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Reproductive Rights & Assisted Reproductive Technology

By now we are all have some familiarity with the case of Nadya Suleman who, in January 2009, gave birth to octuplets at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Bellflower, California. When news of the birth first came out there was great excitement and anticipation about the mother and the family. As more information surfaced about the facts of the case; in particular, the artificial insemination of embryos and Ms. Sulema's history, the excitement among many turned to anger and wonderment of how Ms. Suleman could have 14 children goven her lack of fiscal means.

POSITIONS:

Without delving into the legal aspects of the case, discuss the ethical implications by applying the theories and principles to the following:

The doctor should not have agreed to implant the embryos.

Removal of the children from Ms. Suleman is proper.

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RESPONSE:

Without delving into the legal aspects of the case, discuss the ethical implications by applying the theories and principles to the following:

A. The doctor should not have agreed to implant the embryos.

If the doctor had refused to implant the embryos, the ethical dilemma would be between two conflicting values-between the ethical responsibility of the doctor to bring no harm to his patient (and potential babies) and respect for the autonomy of Ms. Suleman to make her own choices. She has the right to make reproductive choices (http://geneticsandsociety.org/downloads/ART.pdf).

The doctor would engage in an ethical decision making process considering the potential consequences of implanting vs. not implanting the embryo. He would need to consider the worst case scenario--that all the embryos growing to term or that the mother might be harmed. Beyond the economic issue of being able to provide sustenance for the babies after birth (which is a real consideration that the doctor would have considered) is the potential physical harm (or even death) to Ms. Suleman and the babies has all the embryos took (which they did) One principle of American Physician Association (APA) is that?"A physician shall respect the rights of patients, colleagues, and other health professionals, and shall safeguard patient confidences and privacy ...

Solution Summary

Based on the case of Me. Suleman, this solution discuss the ethical implications by applying the theories and principles to the following: the doctor should not have agreed to implant the embryos and removal of the children from Ms. Suleman is proper.

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