In today’s world, technology always seems to be changing.
From the convenience of mobile banking to virtual reality, new innovations are popping up almost daily.
However, it might be hard to keep track of what is considered a normal and regular practice:
Is it ethical for researchers to use reproductive technologies (RTCs) to create treatments for fertility-related conditions?
RTCs have become widely used over the past few decades. These technologies can be broadly categorized into three main areas: Artificial Reproductive Technologies,
which involve techniques that help infertile couples get pregnant;
In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is one example where sperm or eggs are combined outside the body and then returned in order to fertilize them with the donor nuclei;
And Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or SCNT is where an adult cell is taken from a person and transferred into an egg whose nucleus has been removed, making it compatible with an animal’s genetic code.
What is Reproductive Technology?
Reproductive technologies (RTs) are medical and scientific advances that aim to improve the fertility outcomes of couples facing difficulty conceiving.
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With the use of RTs, the majority of the time an infertile couple can be successfully treated, regardless of the reason they were unable to conceive.
Artificial Reproductive Technologies
Artificial reproductive technologies (ARTs) encompass a wide range of techniques that can both help infertile couples conceive and help existing couples get pregnant.
These include in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a collaborative process where a woman’s eggs are taken and fertilized with a man’s sperm outside the body.
The fertilized egg is then either transferred back into the uterus or removed through a process called “washing”.
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
Also known as nuclear transfer or cloning, this technique involves taking an egg whose nucleus has been removed,
extracting the nucleus from the egg of an animal, and replacing the original nucleus with that extracted from the other animal.
The result is a cloned egg with the same genetic code as the animal from which the nucleus was taken.
Ethics of Reproductive Technology
There are many ethical issues surrounding the use of reproductive technologies.
For example, researchers often use embryos that have been created using these techniques to conduct basic research to help develop new treatments and avoid potential health risks for future parents using these techniques.
Similarly, some people believe that using these techniques to create new reproductive technologies (e.g., genetically modified humans) is unethical, as it goes against the basic principles of humanity.
Due to the great potential of these techniques, there is a lot of debate about their ethical use.
Scientists and researchers are often careful to ensure that any potential risks associated with these technologies are minimized,
while some people believe that any risks to future generations must be taken seriously. As with any technology,
anyone considering research involving reproductive technologies must carefully weigh all the pros and cons of each technique,
as it may impact them and their family in many ways. Reproductive technologies hold great promise for helping people overcome infertility.
However, there are also many ethical and safety issues associated with these treatments. As a result, it is crucial to educate oneself on these issues and consider how they may affect one’s own life and family.