147 research outputs found

    Respect voor (toekomstige) personen:Humanisme en repro-genetics

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    Valedictory Lecture, Maastricht University, 1-9-202

    Using non-human primates to benefit humans: research and organ transplantation

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    Emerging biotechnology may soon allow the creation of genetically human organs inside animals, with non-human primates (henceforth simply "primates”) and pigs being the best candidate species. This prospect raises the question of whether creating organs in primates in order to then transplant them into humans would be more (or less) acceptable than using them for research. In this paper, we examine the validity of the purported moral distinction between primates and other animals, and analyze the ethical acceptability of using primates to create organs for human use

    Comprehensive embryo testing. Experts opinions regarding future directions: an expert panel study on comprehensive embryo testing

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    What do scientists in the field of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) consider to be the future direction of comprehensive embryo testing? Although there are many biological and technical limitations, as well as uncertainties regarding the meaning of genetic variation, comprehensive embryo testing will impact the IVF/PGD practice and a timely ethical reflection is needed. Comprehensive testing using microarrays is currently being introduced in the context of PGD and PGS, and it is to be expected that whole-genome sequencing will also follow. Current ethical and empirical sociological research on embryo testing focuses on PGD as it is practiced now. However, empirical research and systematic reflection regarding the impact of comprehensive techniques for embryo testing is missing. In order to understand the potential of this technology and to be able to adequately foresee its implications, we held an expert panel with seven pioneers in PGD. We conducted an expert panel in October 2011 with seven PGD pioneers from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Participants expected the use of comprehensive techniques in the context of PGD. However, the introduction of these techniques in embryo testing requires timely ethical reflection as it involves a shift from choosing an embryo without a particular genetic disease (i.e. PGD) or most likely to result in a successful pregnancy (i.e. PGS) to choosing the best embryo based on a much wider set of criteria. Such ethical reflection should take account of current technical and biological limitations and also of current uncertainties with regard to the meaning of genetic variance. However, ethicists should also not be afraid to look into the future. There was a general agreement that embryo testing will be increasingly preceded by comprehensive preconception screening, thus enabling smart combinations of genetic testing. The group was composed of seven participants from four Western Europe countries. As willingness to participate in this study may be connected with expectations regarding the pace and direction of future developments, selection bias cannot be excluded. The introduction of comprehensive screening techniques in embryo testing calls for further ethical reflection that is grounded in empirical work. Specifically, there is a need for studies querying the opinions of infertile couples undergoing IVF/PGS regarding the desirability of embryo screening beyond aneuploidy. This research was supported by the CSG, Centre for Society and Life Sciences (project number: 70.1.074). The authors declare no conflict of interest. N/A

    Is germ-line genome modification ethically justified?

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    As the normative objections to (human) germline genome editing cannot convincingly justify a categorical prohibition of such editing, its present prohibition should be replaced by a strict regulation, i.e. a conditional allowance. If safe and effective, germline genome editing may become a useful reproductive option.</p

    Making embryos for research:First prohibited, now allowed?

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    The Dutch Embryos Act (2000) contains a temporary ban on the creation of embryos for research, meaning that, at present, only research using "spare" IVF embryos is allowed. Recently, the government has announced a plan to lift this ban. This is in line with the original intention of the Act, which already contains conditions for research with specially created embryos that will come into force after the lifting of the ban, including the restriction that the research must be expected to yield new insights in the domains of infertility, assisted reproduction, hereditary or congenital disorders, or transplantation medicine. The government plans announced allow research only in the first three of these domains, adding the further criterion that the research must be 'directly relevant for clinical application'. According to the government, the reason for these additional restrictions was the need to protect 'human dignity'. The authors of this paper are not convinced
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