have focused on the same aspects for the new Italian Law on the National Forensic Biobank. (shrink)
We refer to hospitalized convicted hunger strikers in Padua Hospital who decided to fast for specific reasons, often demanding, to be heard by the judge, to complain about the existing custodial situation or to claim unjust treatment. The medical ethics of hunger strikers are debated because the use of force feeding by physicians is widely condemned as unethical, but courts, in Italy, sometimes order to transfer the convicted person to hospital and oblige healthcare practitioners to perform forcible feeding. This can (...) engender a profound insecurity for the physicians taking action on the one hand, while preventing patients from fully availing themselves of this principle of self-determination on the other. Physicians are mainly concerned about how to manage this situation and they may request ethical consultation. When it comes to managing hospitalized hunger strikers, the ethics consultant may be able to facilitate the relationship between physicians and hunger strikers, enhance the latter’s trust in the former, ensuring that strikers are aware of the risks associated with their fasting, and helping them to arrive of their own free will at the right decision concerning their behavior and their demands. (shrink)
The topic of enhancement has become a booming sector in ethics in the last decade, and with this broad and detailed overview of arguments in favor and against biomedical enhancement, Allen Buchanan provides an authoritative and detailed insight into the central issues of this topic.As defined by Buchanan in the first chapter of this book, “a biomedical enhancement uses biotechnology to cause an improvement of an existing capacity by acting directly on the body (including the brain)” (p. 5). It is (...) an intensely discussed topic in bioethics. Issues at stake in the debate are the moral definition of what is part of human nature and what is not, the autonomy of potential users, equality in the distribution of resources, the safety of biomedical enhancement, and possible benefit for the whole society.In this small but effective volume the Author analyzes all these issues from a perspective of legitimacy, both as an individual and as a society. The book is aimed at a wide audience, beyond pro .. (shrink)