With 2 children now permitted, Chinese women are thawing embryos

As China relaxes its one-child policy, more women are using frozen embryos to conceive a second child.

The international media gave particular attention to a 46-year-old Chinese woman who gave birth earlier this month using an IVF embryo frozen 16 years ago.

The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, gave birth via IVF to her first child in 2000, and asked the hospital to freeze her remaining 18 embryos.

A decade and a half later – with the Chinese government having announced its ‘universal two-child policy’ – the woman approached the hospital again to have the other embryos thawed. She has now given birth to a healthy baby boy.

"I'm just really ecstatic to have another child,” the woman told state-news agency Xinhua following the birth of her son.

According to IVF agencies in the country, the… click here to read whole article and make comments

Australian women complain of ‘gender disappointment’

Kate wants a daughter / ABC: Brant Cumming   

“Gender disappointment” is not a recognised medical condition. But many women in Australia – where gender selection is illegal -- attribute their depression to it. Speaking to Australia’s ABC network, a woman using the pseudonym Kate described it as as “a guilt-ridden, debilitating depression”. She has two boys and she desperately wants a daughter. "Unless someone has that desire themselves and feels how it can be all-consuming, they can't understand what it's like," she says. "It'd be so easy if I could just switch it off and just be happy."

An ethics committee of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council is currently reviewing guidelines for assisted reproductive technology and may recommend the legalisation of sex selection.

The Sydney Morning Herald ran a feature this week about the condition. A woman named… click here to read whole article and make comments

British child must be vaccinated, court rules

A British High Court Judge has ordered that a 7-month-old boy be given a meningitis vaccine  despite his mother’s objections.

The London mother was preventing the boy from receiving the vaccinations as her three older children had all experienced significant side-effects from the injection (including swollen leg, ear infection and rash).

Yet Mr Justice McDonald of the Family Division of the High Court said that the risks of not vaccinating the boy far outweighed the risks of any adverse side-effects.

"I am satisfied that the balance of risk as between administering the outstanding Hib vaccine and the PCV vaccine and not doing so plainly favours immunisation”, Justice McDonald said.  

Elaborating on his decision, McDonald remarked that, “...whilst the mother submits that risk of infection is low, and whilst the expert evidence supports that contention to a certain extent, it… click here to read whole article and make comments

Forced organ harvesting may still be occurring – Chinese official

A senior government official has admitted that forced organ harvesting from executed prisoners may still be occurring in China, sparking calls for international inspections in the country.

Huang Jiefu, a former deputy health minister who oversees China’s transplantation scheme, made the announcement earlier this week at a controversial Vatican conference on illegal organ trafficking.  

“There is zero tolerance [of forced harvesting]” Mr. Jiefu told reporters at the conference. “However, China is a big country with a 1.3 billion population so I am sure, definitely, there is some violation of the law”.

Experts at the Rome conference were sceptical of China’s efforts to end forced organ harvesting, and Dr. Jacob Lavee, president of Israel's transplant society, insisted that the World Health Organisation be allowed to conduct surprise inspections and interview donor relatives in China.

"As long as there is no… click here to read whole article and make comments

New euthanasia debate in Spain

Spain’s Congress of Deputies is debating new euthanasia legislation, as right-to-die lobbyists intensify their campaign in the country.

Unidos Podemos (UP), a political coalition of the the Communist Party and the major party Podemos, presented a bill to Congress in mid-January that would permit assisted dying under certain circumstances.

The Unidos Podemos bill proposes that terminally ill patients over the age of 18, and also adults suffering from “unbearable” psychological or physiological pain, be allowed to access medical assistance in dying.

There is also another bill shortly to be registered in Congress by representatives from Catalonia’s regional parliament. Late last month the Catalonian parliament resolved to move a federal bill -- similar to the UP proposal -- that would modify the federal penal code to permit medical assistance in dying.

“Human freedom lasts until the end of life,” said… click here to read whole article and make comments

Short is beautiful

Here is an interesting voice in the debate over gene editing. Who decides which traits are valuable and which are not? Australian actress Kiruna Stamell, who has dwarfism, questions the conventional wisdom. 

click here to read whole article and make comments

Struggling woman with dementia euthanised in Netherlands


A Dutch euthanasia doctor has been rebuked by a Regional Review Committee after she gave a lethal injection to a demented patient who appeared to be struggling to stop the procedure.

The incident emerged when the Regional Review Committee released euthanasia case reports on January 1. This was Verdict 2016-85.

Here is what happened. An 80-year-old woman with dementia entered a nursing home because her husband could no longer care for her. When the woman was still lucid she expressed two wishes: (a) not to go into a "home for demented elderly" and (b) to be euthanised "when I myself find it the right time". Only the second wish was honoured.

She was unhappy in the nursing home and wandered the corridors at night. After seven weeks of this, the nursing home doctor decided that she must be suffering unbearably. Based on her previous statements, the doctor decided… click here to read whole article and make comments

Trump SCOTUS Nominee is ‘bioethicist’

Donald Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is “a bioethicist” -- at least according to one article published after Trump’s announcement.

Gorsuch, currently a judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado, was nominated by the President during a live television broadcast from the White House on Tuesday evening.

Gorsuch is a lawyer’s lawyer who made his name at Washington DC’s elite law firm Kellogg, Huber and Hansen. Yet he also has academic interests and has written extensively on end of life issues. In 2007 he published The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, in which he outlined his opposition to legal assisted dying. Gorsuch has a doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford University, which he completed under the supervision of new natural law theorist… click here to read whole article and make comments

Doctors told not to call pregnant women “mothers”

British doctors have been told not to call pregnant women ‘mothers’ in a British Medical Association (BMA) document that has been slammed by conservative commentators.

In a booklet entitled A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace, doctors are instructed to use “inclusive language” that demonstrates “a commitment to equality and inclusion”. This includes revising conventional language used during pregnancy:

“Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men...We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.”

In an introduction to the guide on the BMA’s website, senior executive Dr Anthea Mowat wrote: ‘I would encourage you all to read and share this guide, and think about how you can apply it in your day-to-day work. This… click here to read whole article and make comments

Should doctors talk about Trump’s mental health?

During the 2016 US Presidential Campaign, BioEdge reported on the ethics of the psychological profiling of candidates.

With what has been labelled the “bombastic” and “erratic” behaviour of President Trump, commentators are once again questioning whether psychiatrists and psychologists should share their opinions on political figures.

Writing in the BMJ Blog this week, Oxford health science professor Trish Greenhalgh said that it is permissible for doctors to publically suggest that a politician seek clinical help.   

“there is no absolute bar to a doctor suggesting that in his or her clinical opinion, it would be in the public interest for a particular public figure to undergo “occupational health” checks to assess their fitness to hold a particular office.”

Dr. Greenhalgh did not, however, comment on Mr. Trump’s mental state.

Dr. Allen Frances, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University… click here to read whole article and make comments

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