Assisted Human Reproduction by Medical Techniques and the Respect of the Fundamental Rights and the Dignity of the Parts Involved

Assisted Human Reproduction by Medical Techniques and the Respect of the Fundamental Rights and the Dignity of the Parts Involved

Roberto Wider (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8350-9.ch012
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Dealing with the subject of the fundamental rights of people involved in medically assisted reproduction, this chapter focuses on the issues surrounding the LGBTI+ population (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersexuals, and new genders that are being recognized). Within this group, the importance of biological children, even amongst those who cannot naturally reproduce, is also highlighted. Firstly, the author points out the laws that determine the child's protection, then compares them to real-life examples of actual situations of homophobia including physical and psychological abuse, understanding that children are also subject to the same abuse, not only due to sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity but also from having to grow up in a so-called unusual family structure. The author looks for an answer that will help strengthen the child's fundamental rights both before and after birth.
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One is not discussing here the extraordinary advance of this technique nor its effects, since it is undoubtedly crucial in the world we currently live in. Be that as far as family planning is concerned, as well as in the social and moral sphere.

However, it is also true that one can no longer judge these issues from an outdated family planning perspective, one which was the standard when these techniques were developed (over 40 years ago).

I have already pointed out in previous studies that we are experiencing new times in which accelerated social changes, unthinkable until now, are now happening. Even before societies and individuals are in a condition of accepting or determining what is socially accepted or not.

Scientific progress cannot be stopped. However it is fundamental that human dignity should be preserved as a greater value.

The nature of this issue deeply touches a myriad of human values, consequently showing a variety of approaches, from religious to sociopolitical, through psychic and emotional implications.

Therefore it raises both passionate emotions and interests, provoking heated debates, involving subjects such as eugenics and immortality, which are supported by antagonistic positions. All of these are issues that require an ethical approach and undoubtedly, appropriate legal rules (Wider).

In this challenging context, observe what one can learn from an extraordinary article published by the Portuguese magazine Visão, by its director Mafalda Anjos, on the 15th of June 2017. The title is remarkable:

Hey mom, go to the supermarket on the corner and buy me a pair of twins!

Taking into consideration the history of children’s breeding, going through what happens nowadays, and dwelling on the future, the question arises:

How should this issue be addressed?

And what the prominent journalist refers to, is not a crazy hallucination. Since we know for sure that for many, going to the United States of America to “get” a child is a lifestyle.

And I would like to add that it is not even necessary to go to the United States anymore. You only need an internet connection and the right website.

Regarding the internet websites, one can of the news articles published on the Cryobank website states that a sperm bank in Los Angeles offers its customers an unusual service: they can choose a donor who is similar to a celebrity. Cryobank has a catalog of donors who resemble actors, athletes or celebrities, and deal with special requests (Cryobank, n.d.).

The purchased spermatozoids or egg cells are then brought to the purchasers and implanted in their own bodies (all of those who have a uterus, since it is not only the female bodies that can have this organ! There has been several cases of transexual couples in which the man became pregnant1) or implanted by surrogacy techniques.

What I propose in this article is the analysis of other current hypothesis, focussing on the principles of human dignity and responsible parenthood.

What are the most recent hypothesis?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assisted Reproduction: Medical technique for human reproduction.

Sperm Banks: Centers for the collection of human semen.

In Vitro “Lives”: Human lives created outside the human body.

Biolaw: The integration of ethics, as a science of moral conduct, with the judicial rules that govern society.

Bioethics: Specific area of philosophical knowledge combined with biomedical sciences.

Replacement Pregnancy: Pregnancy with embryos in other wombs than their mother.

Homoparental Family: One in which the affective bond occurs between people of the same sex.

Homophobia: Rejection towards those who do not fit into the unique role of man or woman.

Embryology: Study of the embryos before their implantation.

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