Medical Ethics  

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1073 posts
3/11/2006 3:53 pm
Medical Ethics

I had a long drive yesterday, and I downloaded some podcasts of some of my favorite technology programs, and I was listening to them as I drove. On one of the programs, they had a medical ethicist, and he was talking about some of the new ethical frontiers that have made themseves known in the recent past, as technology progresses.

He talked about the ethics of informed consent when women donate eggs for stem cell research. Apparently the ethical issues are different in this case than in cases where a woman is donating eggs for in-vitro fertilization, because in the case where she is trying to get pregnant, there is a direct benefit that you can weigh against the risk. In the case of donating for stem cell research, the donor gets no benefit from the donation, and so the implications of being informed are different.

This doctor went on to say that the risks involved with this kind of procedure were small, but important, and that they included future infertility, and a condition that I think he called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

He then said that a lot of people think that donating eggs is equivalent to donating sperm, but it isn't. He said, "About the worst thing that can happen to you when donating sperm is a sprained wrist."

Furtunately, I didn't end up in the ditch.

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