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Wanted: Someone to Play God

Se caut: Cineva care s ia locul lui Dumnezeu

I understand why no politician wants to get between a childless couple and the doctors who offer
an answer to their prayers. This is the longing that burns and scars so deeply that we don't know
how to talk about it and so privately that we don't want to try. But as medicine redraws the map of
what's possible when it comes to making children, we all have an interest in asking how far we
should be allowed to go.

Ineleg de ce niciun politician nu dorete s intervin ntre un cuplu fr copii i medicii care ofer
un rspuns la rugciunile lor. Acesta este o dorin care arde i las cicatrici att de profund nct
nu tim cum s vorbim despre acest subiect i att de intim nct nu dorim s ncercm pe propria
piele. Dar cum medicina redeseneaz harta a ceea ce este posibil atunci cnd vine vorba despre a
face copii, cu toii avem un interes n a ntreba ct de departe ar trebui s ni se permit s mergem.

It's a good thing that most doctors are principled professionals, since there is nothing to stop them
from implanting 10 embryos in a woman hoping to give birth to a softball team. Embryos can be
bought and sold and cloned and even implanted in a monkey's womb because this is the most
private of industries, a $4 billion business that largely polices itself. Liberals worry about egg
selling and womb rental, about poor women being exploited to help rich women have children--but
they don't want to push too hard, because reproductive freedom is a hallowed right. Conservatives
struggle to explain why they oppose using leftover frozen embryos for stem-cell research but don't
oppose their creation in the first place.

Este un lucru bun c cea mai mare parte a medicilor sunt profesioniti cu principii, de vreme de
nimic nu i oprete de la a implanta 10 embrioni unei femei spernd ca aceasta s dea natere la o
echip ntreag de softball. Embrionii pot fi cumprai, vndui, clonai i chiar implantai n
pntecul unei maimue deoarece aceasta este cea mai intima dintre industrii, o afacere de 4
miliarde de $ care se protejeaz pe sine foarte tare. Liberalii se preocup cnd vine vorba despre
vnzarea de ovule i nchirierea de pntece, despre femeile srace care sunt exploatate pentru a le
ajuta pe cele bogate s aib copii- dar ei nu vor s pun prea mult presiune, deoarece libertatea de
reproducere este consfinit prin lege. Conservatorii se zbat s explice de ce se opun folosirii
resturilor de embrioni ngheai pentru cercetarea celulelor stem, dar nu se opun, n primul rnd,
creerii acestora.
So credit two scrupulous professors for making the case that skittish politicians won't. In their new
book, Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, Princeton's Robert George and the University of South
Carolina's Christopher Tollefsen argue for treating the embryo as inviolable. Their defense, less
theological than biological, is that the embryo is a whole, living member of the human species in
its earliest stage of development, not just a potential one or a part of one--and if destroyed, that
particular individual has perished. From that conviction arise their rules for both research and
reproduction: Don't create more embryos than you will implant. No freezing, no choosing, no
storing for future use and no experimenting on them.

S le acordm deci credit celor 2 profesori scrupuloi pentru a fi adus n atenia public ceea ce
politicienii sperioi nu au adus. In noua lor carte intitulat Embrionul : O aprare a vieii umane
profesorii Robert George de la Princeton i Cristopher Tollefsen de la Universitatea din Carolina
de Sud pledeaz pentru tratarea embrionului ca inviolabil. Pledoaria lor, mai degrab teologic
dect biologic, este aceea c embrionul este un ntreg, un membru viu al speciei umane n stagiul
su cel mai timpuriu de dezvoltare i nu doar un potenial membru sau o parte a unuia- i odat
distrus, acel individual particular dispare. Pe aceast convingere se bazeaz regulile lor att
pentru cercetare, ct i pentru reproducere : Nu creai mai muli embrioni dect vei implanta. Nu
apelai la congelarea lor, la trierea lor, la stocarea lor pentru o viitoare utilizare i nu facei
experimente pe acetia.

Adopting these rules would mean that America is catching up with Europe, where governments
subsidize more of the costs and so control some of the risks. Italy and Germany forbid embryo
storage; England limits doctors to implanting two embryos, or three if a woman is over 40. Sweden
and Belgium allow only one. Many lawmakers are driven less by moral than medical concerns, for
the health of mother and baby and the costs associated with premature and multiple births.
Professional associations in the U.S. also favor limits but stress the need to treat each case
individually; they recommend a maximum of five embryos implanted in a woman over 40.

Adoptarea acestor reguli ar nsemna c America se coordoneaz cu Europa, unde guvernele


subvenioneaz majoritatea costurilor i astfel controleaz o parte din riscuri. Italia i Germania
au interzis depozitele de embrioni; Anglia limiteaz doctorii la implantarea a doar doi embrioni-
sau trei dac o femeie are peste 40 de ani. Suedia i Belgia permit doar implantarea unui singur
embrion. Muli parlamentari sunt condui mai degrab de preocupri de ordin moral dect de
ordin medical, cum ar fi sntatea mamei i a copilului i costurile asociate cu nateri premature
sau repetate. Asociaiile profesionale din SUA favorizeaz de asemenea limitarea numrului de
embrioni implantai dar pun accentul pe nevoia de a trata fiecare caz individual ; acestea
recomand un total de 6 embrioni implantai n ovarele unei femei cu vrsta peste 40 de ani.

And what of the half a million leftover embryos, which now nestle in nitrogen? "What you do with
the frozen embryos you don't use is your decision and yours alone," says the American Fertility
Association. But it is not so simple. Are they people--or property? Stored embryos have been
treated as part of an estate and the center of custody fights, like the Porsche or the puppy.
Conservatives promote adoption as an answer, but some patients don't want their genetic offspring
being raised by other people. Should they be required to keep them frozen indefinitely? Should
governments pay for custody--and have the right to decide who gets them?

Si ce se ntmpl cu cealalt jumtate de million de embrioni rmai neimplantai, care momentan


sunt adpostii n nitrogen ? Ceea ce faci cu embrionii congelai pe care nu-i foloseti este decizia
ta i numai a ta , spune Asociaia American de Fertilitate. Dar nu e chiar aa de simplu. Sunt
aceti embrioni oameni sau o proprietate ? Embrionii stocai au fost tratai ca parte a unei
proprieti i au contituit punctul central al certurilor pentru custodie, aa cum se ntmpl cu o
main sau cu un cine. Conservatorii promoveaz adopia ca rspuns, dar sunt unii pacieni care
nu doresc ca progeniturile lor genetice s fie crescute de altcineva. Ar trebui s li se cear acestora
s ptreze embrionii ngheai pe termen nedefinit? Ar trebui guvernele s plteasc pentru
custodie- i s aib astfel dreptul de a decide ce se ntmpl cu ei?

Markets have a way of meeting needs. Already, "reproductive tourists" travel to countries where
looser rules might increase their odds of success. Could patients create as many embryos as they
like and pick the best, as long as they line up couples to adopt the rest--or sell the extras to offset
the costs? This is no wild plan; in the U.K. researchers offer women reduced rates on fertility
treatment if they agree to donate half their harvested eggs for research.

Pieele din domeniu au deja un mod de a satisfice nevoile. Dj turiti de reproducere


cltoresc n rile unde regulile mai permisive ar putea s mreasc rata lor de succes. Ar putea
pacienii s creeze ct de muli embrioni doresc i apoi s-i aleag pe cei mai buni, atta timp ct
exist cupluri care s adopte restul- sau s vnd restul de embrioni pentru a compensa costurile ?
Nu e vorba de niciun plan barbar aici ; n Marea Britanie cercettorii ofer pacientelor rate reduse
pentru tratamentele de fertilitate dac acestea sunt de acord s doneze jumtate din ovulele
recoltate pentru cercetare.

Each new adult-stem-cell breakthrough makes the research easier by offering scientists more
options, but advances in genetics make the issue of reproduction harder. Couples can screen out
embryos for cystic fibrosis and cancer risk. Should they also be allowed to screen for blond, for
smart, for straight or gay? We are on a road toward reproduction that doesn't require eggs and
sperm at all. This is a moral wilderness, full of hope and traps. I don't expect aspiring parents to
bring order to it when all they want is to survive the journey and make a family. That job is surely
one for policymakers, to monitor the immense social and scientific experiment we've been
conducting in private and make sure that we weigh the risks before we embrace the promise.

Fiecare nou descoperire n domeniul celulelor stem adulte uureaz cercetarea, oferind oamenilor
de tiin mai multe opiuni, dar progresele n genetic fac problema reproducerii una spinoas.
Cuplurile pot sorta embrionii pentru a exclude fibroza cistic i riscul cancerului. Ar trebui s li se
permit s sorteze embrionii pe baza criteriilor de culoare a prului, de inteligen, de
heterosexualitate sau homosexualitate? Ne aflm pe un drum ctre reproducere care nici nu mai are
nevoie de ovule i sperm. Acesta este un pustiu moral plin de speran, dar i de capcane. Nu m
atept ca cei care doresc s devin prini s fac ordine n acest pustiu cnd tot ce i doresc este
doar s supravieuiasc cltoriei i s-i ntemeieze o familie. Cci s monitorizeze imensul
experiment social i tiinific efectuat n privat i s se asigure c sunt luate n considerare riscurile
nainte de a mbria promisiunea, acest job este cu siguran unul pentru factorii de decizie
politic.