Fertility Industry Is Booming, But With It Comes Tricky Ethical, Legal Questions
It's an era where people can have a checklist for their perfect baby, and companies can charge high prices to give them just that. But despite the ethical and legal morass the promise of all that brings, the industry remains largely self-regulated.
The Washington Post:
Discounts, Guarantees And The Search For ‘Good’ Genes: The Booming Fertility Business
When Julie Schlomer got the news that she was finally pregnant at the age of 43, her thoughts turned to the other mothers. There were three of them in all, complete strangers, but they shared an extraordinary bond made possible by 21st-century medicine and marketing. They were all carrying half-siblings. Under a cost-saving program offered by Rockville-based Shady Grove Fertility, the women split 21 eggs harvested from a single donor — blue-eyed, dark-haired, with a master’s degree in teaching. Each had the eggs fertilized with her partner’s sperm and transferred to her womb. (Cha, 10/21)
Genetic Testing Of Embryos Is Creating An Ethical Morass
The issue also pokes at a broader puzzle ethicists and experts are trying to reckon with as genetic testing moves out of the lab and further into the hands of consumers. People have access to more information about their own genes — or, in this case, about the genes of their potential offspring — than ever before. But having that information doesn’t necessarily mean it can be used to inform real-life decisions. A test can tell prospective parents that their embryo has an abnormal number of chromosomes in its cells, for example, but it cannot tell them what kind of developmental delays their child might have, or whether transferring that embryo into a womb will lead to a pregnancy at all. Families and physicians are gazing into five-day-old cells like crystal balls, seeking enlightenment about what might happen over a lifetime. Plus, the tests can be wrong. (Joseph, 10/23)