• Embryos & Stem Cells •
May 10, 2006
Controversy over issues of contraception, birth control, and reproductive technologies continues to build, even as new technologies and issues quickly appear. Questions of human reproduction inevitably define what it means to be human, and the moral issues which arise in connection with sex and reproduction are among the most divisive controversies of our time. By request, here is Dr. Mohler's analysis of in vitro fertilization technologies [IVF], based in a Christian worldview framework. Part One appears today, and Part Two will appear Friday.
March 14, 2006
According to official sources, Britain now counts 117,619 frozen human embryos in storage. As of 2003, U.S. sources counted over 400,000 human embryos then in frozen storage. By now, the count is sure to be much higher. What does this say about our understanding of human nature and human dignity?
February 1, 2006
The Brave New World we now experience is filled with a myriad of moral dilemmas–and none demands more urgent attention than those related to human reproduction and the massive technological advances that are related to human fertility and babies.
January 13, 2006
From The Telegraph [London]: Hybrid rabbit-human embryos could be created in a plan under discussion by scientists and the fertility watchdog as a result of the Korean stem cell scandal. The team had intended to use human eggs to clone embryos in its efforts to create human stem cells for research on motor neurone disease, which kills 1,000 people a year in Britain.
But the scientists, including Prof Ian Wilmut, who led the effort to clone Dolly the sheep, have been forced to think about alternatives as a result of the furore triggered by the falsification of stem cell data in South Korea.
More: The use of cybrids and chimeras is “a grey area” in terms of current regulations, which are under review, said Prof Alison Murdoch, of the International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, one of the team that cloned the first human embryo in the West.
This is a very troubling development, risking the mixing of human and rabbit genetic materials. Are we not courting disaster with this kind of technology?
Nancy L. Jones of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity offers insight into the basic issues involved with chimeras in “Could Animal-Human Chimeras Be On the Way?,” available at the center’s Web site.
Her conclusion: What principles may Christians invoke to guide them in formulating a response to the possibility of such animal-human chimeras? Some concern should certainly be expressed for the experimental animal’s suffering; however, Christians do believe that they have been given stewardship over animals and are permitted to use them to benefit humanity. Another concern would be zoonotic transmission of disease, which occurs when pathogens cross the traditional species barriers of disease transmission. When human and animal tissues are intertwined so closely, potential mutations of once species-specific pathogens may gain a unique ability to infect organisms of other species. A more fundamental Christian concern involves violation of the divinely created order. The Bible tells us that God designed procreation so that plants, animals, and humans always reproduce after their own kind or seed. (Gen 1:11-12, 21) In the biblical view, then, species integrity is defined by God, rather than by arbitrary or evolutionary forces. The fusion of animal-human genomes runs counter to the sacredness of human life and man created in the image of God.
The creation of animal-human chimeras as a means of deriving human tissue and organs highlights the deeper issues facing our generation: the new biological genomic revolution and the resultant power that may permit scientists to redesign various species and biological life. We must not allow such an ability to outstrip the ethical analysis that must accompany it.
January 10, 2006
December 23, 2005
Bioethicist Nigel M. de S. Cameron points to a significance of the incarnation that may be missed by many — what he calls “the bioethics of Bethlehem.”
December 20, 2005
Just a few weeks ago, South Korean scientist Woo-Suk Hwang was at the top of the scientific world — the focus of global attention. Now, all that has changed.
November 2, 2005
Doctors at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine are set to begin a “sex selection” study that will allow parents to choose the gender of their baby. Up to 200 couples are to be given the opportunity to choose either a male or female embryo to be placed in the woman’s uterus after in vitro fertilization.
October 19, 2005
From The Independent [London]: Britons desperate to halt the ageing process are being injected with the stem cells of aborted foetuses at a clinic that charges £15,000 for a controversial new cosmetic treatment. Despite warnings from biologists in the UK that the process is unproven and could be harmful, dozens of British women have flown to Barbados in the hope that the injections will make them forever young – and possibly even boost their sex drive.
October 17, 2005
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has vetoed a bill that would have expanded that state’s medical conscience clause to allow medical professionals to “opt out” of participating in certain medical procedures such as removing a patient’s feeding tube or using technologies that involve the destruction of a human embryo.