The following sources do not necessarily reflect the Center's positions or values. These sources, however, are excellent resources for familiarizing oneself with the all sides of the issue.
Michelle Kirtley, PhD, is the Bioethics and Public Policy Associate at The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity.
This lecture was originally delivered as part of the Spring 2010 Bioethics Colloquia hosted by Trinity Graduate School.
The United States notably has little federal or state regulations pertaining to the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry. This is in contrast to other developed nations, which provide more extensive regulations on the use of ART and in many cases restrict its use for certain ends, such as reproductive cloning. While some of these regulations may not be ideal, they are steps taken to ensure the health and safety of women utilizing ART and the children resulting from these technologies, as well as the ethical use of ART by all participants.
Because we live in a world of constraints, prudence tells us that if we cannot prohibit a social evil entirely, we can limit it through appropriate fences. Building fences around a social evil, as part of a larger strategy to secure justice, precludes what can be prohibited now without admitting the legitimacy of what remains unprohibited. By limiting the harm done or lessening the negative consequences, we do not admit or support the rest of the evil that we do not have the power (legal or political) to touch now.
It was a short news item, buried on page 19 of the April 11, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune, dateline Strasbourg. “Woman loses rights to frozen embryos.” Another predictable story on stem cell research in France? But, this was not a French biotech dispute. Natallie Evans is a British woman who was left infertile after ovarian cancer treatments. Prior to her ovaries being removed, she and Howard Johnston, her fiancé, created embryos via in vitro fertilization, and had them frozen.