Ethics and Reproduction Health Term Paper
The advancements that science has brought in the field of reproductive health have immense benefits to humans in the 21st century. Assisted reproduction is one of the dominant techniques that have assisted many people to resolve issues regarding their reproductive health, which have made them unable to get children normally. However, the use of assisted reproductive techniques faces several challenges that relate to social, ethical, and legal aspects of society. In this view, the term paper examines ethical issues that are associated with assisted reproduction such as surrogacy, multiple pregnancies, abortion, and support of premature infants.
to Surrogate Parenting
As a form of reproduction, surrogacy enables families that have fertility issues to get children. Given that surrogacy entails the use of a fertile woman in conception, pregnancy, and delivery of a baby, it requires consideration of legal and ethical issues. One of the ethical dilemmas that surround surrogacy is whether a surrogate mother has a right to renounce surrogacy and keep the child in cases where she is a biological mother or her right is limited to a signed contract. From one perspective, surrogate mother has the right to conceive and keep her child, just like other women. On the other perspective, the terms of the contract limit the rights of surrogate mother and thus compel her to hand over the child to respective parents who requested surrogacy. Brezina and Zhao (2012) argue that, legal precedent in some states within the United States has actually upheld the right of a birth mother, regardless of the genetic relation to the child, to retain parental rights while negating the effect of the contract (p. 4). Thus, the dilemma exists because surrogacy is vague, as the surrogate mother and contracting parents claim to be genuine parents of a kid.
Another ethical dilemma that surrounds surrogacy is whether it and destroys families or uplifts families as social institutions. When parents are unable to bear children, they depend upon surrogate mothers to bear them. Hence, surrogacy enables parents to procreate and maintain their families. On the other hand, surrogate mothers may perceive surrogacy as an opportunity to commercialize their fertility and ability to bear children, which are acts that degrade human dignity. Chaudhary (2012) asserts that commercialization of surrogacy degrades human dignity because it reduces children to objects of trade, as contracting parents and surrogate mothers put price tags on children. Commercialization of surrogacy is akin to human trafficking, which violates human rights.
Surrogacy redefines family as a social institution that comprises parents and children, who may not have any biological or genetic relationships. In cases where a woman is infertile, the husband fertilizes egg of the surrogate mother, and thus impregnates her. When the child is born, the contracting woman becomes the mother of the child, but she is not a biological mother because the child has the genes of the husband and the surrogate mother. Given that the contracting parents pay surrogate mothers, the practice does not exploit the poor because both the contracting parents and surrogate mothers benefit from the contract. Brezina and Zhao (2012) assert that the basic objective of surrogacy is to enable parents to get children, but exploitation occurs when the rich people utilize surrogacy as a means of getting children. Likewise, exploitation occurs when poor people use surrogacy as a means of getting funds. Thus, if well regulated with legislation and ethics, surrogacy would not be a means of exploiting the poor or the rich, but would be a means of assisting childless parents.
To increase fertility of surrogate mothers, doctors usually prescribe fertility drugs. Moreover, to enhance the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization, doctors place multiple eggs in the womb of surrogate mothers. The placement of eggs in the womb normally results in multiple pregnancies. For the mother to carry and maintain multiple pregnancies throughout the pregnancy period is more risk than a single pregnancy. Normally, the selective abortion of embryos in multiple pregnancies is done to reduce health risks, which increase with the increase in the number of embryos (Brezina & Zhao, 2012). In this view, it is moral to conduct selective abortion to improve the lives of embryos and mothers. Douglas and Savulescu (2009) support the destruction of embryos in the case of multiple pregnancies because it is essential in improving the lives of other embryos, if the parents offer informed consent.
Since society grants the rights to individuals and allows them to use in vitro fertilization as a means of conceiving children, it has a responsibility of ensuring that everyone lives a life that is decent. As society bestows everyone the right to reproduce, it has the responsibility of bearing the consequences of the reproduction rights. Tannsjo (2009) argues that, when we call anything a persons right, we mean that he/she has a valid claim on society to protect him/her in the possession of it (p. 802). In this view, the society has a noble responsibility of helping multiple premature children who have congenital defects and mental retardation because they have their rights, just as their parents chose to obtain them through in vitro fertilization.
Ethical Issues Surrounding Abortion and Support of Premature Infants
Abortion has a number of ethical issues, which have generated debates in legal, religious, political, and medical circles. The dominant ethical issue of abortion is that a fetus is a person, and thus abortion constitutes murder. According to Tannsjo (2009), embryos that are under eight weeks old are not fetuses, and therefore, their destruction does not constitute murder. In this view, proponents of abortion argue that abortion is not similar to murder. Another ethical issue is that it is unethical to compel a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, yet she is not ready to take care of the child or the child has some congenital defects. In this view, abortion is one of the rights of reproduction that women must enjoy, as the rights of the fetus cannot override the rights of the mother. Opponents of abortion further argue that mothers have an obligation to take care of their children from the time of conception. They argue that a child and fetus are helpless humans who depend on their mothers to survive. Hence, a mother should not take the advantage of the vulnerability of the fetus and abort it.
Supporting the lives of is very challenging to the health care system and healthcare providers because infants are very delicate and vulnerable. Premature infants require oxygen and incubators, which mimic the supply of oxygen in the womb and the level of temperature respectively. The challenge is that it is difficult to that mimic the mothers womb. Moreover, premature infants require nutritious food to enhance their growth and supply medications to help them prevent infections. In this view, the healthcare providers find it challenging to support premature infants and enable them to grow as normal infants in wombs.
Assisted reproduction has become a common form of reproduction in developed countries due to the advancement of technology. Currently, infertile parents are able to get their children through the application of assisted reproductive techniques. Surrogacy, which is a form of assisted reproduction, has dilemmas that relate to motherhood, human dignity, and the commercialization of reproduction. Since surrogacy entails in vitro fertilization, selective abortion is necessary to reduce the occurrence of multiple pregnancies. The issue of abortion in reproduction elicits debates because it entails the destruction of a fetus with the consent of the mother. In this view, the rights of the mother and the fetus conflict.