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The Social and Ethical Implications of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Powerful Essays
The Social and Ethical Implications of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Test tube babies have long been stigmatized by society as the unnatural results of scientific dabbling. The words `test tube baby' have been used by school children as an insult, and many adults have seen an artificial means of giving birth as something perhaps only necessary for a lesbian woman, or a luxury item only available to the elite few. The reality is that assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have been helping infertile couples have children since 1978.1 The methods of in vitro fertilization, it's variants, and the other ART procedures are ways for persons that would otherwise have no hope of conception to conceive and, in a rapidly growing percentage of cases, give birth to healthy babies. As the technology has developed, the quality and range of assistance has developed as well. At present, the means of assisted reproduction and the capabilities of these procedures has grown at a somewhat dizzying pace. However, thought to the repercussions of the applications of ART are being disregarded to some extent while the public's knowledge and the understanding of embryologists and geneticists surges forward. It is possible given consideration to things such as the morality of these techniques, the unexplored alternative uses of these procedures, and the potential impact they posses that further development is unnecessary and possibly dangerous.

As of 1995, 20,000 babies had been born as a result of ART treatments.2 Since then, many women and couples have sought the services of IVF clinics all over the world with hopes of the miracle of conception. These people are usually ones who suffer from some sort of condition that renders them inferti...

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... available today, his goal would have been easily attainable through the technology that is presently seen as giving hope to millions of couples who seek simply to exercise their right to raise a child. Is the development if such technology ethical? Is the possibility that it could do greater harm than good enough to terminate the development of such technology? These questions are most likely too much to answer, given what is known and understood about genetic engineering, assisted reproduction, and DNA cloning. But perhaps the best answer is to say that before things are taken any further, we stop to look at what we have, attempt to understand and evaluate those things, and determine whether it is truly necessary to make advances in the technology. Perhaps we are at a point where the most important thing is slow down the pace of change before it gets away form us.
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