UK for the first time allows genetic manipulation of human embryos

Homunculus-alchemical-creationBy giving permission to a group of researchers to genetically modify human embryos, the United Kingdom has re-affirmed its role as the EU country in which scientists have to comply with the lowest ethical standards. The British government apparently considers low ethics a competitive advantage.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has, for the first time, approved a licence to use gene editing in research. This decision recklessly tears down one of the last ethical barriers for research. From now on, ethics will never again be an obstacle for ambitious researchers, or for the multi-million industry behind them. Continue reading

Identity theft

In Graz (Austria) a woman aged 25 has discovered that she is not who she thought she was. Upon participating in a blood donation program it turned out that she cannot be a descendant of the woman she believed to be her mother. It is now surmised that due to organizational mismanagement in the clinic where she was born she was by accident given to the wrong parents immediately after her birth. The public authorities have now called upon all women who were born during the same week in the same hospital to undergo tests in order to find out the other woman who grew up with the wrong parents.

Tragic as this may be, it was at least not intentional that two women grew up with false identities. However, the outrage over this case makes us wonder why the exactly same situation, i.e. having to grow up with a false identity, should be perfectly acceptable in cases of surrogacy, sperm and egg cell donation, etc., in which reproductive doctors and their clients usually have no qualms at all about bereaving children of their true parents and their true identities.

Only because the adults decide it that way?

Pro-lifers and feminists win, reproductive industry and homo-lobby lose: European Parliament condemns surrogacy

The European Parliament today adopted its Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter tabled by MEP Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, Romania). Paragraph 114 of this report breaks new ground, condemning “the practice of surrogacy, which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity”.

The European Parliament also considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or other gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments. Continue reading

Damage control: ECtHR will re-assess the case Paradiso and Campanelli vs. Italy

Monkey-JudgeOf course we all know that trade in human beings is a very serious crime, not a right. Of course we all know that this also applies to babies that are fabricated in vitro with the use of sperms and ova procured from so-called “donors”, and then carried by so-called “surrogate mothers”. Of course we all know that a couple that purchases a child in that way cannot have a “human right” to keep that child in its custody.

We really do not need a pompous “Human Rights Court” to tell us this, do we?

Tomorrow, 9 December, a Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear the case of Paradiso and Campanelli for a second time, following a request by the Italian government to annul a judgment in which a Chamber of the Court had de facto legalized child trafficking and surrogacy. Even against the backdrop of the Courts steady and persistent decline into judicial activism and moral disorientation, this was certainly one of the most stunning miscarriage of justice we had seen for a number of years. Continue reading

PACE: Debate on surrogacy postponed, rapporteur suspected of bias

The Social Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has postponed sine die the examination of a draft report on surrogacy, following criticism that the rapporteur, Belgian Senator Petra De Sutter may have an interest of her own in the outcome of the debate. Mr? De Sutter, who is a male-to-female transgender person, besides his/her political activities is the head of the obstetrics department in a hospital in Ghent where surrogacy is routinely offered to infertile couples as a means of procuring them a child.

According to the Code of Conduct for Members of the PACE, rapporteurs must not “have any economic, commercial, financial or other interests, on a professional, personal or family level, connected with the subject of the report”.

Poland to legalize in-vitro fertilization?

ivfPoland’s parliament has passed a bill that, if adopted, would set out the conditions for offering in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. This is a key issue on which the government led by Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz wants to deliver in order to attract liberal voters before elections in October.

IVF treatment has been available in Poland for 25 years, but in a legal grey zone. So far the country has not passed any legislation regulating it, remaining the only European Union member not to have done so. Continue reading