Historic first trial of euthanasia doctors begins in Belgium

Tine Nys (centre) with her two sisters 

Next Tuesday commences an historic trial in Belgium – the first time that doctors have faced criminal charges over euthanasia since it was legalised in 2002. Three of them have been charged with illegal poisoning. If convicted, they face stiff prison sentences. The deceased was a 38-year-old woman, Tine Nys, who died in 2010.

Three doctors are in the dock: the doctor who administered the lethal injection, Nys’s former general practitioner and a psychiatrist. None of them has been identified publicly. Prosecutors allege that under the existing law Nys… MORE

Canadian hospice could be defunded because it opposes euthanasia

A small hospice in British Columbia risks losing public funding over its continued opposition to Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), in a row that has attracted widespread media attention in Canada. 

MAiD has been legal in Canada since 2016, but the Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, B.C., has refused to provide the service. Instead, patients seeking euthanasia have in the past been transferred to other hospices that will provide the procedure.

In November 2019, a newly elected board of the Delta Hospice Society reaffirmed the hospice’s policy on MAiD, stating that the philosophy… MORE

Ethical questions over IVF research outsourced to Mexico

It’s highly unusual for a journal to publish a research paper accompanied by an editorial and a guest commentary expressing grave reservations about its ethics.

But that’s what Human Reproduction did with a study of a more cost-effective version of IVF.

The researchers recruited dozens of young women from the Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Coast, and paid them US$1400. They were given fertility drugs to stimulate the production of eggs and artificially inseminated. Then 4 to 6 days later, the embryos were flushed out and examined.

The researchers wanted to see whether the embryos were… MORE

Will ectogenesis liberate women from patriarchal tyranny?

Women will never be free until they have been freed from the tyranny of reproduction. This was the audacious claim made by 1970s radical feminist Shulamith Firestone. This utopia seemed unimaginably distant then, but technology could make it a reality with ectogenesis, or artificial wombs, contends Kathryn McKay, of the University of Sydney, in the journal Bioethics.

a foundational piece of women’s oppression is the conceptual link to female reproductive function, and this link should be targeted for destruction. … ectogenesis holds the potential to radically challenge dominant notions of gender categories and family roles by allowing us… MORE

What’s wrong with a virginity test?

rapper T.I. 

If you follow the American rapper T.I. on social media, you’ll know that he has unconventional views on women. For instance, when asked about the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton, he said that the Loch Ness monster had a better chance of being elected: “the world ain’t ready yet”.

That, naturally, landed him in hot water, but it was nothing compared to his admission that he accompanied his daughter, now 18, to her gynaecologist every year to check whether she was still a virgin. “Right after the birthday we celebrate,” T.I. said during a… MORE

Surrogacy agencies flock to Taiwan after legalisation of same-sex marriage

American surrogacy agencies have flooded into Taiwan after the legalisation of same-sex marriage in May last year. Commercial surrogacy is still illegal there, so the agencies arrange IVF and surrogates in the relatively unregulated United States.

According to a report in The Japan Times, “hundreds of gay couples are willing to pay up to $140,000 to start a family — almost 10 times the average annual salary”

Men Having Babies, a New York-based non-profit that helps gay men become fathers through surrogacy, hosted its first conference for prospective Asian gay parents in Taipei in March.

About 320… MORE

China to crack down on violence against doctors and nurses

A female doctor, Yang Wen, was stabbed to death at Beijing Civil Aviation General Hospital on December 24. Her attacker was apparently the son of a patient. It’s not the first time this has happened. The Chinese government is trying to crack down on violence against medical workers but it is an on-going problem.

Under a new law to take effect on June 1, those "disturbing the medical environment, or harming medical workers' safety and dignity" will be given administrative punishments such as detention or a fine. It will also punish people found illegally obtaining, using or disclosing people's private… MORE

Hungary to offer free government IVF to reverse declining population

Hungary has taken a dramatic step to reverse its below-replacement birth rate: it has nationalised six IVF clinics and plans to offer citizens completely free fertility treatment. The government’s long-term goal is to raise the current birth rate from 1.48 per woman to 2.1 by 2030.

Hungary, like many European countries, is suffering from demographic decline, but the anti-immigration stand of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government precludes increasing the population by allowing foreigners to settle there.

According to official statistics, fewer and fewer children are born in Hungary every year. The most recent figures show that 74,064 children were born… MORE

Testicle transplant opens up new medical markets

A Serbian-US surgical team transplanted a testicle from an identical twin to a 36-year-old man born without testes in December.

The surgery was performed at the University Children’s Clinic in Belgrade. Because they have the same genetic make-up, there will be no need for the recipient to take immune-suppressant drugs.

The surgeons were unable to connect the vas deferens, which transports sperm out of the testicles. If the recipient would like to father children, it might be possible to do this later. Sperm could also be harvested from the testicle or the twin’s sperm could be used.

This is the… MORE

Canada becomes world leader in organ donation after euthanasia

Although Canada was a late starter in legalising euthanasia (or Medical Aid in Dying) in 2016, more than a decade after Belgium and the Netherlands, it has become a leader in combining it with organ donation. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in the world “to proactively reach out to those who had been approved for assisted death to discuss donation”, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

“When a death is imminent, whether through a hospital or MAiD, Trillium [the organisation which oversees organ donation] must by law be notified.”

“The decision to pursue MAiD is totally separate from the decision… MORE

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