March 1, 2024

Doctor Horror

Hi there,

I can bumble along in Spanish, French and
German. But that means that bioethics news in other languages flies beneath the
radar. Fortunately I did stumble across the bizarre case of Roger Abdelmassih,
Brazil’s first and best IVF doctor. This luminary is now hiding in Lebanon
after having been convicted of raping 39 patients. In Brazil, the media has dubbed him “Doutor horror”, Doctor Horror.

But now, to the horror of his 8,000 patients,
it appears that his extraordinary success rate may have been achieved by
substituting sperm or eggs from other patients. Did he use his own sperm? It
wouldn’t be the first time.

Come to think of it, how do patients know
that this skulduggery is not happening all the time in IVF clinics, especially
in countries without strict safeguards and a tradition of high professional
standards? They don’t. They just have to trust their doctor. I admit that I
don’t know much about the field, but I suspect that assisted reproduction is
one area where paternalism lingers on.

If you are a reader in a non-English-speaking
country, please alert me to developments so that I can share them with other
BioEdge subscribers.


Michael Cook