1. Australian High Court Rules BRCA1 Gene Cannot Be Patented

The Australian High Court has issued a final ruling that the BRCA gene cannot be patented. Mutations of the BRCA1 gene often lead to higher risks of breast cancer and other cancers. This ruling overturns two lower level court rulings but follows similar rulings in Asia and Europe. We agree — genes should not be patented. And this is a win for patients who will have greater testing availability and affordability.

2. NY Judge Strikes Down Lawsuit Intended to Legalize Physician Assisted Suicide

Earlier this week a Manhattan judge tossed out a lawsuit that would have overturned the state’s ban on physician assisted suicide. We consider this a victory—but one that may be short lived. Following California’s recent decision to legalize the practice, all eyes are on New York State, widely considered to the next state targeted. We’ll be monitoring the situation closely.

3. Estonia Considers Legalizing Surrogacy

The Estonian Social Affairs Committee met last week to consider the country’s laws on surrogacy and concluded that they may allow altruistic surrogacy for women who are infertile. While we affirm the natural desire that many women have for motherhood, we reject the idea that it entails a right to using someone else’s body at risk to achieve such a desire.

4. New Study Deems IVF “Costly and Often Pointless”

A new study out of Quebec has deemed IVF “costly and often pointless.” The government of Quebec spent over half a million dollars unsuccessfully trying to get women over the age of forty-four pregnant. The dirty little secret of IVF is that it has an international failure rate of almost 80 percent. Meanwhile, the fertility industry gets rich while intended parents get ripped off.

5. CBC in the News: Working to Stop Surrogacy in New York State

Earlier this week The New York Post highlighted the state’s renewed efforts to legalize commercial surrogacy. We’re proud to be leading the fight against this effort and protecting women and children who will be at risk if this practice is legalized.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by IvyDawned via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director