Human tissue and global ethics

Published on August 31, 2015   37 min
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My name is Donna Dickenson. And I'm Emeritus professor of Medical Ethics at the University of London. I'm going to be speaking to you today on the topic of human tissue and global ethics.
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We now have a situation where there is a global trade in human tissue. And in a book I wrote about five years ago, I called this trade body shopping. And this is an international trade, which began really as a trade in human eggs and sperm sold by private banks and IVF clinics. And I think that aspect is quite widely known, sometimes called rather flippantly, reproductive tourism. And two examples of that are this US college newspaper advertisement, which was headed, Girls sell your eggs and enjoy the night life of Chennai! The idea being that American, female college students would go to India, go to Chennai and would undergo the rather laborious process of egg extraction, at the same time would be able to enjoy the nightlife. And here's another example of this slightly flip attitude towards reproductive tourism towards the global trade. And this is from the founder of a commercial egg and sperm bank called beautiful people. And he said, everyone, including ugly people, would like to bring good looking children into the world and we can't be selfish with our attractive gene pool.