1. An Emotional Story, An Absurd Fate

Jennifer this week published a closeup look at so-called spare, surplus, or leftover embryos. She begins with a recent embryo custody case in Arizona, and ends by quoting the Catholic encyclical Donum vitae. In between she covers a lot of ground. Well worth your time to read.

It almost always starts with an emotional story…the depth of real human emotions connected to having children and building a family, and the ways in which human lives are affected by a justice system that seeks to do what is right in the midst of a true ethical mess. As with all embryo custody battles, there are never any winners. There are plenty of losers, though, and the embryos have the most to lose by far.

2. In the Midst of a Busy Week

On Wednesday of this week, Jennifer posted a quick Facebook Live video about a number of activities coming up for us here at the CBC. Take a look!

3. Ongoing Eggsploitation

This week marked the anniversary of the release of the updated and expanded edition of our award-winning film Eggsploitation. Young women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.” But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health?

Last weekend, Newsweek ran an article revealing how relevant the film remains. From “Fertility: Why We Need a Registry for the Long-Term Risks of Egg Donation:”

The risks women face from becoming egg donors are unknown. And we can’t know the risks because long-term studies with a large population of women who have donated eggs have not been done.

Have you seen Eggsploitation? It’s available on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, and DVD…you know, all the usual sources. If you’ve seen it, let us know what you think: info@cbc-network.org. If you haven’t seen it, why not? And, if you’ve donated or sold your eggs, we’d love to hear your story. Email us at stories@eggsploitation.com.

4. Right to Die –> Duty to Die

The Albany, New York, Times Union this week ran an insightful op-ed on the ways in which a right to die quickly slides into becoming a duty to die.

The only way to prevent the ‘right to die’ from becoming a “duty to die” is to reject the “right to die” from the start. Anything else places the most vulnerable, the elderly and especially the disabled, on an already well-greased slippery slope.

5. The Paul Ramsey Institute

As Jennifer mentioned in her Facebook Live video, this weekend marks the first meeting of the 2017-2019 cohort of Paul Ramsey Fellows. We founded the Paul Ramsey Institute in 2012 to build a training program that would uphold and further the great legacy of Paul Ramsey (1913-1988), who is regarded by many as one of the most important ethicists of the twentieth century. He anticipated many of the moral challenges we now face in the realms of science and medicine, and pioneered a thorough ethical analysis of these challenges.

The Paul Ramsey Institute brings together leading thinkers in the field of bioethics with current graduate students, medical students, and early-career academic and medical professionals in order to prepare and equip these future leaders with an approach to bioethics that is grounded in moral responsibility.

In the few short years since we began, our Paul Ramsey Institute alumni have received various tenure track positions at schools and universities throughout the United States as well as a Rhodes Scholarship. Several are publishing in prestigious journals and publications throughout the world.

I invite you to learn more about The Paul Ramsey Institute, the current cohort of Fellows, Alumni, the Institute’s Scholars, mission, and values.


Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, our 2014 Ramsey Awardee, has just begun a new post at Georgetown, the inaugural André Hellegers Professor of Biomedical Ethics. The Georgetown University Medical Center ran a brief profile of Dr. Sulmasy featuring his work and approach to bioethics. In it, he expresses exactly the qualities the Ramsey Award Committee found to merit the Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics.

“It’s disquieting to think about our mortality and our limits, to think about the limits of medicine, to think about the limits of human life itself,” Sulmasy said. “On the other hand, it is a grave error not to think about these questions and it has led to very serious ethical problems when we care for dying patients.”

“While the end is always sad, it is also clear that everything that lives dies and that includes human beings and if we’re really to flourish, we have to find ways to flourish as mortal beings and that means thinking clearly about how we care for each other at the end of our lives,” he said.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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