Making babies without women

The Frankenstein fear of reproductive engineering so far has been the future possibility that women could have babies without men, rendering males obsolete.  But now scientists are working on making ordinary cells function as eggs, so that they can be fertilized by sperm.  They have already made this work with baby mice.

So maybe women, with the further invention of artificial wombs, will become obsolete instead.  Not only that, this new technology, should it work, would allow two men to conceive a child.   If we get rid of either women or men, same-sex marriage might be the only kind left.  Perhaps the fluid gender movement is a preparation for the time when human beings will have no gender and no sex at all!

[Read more…]

Human embryo grown outside the womb for 13 days

Scientists have set a new record in keeping a human embryo–that is to say, a developing baby–alive outside the womb for 13 days.  Then they let it–rather, him or her–die.

The law in England, where the experiment took place, sets a limit of 14 days, the time of “individuation” after which identical twins cannot split off from each other.  The experiment was cut short to avoid going over that limit, but reportedly the embryo could have been allowed to keep developing.  Now scientists are calling for the limit to be extended.

How scrupulous they are to obey the government’s law, while being oblivious to the moral law against killing the helpless, not to mention the violation of parenthood. [Read more…]

Sex & child-bearing to be obsolete in 20 years?

[NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!]   A Stanford professor of law and genetics is maintaining that within as few as twenty years, the connection between sex and procreation will come to an end.  No longer will sex have anything to do with reproduction.  According to Henry T. Greely, reproductive engineering will be such that men will donate sperm and women a patch of skin, whereupon babies will be produced to order in artificial wombs. Government health plans will no longer be able to afford caring for sick babies, so “designer babies” will become the norm.

Recreational sex will continue, he says, but why?  Won’t virtual-reality pornography finish that off too?

Prof. Greely has a book about all of this coming out from Harvard University Press entitled The End of Sex and the Future of Reproduction.  

Prof. Greely seems to assume that there will be no more Catholics in 20 years, or other Christians who agree with them about nature and natural law. [Read more…]

Three-parent children

The FDA is trying to decide whether or not to approve a procedure that give a child three biological parents.  “Defective” DNA in a mother’s egg would be replaced by “good” DNA from a second woman, then fertilized, giving the child three parents and eliminating certain inherited diseases.

A great technology to ease human suffering, or a grotesque violation of nature?  Or both?  What should the FDA decide? [Read more…]

When your mother is your sister

A 58-year old woman in Utah is serving as a surrogate mother for her daughter.  The woman had already gone through menopause but she took a treatment of hormone shots to get herself back into the child-bearing mode.  So far, the pregnancy is going well, and the baby will be born in February.

The baby, a girl, will thus have two mothers.  One will be her grandmother and the other will be her sister.

What do you think of this?  Wanting a baby is a commendable desire and the Bible is sympathetic to women plagued by being “barren.”  If a woman wants to have a baby but can’t, due to fertility problems, do you acknowledge any limits as to what doctors or society or she herself should do to make that happen? [Read more…]

Posthumous conception

The Supreme Court heard a case (Astrue v. Capato) on Monday that hinged on determining the inheritance rights of children conceived by artificial insemination after their father’s death.

Robert and Karen Capato’s twins were born in 2003 — 18 months after Robert Capato’s death. And in its first review of “posthumous conception,” the ­Supreme Court on Monday struggled to align modern reproductive techniques to a federal law written in 1939.

In the end, the justices generally sounded disinclined to award Social Security survivor benefits to the Capato children. Theirs is among about 100 cases brought by children of artificial insemination born after the death of a father that the Social Security Administration has turned down.

But it was a tough slog through the details of a law that was written at a time when, as Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said, “they never had any inkling about the situation that has arisen in this case.”

The Capatos married in 1999, and shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Because they feared that his treatments might leave him sterile, Robert Capato began depositing sperm at a sperm bank in Florida.

He rallied at one point, and the couple had a naturally conceived son in 2001. But as his condition worsened, the Capatos began to talk about in vitro fertilization to give their son siblings. They signed a notarized statement that any children “born to us, who were conceived by the use of our embryos” shall in all aspects be their children and entitled to their property.

But the provision was not included in Robert Capato’s will at his death in March 2002.

After the twins were born, Karen Capato applied for Social Security survivor benefits. The Capatos’ naturally conceived son received the benefits; the twins did not. The administrative-law judge said the 1939 federal law looked to state laws to determine whether the benefit seeker is eligible to inherit property, and under Florida law, the twins were not eligible.

An appeals court reversed that decision, saying that the twins only had to meet the definition in another part of the law, which defined an eligible child simply as “the child or legally adopted child of an individual.”

But other appeals courts have found just the opposite, that the state laws are the places to look for determination of eligibility.

Assistant Solicitor General Eric Miller acknowledged that the law was ambiguous, because it seemed to provide two different definitions of a “child.” But he said the Social Security Administration had made the reasonable ­decision to require that a person seeking survivor benefits “must show that he or she would have been able to inherit personal property” under applicable state laws.

Alito seemed most skeptical of the government’s position, saying that perhaps Congress in 1939 did not think there was need to define the meaning of child. “They knew what a child was,” he said.

Charles A. Rothfeld, representing Capato, said the law was clearly meant to cover “the biological child of married parents” and the twins fit that definition.

What about a child born into a marriage but not a biological child, asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She wondered what would be the outcome if Karen Capato remarried but used her deceased husband’s frozen sperm to conceive.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pressed Rothfeld on whether the marriage between the Capatos ended with his death.

Justice Antonin Scalia wondered how children could be “survivors” if they were not conceived before their father’s death.

“What is at issue here is not whether children that have been born through artificial insemination get benefits,” Scalia said. “It’s whether children who are born after the father’s death get benefits.” . . .

“It’s a mess,” piped in Justice Elena Kagan.

via Today’s paper.


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