Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i'm trying to be more well rounded


let me preface this with the fact that i'm EXHAUSTED and i've started drinking to ease my pain...

today i attended a conference/meeting type thing... (it's the first day of 3 days) on the... well, it's called 'the "healthy" embryo'. it's the last in a 5 year running meeting and the theme of this year's meeting is about what IS an embryo, what does it MEAN, and what the hell is HEALTHY or NORMAL anyway...

a series of lawyers, art historians, social scientists and otherwise presented a lot of really crucial information to us today. it's really easy to get caught up in the science, and the pathways, and the workings and limits of embryos and assisted reproductive technologies, and other than writing up the grant application perhaps never really thinking about the societal impression or impact on such an activity.

for example, one lawyer from california talked about ownership of an embryo... so, a woman can abort a fetus if it impinges upon her personal freedoms, she can choose to evacuate an unwanted embryo/fetus and choose the outcome (ultimately death), but in a recent case, a procedure in which the fetus was partially born to complete the abortion was challenged, stating that the fetus is no longer her property and her rights subside when it its LOCATION is outside of her body. in this way, legislation seeks to control the rights of an EMBRYO (you may or may not know this, but when a couple goes to a fertility clinic for IVF, many extra embryos are produced for the purpose of not having to go through multiple cycles should the procedure fail... although most women still do, which is not relevant here, point is... there are EXTRA embryos produced). so, these extra embryos, who owns them, who decides their fate, who can have them if the parents don't want them.

a researcher from the UK who looks at the fate of these embryos in switzerland was saying that the couple ultimately decides whether to donate them to research for their destruction or if they are to be destroyed within the facility, or (as most women choose) to have the embryos inserted into their vaginas to die where they would have naturally. we sort of all gasped, but i can see the rationale. anyway...

this is BORING, i realize, but i really loved it. LOVED it... and i feel like i have a broader understanding of the gravity of my work, what it does and does not mean, and how it ultimately impacts society.

3 comments:

Field Notes said...

I would have loved hearing about that stuff too. But then again as an evolutionary type, I am really into the whole reproduction thing :D Outside of that, property rights issues of any kind fascinate me.

alicia said...

"started" drinking? ;)

Punchanella said...

why do i lie, right alicia?

and feild notes: you should have come today! it was so amazing hearing franciose baylis speak about the ethics of human/animal interspecies embryo treatments and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. very tied into evolution. :)