In medicine and biotechnology, technologies in the modern world are seeking to improve human lives by granting the opportunity to develop test tube babies and reducing the need for women to undergo the long period of pregnancy when having to raise their families. These technologies allow women to donate their ovaries to those willing to carry the pregnancy on their behalf, which reduces the chances of diseases associated with pregnancy, miscarriages and the inability to bear children.
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In addition, the technologies allow families to raise children out of their dead relatives because it is now possible to extract sperms or ovaries from dead people. However, the technologies have raised ethical concerns, especially when the act of raising children out of the dead people is concerned. In this paper, the issue of ethical concern in obtaining eggs from a dead girl has been analyzed. The purpose is to determine whether this act is ethical or unethical.
The event took place in Israel in 2001 and involved removal of ovaries from a 17-year old girl named Chen Aida Ayash. The girl died on August 3 2011 just ten days after her involvement in a road accident. According to the parents, the girl had wanted to become a parent and had informed her parents. After death, the parents went to court to seek an order for the removal of her eggs in order to develop test tube babies from them.
They wanted the eggs to be fertilized with donated sperms. However, the judges declined the request until the parents could provide enough proof that the girl had expressed the desire to be a mother before she died. This event has become an important topic of debate in ethics. Is it ethical or unethical for the parents to develop babies from a dead girl? Is it ethical for the judges to decline the petition? These questions need additional analysis to determine the action that would most likely be ethical.
The major ethical issues involve the determination of whether Ayash wanted to have children. In case she wanted to have children but the authorities decline the petition, then it is possible that the action will be unethical. On the other hand, it would be unethical for the family to obtain children from a dead person because such children will need to have motherly love and care. The children might feel offended when they realize that they were born by a dead person.
In addition, it would be unethical for the process to be granted because even if the girl wanted to have children, she wanted to receive sperms through normal sex. It is also possible that she wanted to raise her children in the normal way. Otherwise, any attempt to get children from her dead body would be unethical because it does not respect her in her death. Moreover, it is clear that the children obtained from her eggs will be born “by a child” because, at the age of 17, Ayash is considered a child.
She wanted to have children when she grows up and when she wishes to have them. Finally, it is clear that Ayash did not provide consent. This action is equal to denying a patient the right to decide whether to undergo a certain medical procedure and consent for the action.
Patient consent is the agreement in writing or word of mouth given by a patient agreeing (or failing to agree) with a certain medical procedure on his or her body. The consent is a major legal requirement in modern medical practice because it provides evidence of whether the patient wants to undergo the procedure or not. It also shows that all information pertaining to the procedure has been provided to the patient.
In this case, the major stakeholders are the parents and the dead girl. However, with the absence of the girl (because she is now dead), the parents and the state are the major stakeholders. The state might decide to petition against the court order grating the parents the right to continue with the procedure.
The state has the right to sue the parents in case they decide to go on with the procedure without providing adequate information to prove that Ayash would have consented to the procedure if she had prior information that she would not live to adulthood. Also, the state has the right to argue that the child was still dependent and unable to bear and rear children on her own by the time she died.
In the opinion of this analysis, it is unethical for the parents to decide to harvest egg cells from their daughter without her consent, although they are doing so as a way of getting something to remember from their daughter. In general, there is little evidence from the parents to proof that the girl wanted to have children and whether she wanted to have children after her death.