NEW! Celebrate? Guess Again… Estimated 30 Million Human Lives Sacrificed for 5 Million ‘Test Tube Babies’
The 'Ovolution' of the Three-Parent Embryo
Extra Embryos? One Family Offers Them on Craigslist
Scientists to Apply for Licence to Fertilise Human Eggs Grown in Lab
Reprogramming and Programming in the Human Embryo and Beyond
Change of Heart — MD Interview: How He Quit IVF
Feminists Join Pro-Lifers in Warning of Cloning Exploiting Women
No Patents for Inventions Involving Destruction of Embryos: EU Court
What is “Eggsploitation”?
Commentary: The Strange World of Assisted Reproductive Technology…
Celebrate? Guess Again… Estimated 30 Million Human Lives Sacrificed for 5 Million ‘Test Tube Babies’
While some doctors are celebrating an estimated 5 million living people created through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART includes IVF and ICSI) since the world’s first ‘test tube baby’, Louise Brown, was born 34 years ago, one prominent critic has slammed the technology for what he says is an unethical treatment of human life and a chimerical solution to women suffering from infertility.
“If 5 million babies have been born as a result of in vitro fertilization, then at least six times that many human lives have been aborted in the earliest and most vulnerable stages of development in the womb,” said Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers in a statement to LifeSiteNews.
Dr. Hilgers, clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine, was referring to the fact that in a typical IVF procedure, many more embryos are created than will ultimately be implanted in the mother’s womb – while the rest are either frozen indefinitely or simply destroyed.
The estimated figure of living humans created through ART was presented at the 28th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), which took place over the weekend in Istanbul, Turkey.
Current data indicates that about 1.5 million ART cycles are performed globally each year, producing about 350,000 babies. These figures indicate that 1.15 million procedures are not effective, resulting in a huge loss of nascent human life. According to the data, the two most active ART countries in the world are the USA, followed by Japan.
Commenting on what the ESHRE calls a “remarkable milestone”, Dr David Adamson, chairman of the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART), told the ESHRE that ART technology has “improved greatly over the years to increase pregnancy rates.”
“The babies are as healthy as those from other infertile patients who conceive spontaneously,” he said.
However, a variety of research published in recent years has painted a different picture.
One recent study titled “Birth defects in children conceived by in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a meta-analysis” concludes that infants conceived by ART, whether through ICSI or IVF, have a “significantly increased risk of birth defects” when compared to infants conceived through natural/spontaneous conception.
So well-established has the link between ART and birth defects and other health problems become that in 2009 the British government’s embryo research authority warned potential parents that children conceived artificially through in vitro fertilization have a thirty percent higher risk of genetic abnormalities.
But supporters of the technology have not been deterred by such findings.
“Five million babies are a clear demonstration that IVF and ICSI are now an essential part of normalised and standardised clinical therapies for the treatment of infertile couples,” said Dr Anna Veiga, Chairman of ESHRE, and Scientific Director, Dexeus University Institute, Barcelona. She added that “many aspects have changed since the early days of IVF, especially the results in terms of babies born, but there is still room for improvement.”
Dr Simon Fishel, Managing Director CARE Fertility, UK, and a member of the Edwards and Steptoe group in Cambridge responsible for the birth of Louise Brown said that the “5 million milestone … justifies all the legal and moral battles, the ethical debates and hard-fought social approval” that has surrounded ART.
Professor André Van Steirteghem, ICSI pioneer, said, “at 5 million babies and counting, I think we can now fairly say that the vast majority of fertility problems – whether of male or female origin – can be successfully and safely treated by IVF or ICSI.”
However, Dr. Hilgers, the creator of NaProTechnology, a natural approach to women’s fertility-care that does not does not involve abortifacient or otherwise ethically problematic methods, told LifeSiteNews that in the U.S., ART has “only served one half of 1% of the infertile women suffering from a myriad of reproductive health anomalies,” adding that the assisted reproductive solutions do not “heal the woman or relieve her of her diseased state in any way.”
NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology), based on thirty years of research into the fertility cycle of women, monitors the occurrence of various hormonal events during a woman’s menstrual cycle. The method works cooperatively with a woman’s procreative and gynecologic systems.
When used to treat infertility alone, NaProTechnology is reportedly 1.5-3 times as successful as IVF in assisting couples to achieve pregnancy – and without the enormous financial cost and adverse emotional and other psychological effects of in vitro fertilization.
“Not only is NaProTechnology more effective in achieving pregnancy, it also gets to the root of the disease problem to cure the illness, not just temporarily cover up symptoms,” said Dr. Hilgers. “For those concerned about the ethics of these artificial technologies, it’s good to know there is an alternative solution.”
Dr. Hilgers is senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine and surgery [Pope Paul VI Institute] and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine
[4 Jul 12, Peter Baklinski, ISTANBUL, Turkey, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lets-celebrate-estimated-30-million-liv
The 'Ovolution' of the Three-Parent Embryo
The United Kingdom presented the rest of the world with Louise Joy Brown in July, 1978, the first test-tube baby. They convened what became known as the Warnock Committee to advise Parliament regarding the new reproductive technologies: "what policies and safeguards should be applied, including consideration of the social, ethical, and legal implications of these developments, and to make recommendations." (Warnock, A Question of Life, 4.)
The Warnock Committee by a slim margin approved a variety of reproductive adventures, including research on the embryo up to day 14 post-fertilization. That was an arbitrary date, chosen to hopefully avoid pain sensation by the embryo. Embryos should only be handled by those licensed to do so; and the supervisory licensing body must be headed by a lay-person, the committee opined. Additionally, no embryo used for research should be implanted.
These recommendations became the basis of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990 (HFE Act), and the licensing body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), came into being in 1991.
A few years later, the UK was in the spotlight again, when "Dolly," the cloned sheep stepped onto the stage. It was time for another committee to react to another advance, and a consultation (asking the public's — or a portion thereof — opinion) was held.
There was concern about the public's reaction to the word "cloning," so the terms used to solicit public opinion were "nuclear replacement technology" and "new techniques which might be developed to treat serious medical conditions." (Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, "Cloning Issues in Reproduction, Science, and Medicine," A Report, December 1998)
Could it be a surprise that the consultation showed people in favor of "nuclear replacement technology"?
The next link in this evolution occurred in November 2006, and involved animal-human hybrids. Two research teams applied to the HFEA for licences "to derive stem cells from human embryos." Citing a shortage of human eggs, the investigators proposed "using animal eggs, from which they had removed almost all the animal genetic material (DNA). These embryos would be a kind of hybrid, known as a cytoplasmic hybrid embryo." (http://www.hfea.gov.uk/519.html) What should the HFEA do? A consultation would help decide matters. A consultation was duly held, from April to July 2007. The results? "The Authority at its September 2007 meeting considered the detailed findings of the consultation and agreed a policy for the licensing of cytoplasmic hybrid research."
So the stage has been set. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) birthed more than Louise Joy Brown and the more than four million babies born through IVF since that time. The evaluating committee approved embryo research for a variety of reasons. Dolly the sheep appeared, and the advent of human cloning was scary. Therefore the language was altered, and nuclear replacement technology was approved. Women did not line up to donate eggs for this enterprise, so the possibility of combining human genomes with animal eggs was conceived. Take the nucleus out of an animal egg, and replace it with a human cell nucleus: voilà! A human-animal hybrid.
Now the next step can occur: take a human egg from one female, and replace its nucleus with the nucleus of a different human female's egg, then fertilize the egg, and transfer it to a uterus. Briefly, the combination is of the donor's egg cytoplasm (with normal mitochondria), the mother's egg nucleus; and the father's sperm. No one is calling this a human-human hybrid. No; it is called hope for those families suffering from mitochondrial-linked diseases.
Mitochondria are like cellular batteries, and they carry their own DNA. They have 37 genes, of which 13 seem currently to be of the most interest. The difficulties associated with mitochondrial diseases are real and varied, afflicting about 100 children per year in the UK. Since mitochondria are only passed down from mother to child, scientists have seized on this idea of replacing the faulty mitochondrial DNA of the mother with the non-affected mitochondrial DNA of an egg donor. The resulting child would have the chromosomes of his/her mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the egg donor. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has, after some study, declared this "ethical."
According to the BBC,
Dr Geoff Watts, who led the inquiry, said: "If further research shows these techniques to be sufficiently safe and effective, we think it would be ethical for families to use them if they wished to, provided they receive an appropriate level of information and support.
Several questions have been raised about the three-parent embryo.
One is, will the egg donor be a parent to the child? According to the HFEA, the answer is, "No." Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, voiced his concerns:
"Just as Frankenstein's creation was produced by sticking together bits from many different bodies, it seems that there is no grotesquerie, no violation of the norms of nature or human culture at which scientists and their bioethical helpers will balk.
"The proposed techniques are both unnecessary, and highly dangerous in the medium term, since they set a precedent for allowing the creation of genetically modified designer babies."
He argued that such techniques would affect many generations and crossed "what is normally considered the most important ethical line in the prevention of a new eugenics" and this was "precisely how slippery slopes get created". (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18393682).
Before this can occur, however, the HFEA will hold a consultation, beginning in September, and will release the results in 2013. At least one news report has outlined the required next steps: "Then the government regulator, the HFEA has to approve the technique and then there would have to be a parliamentary vote to change the law because this kind of technique is currently illegal." (itv) The expected outcome is clear, even if the risks or effects of these experiments are not.
[June, 2012, D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A., Executive Director, The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture, tennesseecbc.org]
Extra Embryos? One Family Offers Them on Craigslist
What do you do when you have created 18 extra IVF embryos and you don’t want to destroy them or give them away to just anyone? You put them on Craigslist of course.
Scientists to Apply for Licence to Fertilise Human Eggs Grown in
[Note: Actually, you don't even need an "egg" to reproduce a new human embryo:
“Any Human Cell – iPS, Direct Programmed, Embryonic, Fetal or Adult – Can Be Genetically Engineered to Asexually Reproduce New Human Embryos for Purposes of Reproduction (‘Infertility’)” (November 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_194cellasexuallyreproduce1.html.
As usual, after “proof of principle” is "proven" with these new “eggs” discussed below, the new human embryos that are formed will be destroyed or frozen – or donated (by whom?)? All sorts of 'really neat things' can be done in IVF/ART “infertility clinics” – like using synthetic biology (“genetic engineering on steroids”) to "design" whatever transhumanists want. — DNI]
Scientists to Apply for Licence to Fertilise Human Eggs Grown in Laboratory
SCOTTISH scientists are set to revolutionise fertility treatment following the development of a new technique that could lead to a reversal of the menopause in older women
[Remainder of article at The Scotsman – April 8, 2012, http://www.scotsman.com/news/scientists-to-apply-for-licence-to-fertilise-human-eggs-grown-in-laboratory-1-2222869 ; PFLI PharmFacts E-News Update – 10 Apr 2012]
Reprogramming and Programming in the Human Embryo and Beyond
[Note: “Germ cells” are the human sperm and “eggs”. Research deriving male sperm from female adult skin cells, and deriving female “eggs” from male adult skin cells already done. Hello? Stem cell research is genetic engineering, involving "molecular" and "chromosome" cloning. – DNI]
Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering
Baskin Engineering, U.C. Santa Cruz – as of April 14, 2012
Reprogramming and programming in the human embryo and beyond
Renee Reijo Pera, Director, Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, Stanford University
Monday, June 4, 2012, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: 180 Engineering 2, The Simularium
Hosted By UCSC Training Program in Systems Biology of Stem Cells
The time is approximate as of now.
This is the keynote talk for the UCSC CIRM Scholar Research Review Day. [[CIRM = Drs. Irving Weissman, Michael West, Alan Trounson et al. – DNI]
Renee Reijo Pera focuses on understanding human embryo growth and development, and on characterizing the basic properties of human embryonic stem cells, especially their ability to generate pluripotent stem cells, somatic cells, and germ cells. Her early work resulted in identification of one of the first genes specifically implicated in human germ cell development. Subsequently, her laboratory has established techniques for differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to germ cells and genetic manipulation of the pathways. Reijo Pera is a Stanford University professor. She directs the Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, the Stanford University Doctoral Program in Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, and the Center for Reproductive and Stem Cell Biology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
[PFLI PharmFacts E-News Update – 16 Apr 2012]
Change of Heart
Anthony J. Caruso | 19 April 2012
Dr Anthony J. Caruso is a Chicago doctor who worked in the field of in vitro fertilisation for 15 years before he quit in 2010. We interviewed him by email about the reasons for his change of heart.
Interviewer MercatorNet: You ran a successful IVF practice in Chicago for ten years. Why did you leave?
Anthony Caruso: I was a member of several infertility practices since joining the field in 1995. In 2008 I was increasingly concerned about the kind of procedures we were doing. Initially it was the demands of same-sex couples. Then it was the way in which everybody looked at the embryos that had undergone pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
Finally, it was the realization that the embryos that we were producing were just as important as the embryos that were transferred. I could not change my practice to accommodate the way I was looking at the process. I wish I could say that I had an “Aha!” moment, but I left my last position largely due to financial realities. They needed to pare salaries and I was next to go.
How did your colleagues react?
The reaction came at an officers’ meeting of the Chicago Association of Reproductive Endocrinologists. I was the President-Elect and I resigned at the officers’ meeting because of my religious and ethical positions. To say that my colleagues were disappointed or angry would probably be too strong, but they probably really think that I am insane. I fear that I have lost many friendships that I had over the years.
Is there one event that crystallised your decision to stop?
The reading of a 2008 document from the Vatican, Dignitas Personae, was the first blow. That instruction is written beautifully, and uses all of the current statistics in its analysis.
Bioethically speaking, what distressed you most about the process of IVF?
One of the basic purposes of marriage is blurred with IVF. Children as gifts from God have become desires and pawns in the life process. IVF breaks the very tenet of the principle of double effect. The nature of the act is not good. The good effect is a wanted child. However, that desire does not outweigh the negative nature of the act. One need look no further than the way in which embryos are treated to see this.
Do most people understand the stress that IVF brings with it?
Absolutely NOT. People who are going through IVF largely refuse to seek emotional or psychological support. And people who have not gone through the process do not understand what it entails. Perhaps the most interesting response that I have gotten to the presentations I am giving is from those who did not know exactly what happened during this process. Once they learn, the spectrum goes from rationalization to horror.
“Every child is a wanted child” is a slogan for IVF clinics. But does that mean that children become commodities?
What you see in this statement is the problem. One of the reasons for the delay in my response to your questions was a challenge that I was involved with to an IVF clinic being proposed within one block of a Catholic Church. The first meeting with the city council went well. We were able to make both ethical and practical arguments against the clinic. Once the city council tabled the bill for another meeting, though, you should have seen the number of couples and single people who showed up and showed off their IVF kids!
This is not the issue when it comes to IVF. Every child is a gift from God. However, the process that brought them into existence has led to an attitude towards the embryo that is no different than any other commodity.
If you add pre-implantation diagnosis into the equation, then you really have a situation that is no different than an auto dealership or a department store. “I will take two of these and then freeze these and toss these.” The very people who are showing off their beautiful children will not answer questions about how many frozen embryos are still present or how many they asked to be destroyed.
Also, I doubt that anyone has ever thought how they might describe these
things to their children — the fate of their siblings — because they are not seen as such. They are seen as simply a means to an end.
Is selective reduction a common feature of IVF?
Selective reduction [editor’s note: aborting some foetuses in a multiple pregnancy to allow others to grow] is a feature of every IVF consent. Fortunately, it was the rarest discussion I ever had with a couple. However, it is an issue that is slowly growing in popularity. The New York Times recently reported that couples are reducing twins and triplets to singletons. Since the Octomom fiasco, the number of high order pregnancies has dropped as they try to stay more faithfully with the guidelines published by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
What happens if a couple learns that a child will not be “perfect”?
There is a spectrum here as well. While many will continue to love their child no matter what, there is a true desire to quickly determine the health of the child, so that, if somehow effective, the option of termination is still viable. What we know now about the possibilities of pre-implantation diagnosis may further change that, with the focus being on the “perfect” genetic child.
Will having an IVF child bring happiness to a couple who have been longing for children?
Hard to answer. Children can salve much unhappiness. Remember, though, couples that go through IVF are approaching the procedure with a mindset of “I want this baby, I need this baby.” One can only surmise what possibilities exist down the road. But, at least on discharge, they seem happy.
What effect does the process of IVF have on women?
The data is slowly coming in. Certainly, it is well-known that there are dangers in over-stimulating a woman’s ovaries. Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome can be severe, especially in the environment of a pregnancy. Though the other immediate risks are very small, there is a risk of bleeding, injury to the intestines and infection.
There is also a risk of blood clots and their sequelae. The long-term effects are now slowly coming into focus. Remember, the first IVF pregnancy was in 1978, but the first IVF pregnancy from a stimulated ovary was in 1981. That was only 30 years ago and the women going through that procedure are largely just entering the age of chronic disease. One study from the Netherlands suggests that 15 years after an IVF pregnancy, there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer. While there are no controlled trials, many reproductive endocrinologists anecdotally describe women who present with breast tumours after IVF stimulation.
The websites of IVF clinics feature joyful stories about couples who are finally cuddling their bundle of joy. But are there features of IVF practice which are kept from the public?
Of course, that is the focus that keeps the public happy. Babies are happy things! But most people only know that part of it. They don’t know anything about the drugs and the process that leads to the babies. And we don’t discuss it openly because if we did, I think more of us would be against it.
Doing IVF is certainly an accomplished technical feat. But is it really medicine if it doesn’t cure infertility? Has it become more a business than medicine?
IVF does not cure infertility. It bypasses the barriers to natural fertility. As such, it is really a business. Just think about the number of clinics that offer cash-back programs. They guarantee that if the couple does not conceive within a certain number of cycles, they will get some or all of their money back. Where is the “medicine” in that?
What do you advise infertile couples to do now?
I encourage people who are having challenges to conception to have faith and ask God for help. There are several clinics in the United States that do offer more natural options. Of course, my own dream is to open a clinic in Chicago that provides care for these couples in line with the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care. But that is in God’s time and in the hands of the people we are asking to support it.
You participated in an amicus curiae brief recently to the US Supreme Court which warned that “IVF poses an array of serious dangers to women, children, medicine,and society at large”. How is IVF a threat to society? What about the future?
I think I have answered that above. But let me use the words of Dr Robert Edwards, Nobel laureate and laboratory director of the laboratory which “created” the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. He stated in a 2003 interview with the London Times marking the 25th anniversary of that birth:
“I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory – it was us! The Pope looked totally stupid. You can never ban anything. You can say, ‘hang on a minute’. But never say ‘never’, and never say that this is the worst decision for humankind, otherwise you can look a fool. Now there as many Roman Catholics coming for treatment as Protestants.”
He also said in this very enlightening interview that the IVF process was not designed to make couples happy. “It was a fantastic achievement”, he conceded modestly, “but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception.”
In other words, it was the next step to be taken, the next obstacle to be overcome on the road ahead to the Brave New World which technology will bring us. Now, as this ageing scientist looks to the future, he is all in favour of cloning. With regard to pre-natal sex selection (whereby parents would be allowed to abort babies of unwanted gender) he says, “go ahead and use it. Those parents have to raise those children. Why should a politician tell me what I can and can’t do?”
And Dr Peter Brinsden, Edwards’ successor at the Cambridgeshire clinic he founded, predicts that “in 50 years assisted conception will have almost become the norm. This is because screening techniques will have improved to such an extent that parents can make their children free of even minor defects.”
I doubt if many in the field have seen these quotes, and the article itself is difficult to get (I have it through a secondary source). But after meeting Dr Edwards, which I did a few years ago when the University of Chicago conferred on him one of its highest honours, I can believe all of it.
This is a good summary of the problem with IVF and its potential impact on the society at large.
And we haven’t even scratched the surface. We haven’t talked about the donor gametes and the possibilities of progeny to meet somewhere, or more immediately, the effects on the donors themselves, particularly the oocyte donors.
[19 Apr 2012, Dr. Anthony J. Caruso interview; publ. 21Apr, MercatorNet / BioEdge; N Valko RN, 21 Apr 12]
Feminists Join Pro-Lifers Warning of Cloning Exploiting Women
There is a dirty little secret behind cloning to obtain stem cells that no supporter ever wants to talk about. If they do even acknowledge the secret it is quickly dismissed as a non-issue.
In reality, this secret is a rallying cry against cloning research for BOTH sides of the embryonic stem cell debates. Which is probably exactly why supporters of therapeutic cloning (cloning to produce stem cells) refuse to bring it to light.
The secret is this: somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT,) better known as cloning, requires an enormous amount of eggs. Human eggs, retrieved from yo
ung human females. Your niece, your daughter, your granddaughter. And the procedure to get these eggs necessary for cloning is no walk in the park.
To retrieve the enormous amount of eggs needed for SCNT, many women have to undergo a difficult and dangerous procedure.
First they are injected with drugs that stimulate their ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This is called ovarian hyperstimulation. The women then undergo surgery to retrieve the eggs produced.
Depending on which drugs are used, as many as 10% of women will experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a serious complication that includes enlargement of the ovaries and can cause permanent infertility and even death.
OHSS may also cause blood clotting disorders and kidney damage. Women who have undergone ovarian hyperstimulation may have increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The horror stories of the medical problems experienced by women who donated their eggs are numerous. (Three are documented in the following video from the film Eggsploitation.)
So support for cloning research is a de facto support for putting young women’s health and lives at risk. This is the reality that supporters of cloning for stem cells don’t want you to know.
But some feminists are speaking out. They realize that simply pursing this research puts vulnerable women at risk and if it is successful it will create an even more intense market for human eggs. Three “pro-choice” feminists have written a letter to the editors of Nature in response to an article on cloning research.
Here is the letter in its entirety:
The demand for women’s eggs for research could soar alarmingly following news of a cloning technique that uses human oocytes to reprogram somatic cells to a state of pluripotency (S. Noggle et al. Nature 478, 70–75; 2011).
The mean number of eggs given by each woman during the study was 16.9, with one donating 26 eggs. This is more than many fertility doctors would consider optimal and increases the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The researchers do not say that they halted hormone treatment in cases of over-response, although they did stop it in under-responsive women.
Noggle et al. rightly anticipated concerns that payment for eggs could encourage financially disadvantaged women to take risks they might otherwise avoid. But US$8,000, the amount paid by Noggle and colleagues, would be a temptation even to the well-off in these difficult economic times.
Some argue that women should evaluate for themselves the risks and benefits of providing eggs for research. But informed consent depends on provision of accurate information. Even after years of egg harvesting for fertility treatment, the risks to women — especially from some of the drugs and hormones used — remain undercharacterized and poorly assessed, with inadequate follow-up and data collection.
Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, California, USA; Susan Berke Fogel, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, Van Nuys, California, USA; Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies Ourselves, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
[Rebecca Taylor | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 12/6/11, http://www.lifenews.com/2011/12/06/feminists-join-pro-lifers-warning-of-cloning-exploiting-women/]
No Patents for Inventions Involving Destruction of Embryos: EU Court
Pro-life leaders are hailing a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union released today [18 Oct 11] on the status of the human embryo.
In the important and closely-monitored judgment, the Court of Luxembourg has decided that an invention is excluded from being patented where the process requires either the prior destruction of human embryos or their use as a base material.
The case originally concerns a patent held by Oliver Brüstle since 1997, in relation to a process using embryonic stem cells in order to treat neurological diseases. The German Federal Court of Justice, hearing the case introduced by Greenpeace against Brüstle’s patent, referred the question to the Court of Justice concerning the interpretation of the “human embryo” mentioned in an EU directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions.
According to the directive, an invention is excluded from patentability when it “requires the prior destruction of human embryos or their use as base material, whatever the stage at which that takes.”
The question in the Brüstle case was whether the exclusion from patentability of the human embryo expressed in the Directive covers all stages of life from fertilisation of the ovum or whether other conditions must be met, for example that a certain stage of development must be reached.
Join a Facebook page to end abortion here.
In response to this question, the Court has decided that the Directive covers all stages of life. It provides a comprehensive definition for the human embryo, as an organism “capable of commencing the process of development of a human being” whether they are the result of fecundation, or the product of cloning.
Therefore, for the Court, “a non-fertilised human ovum into which the cell nucleus from a mature human cell has been transplanted and a non-fertilised human ovum whose division and further development have been stimulated by parthenogenesis must also be classified as a ‘human embryo’.”
The pro-life European Centre for Law and Justice has welcomed the decision. “The proper protection of the human embryo requires that the human embryo is given a broad definition. This decision protects life and the human dignity at all stage of its early development,” said ECLJ Director Gregor Puppinck.
“One of its consequences will be to promote the more ethical fields of researches, mainly the research on adult stem cells. Financially, the research on embryos and embryonic stem cells will be less attractive without the ability to get patents in Europe.”
[18 Oct 2011, Westen, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/no-patents-for-inventions-involving-destruction-of-embryos-eu-court?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=45b98bd32f-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines10_18_2011&utm_medium=email]
What is “Eggsploitation”?
The infertility industry in the United States has grown to a multi-billion dollar business.
What is its main commodity? Human eggs.
ng women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.”
But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health? The answers to these questions will disturb you . . .
The producer, writer and director of the film Eggsploitation, Jennifer Lahl, talked on a webcast about this topic, why pro-lifers should care, and what you can do about it!
Listen to the replay of the 5 October Webcast here:
Eggsploitation is a film which spotlights the booming business of human eggs told through the tragic and revealing stories of real women who became involved and whose lives have been changed forever.
Executive Producer, Director, and Writer Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, hospital administrator, and senior-level nursing management with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s’ writings have appeared in various publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBC, PBS, and NPR, and called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address egg trafficking. She serves on the North American Editorial Board for Ethics and Medicine and the Board of Reference for Joni Eareckson Tada’s Institute on Disability. In 2009, Lahl was associate producer of the documentary film, Lines That Divide: The Great Stem Cell Debate, which was an official selection in the 2010 California Independent Film Festival. She made her writing and directing debut, producing the documentary film, Eggsploitation, which has sold in over 10 countries and is showing all over the U.S., since its August 2010 release.
Commentary: The Strange World of Assisted Reproductive Technology
So here’s the thing. If you’re looking for something to follow that’s strange, weird, and fascinating, forget reality TV or any other fiction.
Just look into the largely unregulated world of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).