This is just some really freaky science. Today the BBC Health Desk is reporting the following story: “An aborted foetus could one day become the mother of a new baby by “donating” her eggs to an infertile woman, say researchers. The highly controversial idea has been suggested as one solution to a worldwide shortage of women prepared to donate their eggs to help other women become pregnant.”
I rarely am freaked out by the news I read, but there’s just something scary about this, a sort of “we’re going too far” sense…
Part of my discomfort comes from my firm belief in evolution and its key component natural selection. We’re already monkeying around with the human gene pool with our extensive work in longevity and aids for handicapped and other disabled people (and try talking about this without the spectre of eugenics looming). But surely there’s a point at which we should accept that, for example, some people might not be able to conceive because of environmental conditions, poor genetics, or whatever, without pushing science to ensure that everyone who wants to spawn and procreate can do so, regardless of the health and quality-of-life of the child?
And now this development. Once foetal eggs can be implanted in otherwise infertile women, aren’t we completely throwing natural selection out the door? I mean, the genetic makeup of that fetus might be such that it would be stillborn or otherwise unable to reproduce, but that’s being circumvented by extracting the eggs from it, post-abortion.
The article goes on to say:
“The lead researcher, Dr Tal Biron-Shental, from Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, conceded that the concept of taking egg follicles from an aborted baby was controversial.
“Presenting the work to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid, she said: “I’m fully aware of the controversy about this – but probably, in some place, it will be ethically acceptable.”
“The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates IVF in the UK, said that it would never be allowed to happen here [in the UK]. A spokesman said: “The use of foetal ovarian tissue raises difficult social, medical scientific and legal questions. “After a public consultation, we decided that it would be difficult for any child to come to terms with being created using aborted foetal material because of prevailing social attitudes. “We do not consider the use of tissue from this source to be acceptable for fertility treatment.”
What do you think about this “progress” in medical science?