Genetics Ethics

Problem 1
If there were a genetic treatment to change the gender of my fetus, I would not use it.  There is no treatment method that is 100 safe, accurate and certain.  If my fetus gender is already determined at an early stage of pregnancy, and the doctor attempts to change it, that would almost be like a transsexual operation.  I would rather have another healthy boy, than a girl who might become homosexual or schizophrenic later on in life.  She also might develop other complications later.  In the future, I would rather adopt a girl or use a more natural method involving the timing of sexual intercourse with respect to the ovum-polarity cycle.  It may be imperfect or probabilistic, but it is safer.  Recent scientific studies have disproved the Western myth that mens sperms are solely responsible for a babys gender 1.  It turns out that the Ovum membrane has a polarity cycle that determines the gender of the baby 1.    This gives scientific reasoning to an ancient Chinese baby-gender calendar that increases the probability of, but does not guarantee, a selected gender 2.

1.  BabybyGender homepage on the Internet.  Boy or Girl Scientific Review.  Available from httpwww.babybygender.comNewSiteProduct_InformationScientific_Review.asp

2.  Chinesegendercalendar homepage on the Internet.  Racing Sperms vs. Selective Ovum.  Chinese Gender Calendar, 2009.  Available from httpwww.chinesegendercalendar.infotheory.html

Problem 2
If I were the judge, I will not allow insurance companies to have access to genetic profiles.  Since the insurance industry began, they have never had access to such information and have always computed for all the risks of the policyholders in their actuarial statistics and accounting books.  People have paid the necessary premiums so why should it change  All people actually have genetic defects since evolution is not perfect 3.  All white people, for example, are born with albino-like qualities that make them more susceptible to diseases such as skin cancer, compared to dark-skinned people.    The Human Genome Project and the Genographic Project led by Dr. Spencer Wells 4 has confirmed that all living humans are biological relatives and are technically one raceAfrican Homo sapiens.  As he said, You and I, in fact everyone all over the world, were literally African under the skin brothers and sisters separated by a mere two thousand generations. Old-fashioned concepts of race are not only socially divisive, but scientifically wrong.  But people all look different now because of genetic abnormalities due to mutations, such as the case of the whites.  But that doesnt mean that their ailments make them weaker.  Physical handicaps are often offset by mental faculties, like the case of Stephen Hawking who is stricken by ALS, a partly genetic disease 5.  Their debt to society in the form of insurance premiums is often paid in other ways, like the contributions of Hawking to astrophysics 5.

3.  Kahn, JP. Genetic Testing and Insurance. CNN. 2000.  Available from httpedition.cnn.comHEALTHbioethics9808genetics.part2template.html

4.  Wells, Spencer.  Journey of Man cited in The Genographic Project Working with the Genographic Project Public Participation Kit Data. National Geographic Xpeditions.  Available from httpwww.nationalgeographic.comxpeditionslessons09g912genographic5.html

5.  The Guardian.  Motor neurone diseases. 21 Apr 2009.  Available from

Problem 3
If I were a doctor, I will not tell it to my patient directly since the risk is relatively low.  Instead, I will ask my patient to adopt an Asian vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet, similar to the Japanese, to lower the risk of colon cancer and other diseases 6.  I will tell her that in Western countries, the risk of acquiring many diseases is high due to their carnivorous high-fat diet and it would be best for her to lower her risks by eating properly.  By giving this general information applicable to everyone, it will not be as alarming as specific advice applicable to her alone.  Feeling isolated or singled out will not feel very comforting, but not giving any advice at all is not right.  So informing her generally will warn her without causing too much panic.

6. Kuratsune M, Honda T, Englyst HN, Cummings JH. Dietary fibre in the Japanese diet.  Princess Takamatsu Symp. 1985 16 247-53.

Problem 4
I am not in favor of the bill, so I will vote No to the proposition.  First of all, the police, as a general rule, can never be trusted completely.  Many crimes that have been reported around the world were discovered to have been perpetrated by the police themselves.  While some policemen may use the proposed genetic database properly to apprehend real criminals and acquit the innocent, more likely than not, they will sell the information to crime syndicates or use it to apprehend the innocent 7.

7.  Savage M. Police targeting people for their DNA Watchdog says quest for data undermines presumption of innocence. The Independent.  24 Nov 2009.

Problem 5
Ignorance is bliss.  If there is no known cure for the disease, why should I bother to know and torment myself  I would rather think positively and believe that I dont have it.  Perhaps even the power of positive thinking may help my mental faculties and delay Huntington disease if ever I do have it 8.  But perhaps, eventually, if a scientific breakthrough comes by in the future that will cure the disease, then I might consider the test.

8.  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. homepage on the Internet.  How Thinking Can Change the Brain. 29 Jan 2007.   Available from httpwww.dalailama.comnewspost104-how-thinking-can-change-the-brain

Problem 6
If I were the doctor, I will not perform the abortion.  The child is perfectly normal and that is what nature has granted the deaf parents.  I am certain that while they object now to his hearing ability, they will change their mind as he or she grows up 9 since they will get used to the child, and they will be able to have someone care for them better as aging parents in the distant future.

9. Iqbal, S.  Deaf parents with hearing children. Disability, Pregnancy  Parenthood International. 2009. Available from

Problem 7
If I were the judge, I would first tell both couples that there is always a risk involved in procedures such as IVF or any other medical procedure in clinics and hospitals, and they should prepare for the consequence of such risks.  I will grant custody of the twin child to the couple from Aruba since the Dutch couple has another twin anyway.  It is up to the couples to sue the clinic for damages.  The racial issue will not affect my decision since Barrack Obama is a successful inter-racial man who relates well to both parents.  In fact, his dual races helped him to become the President of the United States.  However, if there were only one child, I will not grant custody of the single child to the Aruban father.  If the fertilized egg belongs to the Dutch woman, the mother should be granted custody since the mother has stronger biological links to children.  It is easier to separate a child from the father than from the mother.  As Newsweek reports, Most often, children still end up living primarily with the mother according to the most recent census, moms are the official primary residential parent after a divorce in 5 out of 6 cases, a number that hasnt changed much since the mid-90s. 10.   Therefore, custody will be given to the Dutch couple.  Again, both couples will have to sue the clinic for damages.

10.  Schrobsdorff S.  Not Your Dads Divorce.  Newsweek. 15 Dec 2008.

Problem 8
The woman owns her eggs.  If I were the judge, I would allow the woman to give birth with her eggs even after she has divorced her husband since it is still biologically her own and there was originally consent from the husband when they stored her eggs.  As Madelaine Bunting and Catherine Bennett 11 of the Guardian assert after a European court ruled against a woman who wanted to thaw and use her cryopreserved embryos after a relationship separation 12, to subsequently deny a woman that embryo, especially if it is her only chance of a biological child, may be legal, but it is unethical. And its cruel.   However, if she gets pregnant with those eggs, her ex-husband is not required to pay child support since the pregnancy does not have the consent of her ex-husband and it took place after the divorce.  She will have to financially support the child independently.

11. Bunting M, Bennett C. Whose embryo is it anyway The Guardian, 9 Mar 2006.

12. Maguire S.  Dublin couple in court over who owns embryos.  The Sunday Times. 12 Mar 2006.


Post a Comment