WorldCon 2013 Report: Day Two — Where there’s a Will there’s a Way: Reproductive Technology, Medical Ethics and the Law

Friday, August 30, 2013

reproductivePanel: Tore Hoie (M), Lois McMaster Bujold, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson, Sam Scheiner

How can you arrange for your un-conceived child to inherit your possessions? What are the medical, ethical and legal implications of modern reproductive practices such as surrogate parenting, IVF after the male spouse is dead, and the use of sperm banks?

My Notes

  • We already have the ability to screen embryos for genetic diseases. Soon, we'll be able screen for specific traits.
  • What are the rights of surrogate mothers and the rights of adopted children?
  • That's why we have lawyers
  • We have egg donors now, not just sperm donors
  • Technological advances bring decisions that didn't exist before
  • We've had the capability to screen for certain genetic diseases for a while now, so there's been a shift in attitude toward the families who allow disabled children to be born
  • On panelist offered this idea: It is not a baby until the woman carrying it decides whether or not to allow it to be born
  • Is it a similar set of decisions for end of life?
  • It's about making decisions for people who cannot
  • A gene sequence has no ethical or moral rights
  • Whether a specific genetic defect is dangerous can be context specific
  • What sort of society are we? Want to be?
  • What happens when the 1% get to have "better" children than everyone else? (They get to be the Guinea pigs for a change.)
  • What happens when insurance companies are making the choice?
  • It won't ever get simpler.
  • When did we all decide that we can have everything we want?