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Human reproductive technology

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Reproductive Technologies and Ethical Issues.

Introduction:
Reproduction has always been among the most significant of human activities, and it will no doubt continue to be so. However, having children has certainly been filled with different meanings throughout different cultures and historical times. With In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), infertile couples are able to produce a disease and illness free baby who otherwise would not have been able to. However this technology creates many implications to the meaning of reproduction.

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This raises issues in research into further reproductive technology as well as other ethical issues. IVF is the process where a female’s gamete is fertilised by a male’s gamete outside of the body. This process involves monitoring a woman’s ovulatory process, removing ovum/ova from the woman’s ovaries and letting or injecting sperm to fertilise them inside the laboratory. Providing that this is done successfully a zygote is formed and is then transferred to the mother’s uterus trusting the establishment of a successful pregnancy.

For IVF to be successful it requires healthy ova, sperm and uterus. [9] There are several reasons for a couple to be infertile. Within male infertility, 90% these are caused by low sperm counts.

The other 10% are caused from a range of conditions including anatomical problems, hormonal imbalances and genetic defects. The infertility in women is defined by not being able to become pregnant or carrying a baby to term. There are a vast variety of medical conditions that causes this infertility; mainly associated with the interference to the fallopian tubes, ovulation, or hormonal complications. [7] [6]

Research and Technology:
This discussion around the ethics of human reproductive technology is due to the research engaged on human reproduction and the ever developing technology. Naturally with the interest of improved humanity, expansions have taken place on the IVF procedure. Further developments in this area have been in (PGD) which screens for healthy cells to eliminate the presence of genetic disorders before implantations within the IVF procedure. A report demonstrating (PDG) in a hereditary illness couple states that: ‘Susan’s family over the years have suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy’ her ‘cousin Alex, died at eighteen, when his lungs gave up, after years of’ day to day struggles.

Testing confirms she is a carrier of the disease. They decide to request to use IVF and PDG to avoid giving birth to an affected child. Successfully nine months later they give birth to a healthy and vigorous baby. However even though this technology can be used to screen for a vast range of diseases it raises ethical issues itself and moreover the use of this technology in other manners. [4] Diseases that only carry in one gender such as X-linked disorders can be prevented through selecting the sex of the baby.[8] With PDG technology parents are able to choose the sex of their children. Research has also made it possible to preselect other even minor traits such as hair and eye colour. This raises ethical issues in regard to who is legally able to access and take advantage of such developments in technology.

Mainly because there are fears that creating life within a lab will become a product and take away the value of life. There are other ways to create a family if IVF is unsuccessful. There is the possibility of generating a baby through egg/sperm donation or even surrogacy. It raises questions of the child’s parents on birth certificates and even nationality if surrogacy has occurred overseas. Such knowledge is the reasoning for laws and regulations involving IVF. According to ART Australia (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) and South Australian Reproductive Technology act (1988) PGD is only available to infertile couples and or couples risking transmission of a genetic defect. It is a criminal offence if these laws are not complied with. [1] [2] [3] [5] Ethics:

IVF and PGD increases the choice a couple may have when preparing for having a family however issues question whether this is morally correct. For some couples, fertilisation issues or genetic disorders prevent the natural process, or expose undetermined risk. However, should this technology be only available to those who have medical impediments to successful fertilisation and carrying a healthy child? Such modifications to the baby as stated above involving the pre-selection of minor traits such as hair and eye colour may appeal to those wishing for a designer baby. This creates the option of choice over chance, and a kind of child parents want to have.

Does this ensure a healthier and happier relationship between child and parents? Another report describes the way in which PGD has been used to determine traits of a baby in unnecessary conditions. Anna and Michael have two girls and are both known to be loving parents. However, they long for a son. Michael’s father and he were especially close, from his early childhood until about a year ago, when he died.

However to Anna the idea of choosing and discarding embryos ‘just doesn’t feel right’. They proceeded with the process and later conceive a young baby boy. However this takes away the role of nature and soon the act of having a baby is a commodity. Traditionally either infertile couples or couples that know they will pass on a severe genetic defect will accept their imperfection and adopt a child instead. There are a large number of homeless children on this earth who do not have a parent(s).[4] Conclusion:

There are pros and cons to all technology in the world however if we continue to use and respect this technology there shouldn’t be an issue with ethics. Technology research is the reason human beings are able to live the lifestyle they do today, perhaps something we take for granted. On the other hand should we be pouring our money into further research into the human reproductive system and not prioritising in other aspects of our life such as sustaining the life and world we already live in.

Bibliography:
1. South Australia Reproductive Technology Act 1988 (An Act to Regulate the Use of Reproductive Technology and Research Involving Experimentation with Human Reproductive Material). 2. Research Involving Human Embryos Act, (2002).

3. Australia Law Reform Commission, Essentially Yours: The Protection of Human Genetic Information in Australia, (2003). 4. Good Parents, Better Babies. 2013. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1757/FULLTEXT01.pdf. [Accessed 08 September 2013]. 5. Genetics & Public Policy Center || Publications & Resources || International Law Search -. 2013. – Genetics & Public Policy Center || Publications & Resources || International Law Search
-. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.dnapolicy.org/policy.international.php?action=detail&laws_id=16. [Accessed 08 September 2013]. 6. Infertility in women | University of Maryland Medical Center. 2013. Infertility in women | University of Maryland Medical Center. [ONLINE] Available at:http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/infertility-in-women. [Accessed 08 September 2013]. 7. Infertility in men | University of Maryland Medical Center. 2013. Infertility in men | University of Maryland Medical Center. [ONLINE] Available at:http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/infertility-in-women. [Accessed 08 September 2013]. 8. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2013.Preimplantation genetic diagnosis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preimplantation_genetic_diagnosis. [Accessed 08 September 2013]. 9. IVF – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2013.Human Reproductive Technology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preimplantation_genetic_diagnosis. [Accessed 08 September 2013].

Cite this Human reproductive technology

Human reproductive technology. (2016, May 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/human-reproductive-technology/

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