Monday, June 13, 2005

The Morality of Ovarian Transplants

Query for readers of this blog: what are your thoughts on the morality of ovarian transplants, a technology which is has already had some success between indentical twins, and could very well become even more common, if the technology allows.

There are a number of significant moral issues which may be relevant. For instance, would the act of having an ovary removed for a non-life threatening reason be contraceptive? (Typically, ovaries discharge ova in alternating cycles; so it might be that a woman would only be fertile every other month; on the other hand, perhaps the remaining ovary would release an ovum monthly instead of bi-monthly. I'm sure there is an answer to this, considering that women have ovaries removed.) Or perhaps not, considering that the intent need not be to avoid conception.

What about a child conceived after receiving another woman's ovary? Is there anything problematic about the fact that the ova were another woman's? Or is it little different (morally speaking) than adoption, the difference being that the father is literally the father, and that the child is conceived by the (adoptive?) mother?


NB: based on the limited reading I've done on this so far, it isn't clear to me that an actual ovary is transplanted; in what I've read, reference is made only to "ovarian tissue," and not to "ovary" or "ovaries". But IIRC, it isn't possible for a woman's body to grow new eggs (she only has those with which she was born). So what exactly is the referent of "ovarian tissue"?

HT to G.

No comments: