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Read “In Depth: IVF and Children’s Future Children”

IVF and the technology for freezing embryos have opened up an array of possibilities for treating infertility that until recently were unthinkable. Here is one example, one of many stunning reports from this new frontier:

(BBC News) – Israeli scientists say that they have extracted and matured eggs from girls as young as five to freeze for possible fertility treatment in the future.

The team said that the technique could give child cancer suffers left infertile by chemo-therapy treatment a shotat parenthood later in life.

The team took eggs from a group of girls between the ages of five and 10 who had cancer.

They artificially matured the eggs to make them viable and froze them.

Experts had previously thought the eggs of pre-pubescent girls could not be used in this way.

Dr. Ariel Revel, from Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, is to present the team’s finding at a fertility conference in Lyon, France, this week

“No eggs have yet been thawed, so we do not know whether prenancies will result,” he said in a statement

“But we are encouraged by our results so far, particularly the young ages of the patients from whom we have been able to collect eggs.”

Childhood cancers have a good cure rate between 70% and 90% – but often require aggressive chemotherapy which can mean the child will be sterile in later life.

Geoff Thaxter, of the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, said: “This report represents interesting initial research into potential dertility treatments for children being treated for cancer, and could help to make sure that childhood cancer does not have a the lifelong impact.”

But Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, expressed concern that if the eggs were donated to a woman of childbearing age, a resulting child could have a biological mother who was only a few years olders?

Now, do YOU think that extracting and freezing the eggs in the manner described is right or wrong? Why? Use ideas from TWO of the following articles [Steinbock (egg donation), Brock, Pontifical Academy for Life, Kass, Purdy, Davis] to support your answer AND one of the principles of bioethics (nonmaleficence, beneficence, autonomy, utility or justice).

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