Imagine you're a judge at a Supreme Court and the following case arises at court: a baby is born through surrogacy and under the terms of a contract the surrogate mother has agreed to surrender her parental rights to the couple who's baby it was to be. However, this mother has 'conceived' (pun intended) a strong attachment to the baby over the term of her pregnancy. The surrogate mother is distraught and refuses to give up the child she believes to be her own, post-birth. As the judge, what would you do? What evidence would you present for your judgement? What difference would different types of surrogacy make on the outcome? What factors would you consider?
There is a boundless list of questions one could continue asking, and this series of blogs, on Bioethics: Law and Reproductive Technologies, therefore aims to help you come up with all the answers in no time!
What you just read above (if you haven't already clicked off with boredom haha) was just one of the gazillion unique cases that could come up in court. For all my fellow high schoolers interested in the fields of law or medicine, trust me, this series is going to be more than captivating! And for all my other readers, though this may not seem too interesting to many at first, give it a chance, because it will tackle a series of legal and medical concerns that will be relevant to most of you in the future when you grow up and may plan to have kids, and some of you might develop a liking for it in time. And for all the veterans who have made it past the stages of school and/or college, this will hopefully be an opportunity for you to gain some extra stimulating knowledge. Remember: you can't dislike something you've never tried!
Now here's a little bit about Bioethics... In the last two decades, the term "bioethics" has been used to denote a study of how medical and scientific decisions affect our health, life, society, and environment. Bioethics is concerned with essential human values such as the right to life and health, as well as the rightness or wrongness of particular developments in healthcare institutions, life technology, and medicine. Should humans be cloned? What are our thoughts on the impending genetic revolution? How much influence over how and when we die should we have? When does medical treatment become medical augmentation, and do we need to be concerned? Is health-care rationing beneficial, harmful, or required — or all of the above? These are some of the more prominent questions whose answers stem from deep within the roots of bioethics.
To summarise, bioethics deals with the fundamental moral dilemmas that occur in medicine, health, and biotechnology. Some are as old as life itself: disease vulnerability, and the reality of death. Some are brand new, as a result of the dizzying speed of technological change that threatens to shake our core beliefs of human nature and our place in the world. And often they have something to do with racial and gender equality, or policies that have an impact on the world's most vulnerable populations.
As our ever-developing world rapidly progresses, so does the number of ethical concerns along with it. With more and more newer medical (and more relevantly reproductive) technologies appearing in our society, more responsibilities lie in the hands of today's lawmakers. And as time's irreversible river flows onward, it will soon be our generation's (Gen Z's) turn to take a hold of those reins. And we most definitely will have a lot more work to do, as technological evolution shows no sign of slowing down. So what better time to start learning the basics than right now!
Over the past 6 months or so I have been taking an online course on Bioethics and have been truly fascinated ever since. I felt that my blog would be a great platform for me to share, with all of you, the knowledge I gained through the course and hopefully spread my passion for the subject. The aim for this series is not to teach you, but rather to share with you all the information I have procured in a way that is as easy to absorb as possible. Hope you stick around!
Part 1 will be out soon...
“No, I'm the human here. I'm the life at stake. I'm the one with fingernails, who feels pain. Me.” ― Alicen Grey