Australian nurse arrested in Cambodia’s surrogacy crackdown

Tammy Davis-Charles being interviewed by Cambodian police     

An Australian nurse and fertility entrepreneur has been arrested in Cambodia after a government crackdown on commercial surrogacy.

Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, was arrested by Cambodian anti-trafficking police last weekend and stands accused of human trafficking and falsifying documents -- charges which carry up to a two year sentence.

The charges were brought against Ms. Davis-Charles after authorities began to monitor her Phnom-Penh surrogacy business, Fertility Solutions PGD.

Ms. Davis-Charles’ clinic matches would-be parents with surrogate mothers -- typically poor Cambodian women. The clinic had catered mainly to Australian couples, but some clients were from other nations such as the US.

Chou Bun Eng, Cambodia’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior, is leading the country’s anti-human trafficking efforts.

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Staggering discarded embryo figures released in UK

New official figures indicate that close to 2.5 million embryos have been discarded in the UK since IVF was brought under a comprehensive regulatory framework in 1991.

The figures were released by Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, in response to a written question from Lord Alton of Liverpool.

The records of the UK's fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. show that 1,687,260 embryos have been transferred to uteri since 1991, and 2,315,262 destroyed.

In the period from 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015, 84,044 were transferred, and 172,184 destroyed. The figures come as UK fertility clinics celebrate 250,000 babies born by IVF in the country. 

With an increase in IVF success rates, fertility specialists say that more women in the UK are using assisted reproductive technology. In… click here to read whole article and make comments

More gay couples using surrogates in US

An informal study by a fertility data service suggests an increasing number of gay couples in the US are turning to surrogacy.

The study -- conducted by Fertility IQ on behalf of the Chicago Tribune -- involved data from fertility clinics in more than 10 cities.

The results, as reported in the Tribune, “indicate that 10 to 20 percent of donor eggs are going to gay men having babies via surrogacy, and in a lot of places the numbers are up 50 percent from five years ago.”

Surrogacy for gay men in the US was “unheard of” five years ago, according to Eve Feinberg, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

But Jake Anderson, Fertility IQ co-founder, says the practice will become increasingly common.

"We… click here to read whole article and make comments

US conservative tries new tactic against animal research: calling it a waste of money

Anthony Bellotti  addresses White Coat Waste meeting in Washington DC   

Opposition to research on animals is generally viewed in the US as a cause supported by loopy lefties and disdained by conservatives. But a Republican political strategist who worked on campaigns against Obamacare and Planned Parenthood is using his skills to stop government funding for animal research. Anthony Bellotti has launched a group called White Coat Waste which describes animal research as a waste of taxpayer dollars. “That story was being told in the Planned Parenthood and Obamacare debates, but not in the anti–animal research movement,” he told Science. “I wanted to unite the animal lovers and the liberty lovers.”

Earlier this month White Coat Waste opened fire with a Capitol Hill briefing earlier this month co-sponsored by a tax hawk Republican and a PETA supporting Democrat. They are working together… click here to read whole article and make comments

Doctors association refuses to back euthanasia in Australia

AMA President Michael Gannon  

After surveying its members the Australian Medical Association has reaffirmed its opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. “Doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person's life,” says the latest version of its end-of-life care policy.

But doctors do "have an ethical duty to care for dying patients so that death is allowed to occur in comfort and with dignity".

The statement comes at a time when some state legislatures are debating euthanasia. A bill failed earlier this month in South Australia but supporters are pushing for bills in Victoria and Tasmania.

Euthanasia campaigners detected a shift in the AMA’s stance. Dr Rodney Syme, a urologist who says that he has helped about 100 patients to die, said that the AMA’s position that “laws in relation to euthanasia and… click here to read whole article and make comments

Death from the skies

The data is sketchy, but drones authorized by President Obama have killed about 100 civilians and about 2,500 enemy combatants. The drones bring death from the skies. Australian euthanasia entrepreneur Dr Philip Nitschke, has a similar idea: delivering suicide drugs by drone to nursing homes.

Dr Nitschke, speaking from Amsterdam, the new base for his activities, said that a member of Exit International had fallen ill with heart problems and had been taken to hospital immediately. He was unable to fetch his Nembutal, the drug of choice for assisted suicide. So Dr Nitschke wants to use a drone to deliver the drugs.

A drone is needed because people are afraid to be drug mules for a patient who will end up dead. 

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Transhumanist candidate for president now supports Trump

A Zoltan for President poster   

To no one’s great surprise, the candidate of the Transhumanist Party in the US presidential election did not win. However Zoltan Istvan is far from unhappy with the result.

“I never ran to win the presidency, but rather to spread word about the transhumanist movement and its goal to conquer death with science and technology,” he told Inverse magazine. “And my campaign, after 731 days, has been seen by likely 100 million people. I think transhumanism grew tremendously as a result, so I’m thrilled I could contribute to the transhumanism movement so dramatically.”

Nor is he unhappy with the prospect of President Donald Trump. “Unlike many others, I’m quite okay about a Trump presidency,” he said. “My main thing is science — and Trump will be good for science, since if he really wants to Make America… click here to read whole article and make comments

Netherlands offers euthanasia for alcoholics

The ever-expanding circle of eligibility for euthanasia now includes alcoholism. Writing in the Dutch magazine Linda, journalist Marcel Langedijk describes the grim life and death of his brother Mark, a hopeless alcoholic.

After eight years and 21 stints in hospital or rehab, Mark decided that he had enough. He had two children but his marriage had collapsed; his parents cared for him and he had plenty of family support, but he was unable to dry out.  

Finally he asked for euthanasia. Physically he was quite ill and psychologically he was suffering badly.

A woman doctor in a black dress and sneakers arrived to give him his lethal injection. She confirmed his decision and then gave him three doses.

Mr Langedijk is writing a book about his younger brother’s disease and his death through euthanasia which will be published next year. 

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Dutch team creates 3D atlas of human embryo

Dutch anatomists have published an amazing 3D atlas of the human embryo. Their website offers 14 interactive three-dimensional models of human embryology and a database of 34 embryos spanning the first two months of human development. About 15,000 histological sections were analyzed by students under expert supervision, and about 150 organs and structures were identified and digitally labelled in each section. The labelled structures were then spatially reconstructed in such a way that the relation between the reconstruction and the original images was preserved. 

The development of the human body is difficult to understand, they write in an article in Science about the project. “Textbooks on human development are often based on the works of early embryologists, some published more than 100 years ago. Because of the limited availability of human embryonic specimens, it is difficult or impossible to independently verify the information carried in these textbooks, or even to… click here to read whole article and make comments

Is “sanctity of life” a useful concept?

In increasingly heated debates over abortion and euthanasia, pro-lifers cling doggedly to the concept of “the sanctity of life”. This has been under attack for years by utilitarian philosophers, notably Princeton’s Peter Singer. In a 2005 article Singer went so far as to contend that “During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological, and demographic developments. By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct.”

You might think that Singer’s withering prediction would be countered with a robust defence by Catholic bioethicists. However, in a controversial article in The New Bioethics, David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, in the UK, suggests that the term “sanctity of life” is so… click here to read whole article and make comments

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