“The unexamined life is not worth living.” With these words, Socrates stated the creed of reflective men and women and set the task for ethics: to seek, with the help of reason, a consistent and defensible approach to life and its moral dilemmas (Walters 22). Ethical inquiry is important to us when we are unsure of the direction in which we are heading. “New philosophy calls all in doubt,” wrote John Donne in the wake of the Copernican Revolution and of Charles I’s violent death, suggesting that new thoughts had challenged old practices (Donne). Today, new practices in the biomedical sciences are challenging old thoughts: “New medicine calls all in doubt” (Walters 22).
Few moral convictions are more deeply ingrained than that of the sanctity of life. If plausible once, however, the view that life is a “sacred process” (initiated, sustained, and finally halted by God) is now more difficult to maintain (Baier 1-4). Recent advances in the biomedical sciences allow us to intervene in, and sometimes take control of, the processes of life and death. Not only can death, quite often, be kept waiting by the bed or machine, doctors and scientists can now also intervene in, indeed, initiate the process of life: cloning and recombination of DNA are two examples; in vitro fertilization (IVF) is another (Walters 23).
It is not surprising, then, that in the wake of these revolutionary developments, bioethics is flourishing. Despite the obvious enthusiasm of philosophers to take a stand on many complex moral issues in the biomedical sciences, however, a curious skepticism pervades the enterprise (Walters 23). Take the comments by a dean of an Australian Medical School on the teaching of medical ethics:
Like any other lifelong clinical teacher I have firm views about such topics as euthanasia, continuing severe pain, acceptable and unacceptable risks of various treatments, the appropriate use of life support systems and numerous other matters of this sort which I discuss with my colleagues, assistants, and students but would not wish to teach dogmatically since much depends on the religious and ethical views which they may have and which also must command my respect (“Medical Ethics”).
The paragraph suggests that although ethics is not a matter of dogmatism, it is a matter of personal preference or choice, something one cannot-or should not-ar...
... middle of paper ...
...Baier, K. “The Sanctity of Life,” Journal of Social Philosophy. Vol. 5. April 1974: 1-4.
Donne, John. The First Anniversary.
Dyson, Anthony O. The Ethics of IVF. Mowbrey: 1995.
Fletcher, J. “Anglican Theology and the Ethics of Natural Law,” Christian Social Ethics in a Changing World: An Ecumenical Theological Inquiry. Association Press: New York, 1966.
Flynn, Eileen P. Human Fertilization In Vitro: A Catholic Moral Perspective. University Press of America: 1984.
Gosden, Roger. Designing Babies. W.H. Freeman and Co.: New York, 1999.
Kass, L.R. “Making Babies Revisited,” The Public Interest. Vol. 54. 1979: 32-60.
“Infertility.” Encarta 1998. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation, 1993-1997.
“Medical Ethics.” Editorial. The Medical Journal of Australia 11 June 1977: p. 871.
O’Donovon, Oliver. Begotten or Made? Clarendon Press: 1984.
Ramsey, Paul in Rachels, J. ed. Moral Problems. Harper & Row: New York, 1975.
Santamaria, B.A. “Medics ‘Play God’ With Babes on Ice.” Perth Independent 26 May 1981.
Walters, William and Peter Singer ed. Test-Tube Babies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Warnock, Mary. A Question of Life. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Birth is the only way which will preserve the human species from extinction and for the continuity of life. Although, the pregnancy and birth processes are complex, we need to know them and learn about them because of their importance. In this process the reproductive systems in the male and female are involved. They produce sex cells or gametes: the egg and the sperm. These systems are very essential to make almost identical new embryo cells to the parents, but each one of them differs from the other.... [tags: medical ethics, abortion, in vitro fertilization, ]
1170 words (3.3 pages)
- Can anybody or anything claim to be a god—the supreme entity that governs all moral authority. Since Gregor Mendel first tinkered with plants for genes to the time of great evolutionists like that of Lamarck and Darwin who proposed their individual theories of evolution; there has been much more technological advancement, debate, controversy, and understanding on the “origin” of humans through scientific fields like that of genetics, genetic engineering, etc. There has always been an assumption and belief of a higher power governing the physical world that scientists and metaphysicists cannot answer; however, there has been great insight into how did we come to be.... [tags: ethics, morality, technology, parenthood, IVF]
1603 words (4.6 pages)
- Imagine this, it is a beautiful sunny afternoon so you decide to go for a walk, as you are walking, you see a woman holding the hand of her small daughter, but there seems to be something odd about the child. She’s a miniature version of her mother. You wonder how that could be, how can a child turn out to be just the same as her mother. The simple answer, you have just seen a clone. According to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association, cloning is defined as, “the production of genetically identical organisms via somatic cell nuclear transfer.” This, in simpler terms, means that cloning is the creation of identical organisms by taking the nucleus of an... [tags: in vitro fertilization, god, embryos]
1483 words (4.2 pages)
- The Process and Ethics Involving In Vitro Fertilization On July 25, 1978 the first successful in vitro fertilization baby was born in Kershaw’s Cottage Hospital in Lancashire England. Louise Brown as she was named brought forth a new hope and era for making babies especially for people who had been diagnosed infertile or sterile. This marked the first time that a human offspring had been created outside the body from the union of an egg and a sperm. The people responsible for this medical breakthrough were Dr.... [tags: essays research papers]
1481 words (4.2 pages)
- As defined by the Oxford online dictionary, Ethics are the “moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity” . The way by which each individual chooses to live, the decisions each person holds about what is right and what is wrong, and the way the person responds to situations and issues is a reflection of the ethical principles which stand strong to their lives. In relation to this, “bioethics” is identified to be the ethical views on “life sciences and health care, in the light of moral values and principles” .... [tags: Medical Research]
2647 words (7.6 pages)
- To In-Vitro or End Vitro As stated by Dr Grossman of Xavier University “In the United States, infertility is an issue of great concern to many couples of childbearing age. More than 15 percent of all such couples are estimated to be infertile (Grossman, 2003). The medical definition of in vitro fertilization: IVF is a laboratory procedure in which sperm are placed with an unfertilized egg in a Petri dish to achieve fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus to begin a pregnancy or cryopreserved (frozen) for future use.(retrieved on June 12, 2011, from www.medterms.com) IVF was originally devised to permit women with damaged or absent Fallopian tubes to have a baby.... [tags: Medical Ethics ]
1833 words (5.2 pages)
- The Hidden Dangers of In Vitro Fertilization In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)involves giving a woman drugs to induce ovulation and then harvesting (collecting) those mature eggs through a laparoscope. The man masturbates to collect the semen. Then, the semen and ova are mixed in a dish, where fertilization may occur. Then the tiny, new embryonic human(s) are put into the cavity of the woman's uterus with the hope that they will plant and grow. Other sophisticated techniques having the same purpose, employ a diversity of approaches to producing a pregnancy.... [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]
675 words (1.9 pages)
- In vitro fertilization or fertilisation is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro . The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman 's ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova from the woman 's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory. The fertilised egg is cultured for 2–6 days in a growth medium and is then implanted in the same or another woman 's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy. IVF techniques can be used in different types of situations.... [tags: In vitro fertilisation, Pregnancy]
1891 words (5.4 pages)
- While some people might say that stem cell research is immoral and unethical, others believe that it is a magical solution for almost any problem, thus leading to a very controversial issue. Scientists have been searching for years for ways to eradicate incurable diseases and perform other medical procedures that yesterday's technology would not fix. With the rapidly arising, positive research on stem cell technology, the potential that exists to restore any deficiency is in the same way, likely to destroy humanity.... [tags: Ethics]
1014 words (2.9 pages)
- What is in-vitro fertilization. How does it work. For those who have tried but not succeeded to have children in-vitro fertilization is a good procedure that can make having children possible. In-vitro fertilization has its risks and its benefits both of which must be considered. Doctor’s have identified a few different procedures and things to consider before undergoing these procedures. In-vitro fertilization, although there are arguments against it, also has a fairly good success rate. In-vitro fertilization like any other procedure can be dangerous and has many risks.... [tags: In Vitro Fertilization Analysis Medical Reproducti]
1390 words (4 pages)