Bioethics: Its Many Faces

in vitro fertilization

in vitro fertilization

Bioethics: Some of its many subdivisions:

IVF. In vitro fertilization. Extra embryonic humans; store, destroy, or adopt?

Sexuality’s purpose. Will it be sexual at all when it’s virtual, not bodily? Will virtual sex be other-related, a communion?

PGD. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Picking the best baby. Government health care budget imperatives could force all couples to test and discard undesirables.

DNA testing. Knowing what your likely death date is, what your upcoming medical adventures will be. Medical research.: who controls the data?

Discrimination by DNA. Companies could deny insurance coverage.

Extortion by DNA. A customer, knowing his own DNA story, could defraud an insurance company by buying lots of insurance, and by knowing something the insurance company is forbidden to know, make his survivors a fortune, weakening the company so it cannot serve its other customers.

Surrogate motherhood.

Sperm donation. Choosing the best sperm. Maintaining confidentiality of the donor. Managers slip sperm into the vault, thereby impregnanting customers who thought they were getting random sperm, or carefully cataloged sperm. Children’s right to know their father may supercede donor’s right to anonymity.

Egg markets.

Sperm sorting for sex selection.

Abortion for sex selection.

The right to demand a deaf child.

Organ harvesting. Why not buy and sell organs? Should government assume everyone is a donor unless they’ve opted out?

Genetic engineering, somatic,(for one subject), and germline, (altering the sperm or egg so that valuable traits are passed on to all succeeding generations.)


Chimeras, part human, part animal.

Gene patenting.

Stem cell research, using embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

Creation of embryonic humans for research purposes.

Doping for athletes, scholars, musicians.

Body modification for cosmetic and powers. Sex change operations. Eye rounding. Botox, breast implants, liposuction.

Drugs to treat debilities and confer advantage. Ritalin at MIT.

Machine implants.

Brain uploads, memory downloads, personal history downloads, experience machines.

Human experimentation.



Physician assisted suicide.

End-of-life decisions.



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