Chinese actress dumped by Prada after she dumped her two surrogate babies

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang in her brief time as a Prada ambassador

Bioethical standards are loose and murky in China, but there are things which do provoke outrage. No, we are not talking about the alleged genocide of Xinjiang's Uyghurs. The issue du jour is that a popular model and actress, Zheng Shuang, has been accused by her estranged former partner of abandoning two children whom she commissioned from two surrogate mothers in the United States.

A wave of outrage swept through Chinese social media. As a result, she was immediately dumped by the luxury goods firm… MORE

How many embryos are frozen in China’s IVF clinics?

Over 200,000 IVF babies are born in China every year. This means that millions of embryos may be frozen in storage – even though most couples do not pay the annual fee.

This is creating a conflict of values for IVF clinics. On the one hand, keeping the embryos is expensive and takes up medical resources. On the other, they are very reluctant to destroy them. "At present, there are about 100,000 frozen embryos stored in the reproductive centre of our hospital that have not had the preservation fee paid. The fees of about 80,000 frozen embryos have not been… MORE

Why do euthanasia rates vary across the Netherlands?

There is a seven-fold unexplained variation in rates of euthanasia across The Netherlands, reveals an analysis of health insurance claims data, published online in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

It's not clear if these differences relate to underuse, overuse, or even misuse, say the researchers.

Official data show that the number of euthanasia cases has risen more or less continuously since 2006, reaching 6361 in 2019. These cases make up just a small proportion of all deaths, but they have doubled from just under 2% in 2002 to just over 4% in 2019.

To explore this further,… MORE

Radical right-to-die activists arrested in France

Ten members of the Ultime Liberté association, which campaigns in France for the legalization of assisted suicide, have been arrested for trafficking in the banned suicide drug pentobarbital.

Founded in 2009, Ultime Liberté is the radical wing of the right-to-die movement in France. It claims to have 3,000 members scattered throughout the country.

"Our goal is that euthanasia can legally have the right of citizenship in France " the magazine Marianne was told by one of its members. Ultime Liberté wishes to " obtain for any capable person the legal recognition of the freedom to choose the time,… MORE

Family splits over fate of unresponsive man in England 

The Catholic Church in England has protested strongly against a decision to withdraw hydration and nutrition from a man who became permanently comatose after a heart attack in November.

Mr RS, a Polish citizen who lived in Britain for many years, has been in a hospital in Plymouth. Doctors there felt that he was completely unresponsive and would have no “quality of life”. If given food and water, he would probably live another five years. Without them, he would die within a few weeks. So, with the agreement of his wife, they applied to withdraw food and water so that… MORE

A new Swiss group caters for Dutch who are not eligible for euthanasia

You might think that the Dutch, who live in a country where euthanasia is legal, would have no need for the schemes of Dr Philip Nitschke, Australia’s rogue right-to-die campaigner. You would be wrong.

The Dutch magazine Trouw profiled an 87-year-old man, Kees Kentie, who went to Switzerland to die with the help of a new assisted suicide organisation, Pegasos, which is affiliated with Nitschke’s Exit International. As he explained in a recent tweet:

"The Swiss have not medicalised their end-of-life laws. Those tired of life can be helped, and couples can die together. Pegasos makes this… MORE

Australians launch class action suit against IVF clinic over faulty embryo test

More than 100 – and potentially 1,000 -- patients of Monash IVF, a major Australian fertility company, have launched a class action suit. They claim that potentially viable embryos were destroyed because a pre-implantation genetic test was faulty.

Lawyers contend that the non-invasive preimplantation genetic test is now known to be significantly less reliable than first thought. Their clients are seeking compensation for economic loss as well as pain and suffering. Some of the women and couples believe that they may never be able to have children.

The non-invasive test was rolled out in Monash IVF clinics in May 2019.… MORE

Classics scholar slams transhumanism in new book

Books about transhumanism seem to fall into two categories: glowing with enthusiasm and glowering with indignation. Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism, by Susan B. Levin, an expert in classical philosophy at Smith College falls into the latter camp.

Advocates of transhumanism are on a quest to raise human IQ so high that beings with these higher cognitive capacities would exist on a higher ontological plane. Some even believe that humanity's self-transcendence through advancements in science and technology may even be morally required. Consequently, Levin believes, the stakes of how we respond to transhumanism are immeasurably high.


After all, what is really wrong with apotemnophilia?

Long John Silver managed pretty well 

Apotemnophilia is one of those words which may be useful in Scrabble© but seldom come up in day-to-day discourse, let alone medical practice. However, it is an increasingly contested issue in bioethics, though better known as BIID, Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder, or the amputation of healthy limbs.

BIID is a rare psychiatric condition in which people know that their leg (for instance) is normal and healthy, but still feel that it is not part of their identity; they want it cut off, even though they realise that they will become disabled. Oddly… MORE

Do amazement, wonder, and awe have a place in bioethics?

If it were to be written The Varieties of Bioethical Experience would be a book as big as a telephone directory. There is Islamic bioethics, feminist bioethics, utilitarian bioethics, indigenous bioethics, principalist bioethics, Catholic bioethics, Marxist bioethics, conservative bioethics, black bioethics, progressive bioethics, queer bioethics, and so on and on.

Writing in the journal Ethics & Behavior, Australian bioethicist Margaret Somerville has outlined another variety – the bioethics of wonder. The article is a personal reflection on her 40 years in bioethics and medical law in Canada and Australia which distils the main themes of her research. She writes:


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