This is a Very
good academic essay."
Scientific technology developed these days and at the same time, medical method of finding out whether the unborn child or even the fertilized ova potentially has a genetic disorder or not are now available by the using preimplantation genetic diagnosis. It is true that the improvements of medical technology, especially the preimplantation genetic diagnosis, take great role in today’s medical science; however, there still exist many unavoidable disputing points on this issue. In order to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis appropriately, people should not use it for sex selection because it could lead to the new type of eugenics. However, it should be used for avoiding of the habitual abortion. Even if these two uses the same procedure, people have to be mature enough to understand the appropriateness of the use of the procedure on each issue. The reason is that, sex selection could lead to a new type of eugenics, but habitual abortion is a danger to the mother, and there is no reason to prohibit applying preimplantation genetic diagnosis in order to protect the mother. In other words, people should use preimplantation genetic diagnosis appropriately by using the procedure for sex selection but for the habitual abortion. This essay will show two different types of decisions made by Dr. Otani, the director of the Otani obstetrics and gynecology Kobe, in the context of sex selection and habitual abortion, and consider the differences between these two decisions made by him, and provide another dimension of the issues relative to these problems.
The decision which Dr. Otani made using preimplantation genetic diagnosis for sex selection made a negative effect on using of this procedure. Preimplantation is a occurring or existing before implantation of a fertilized ovum in the wall of the uterus, especially between fertilization and implantation (Oxford English Dictionary). Therefore, preimplantation genetic diagnosis is one of the ways of giving the diagnosis to the patient (or unborn infants/fertilized ova) whether the patient and/or in this case, the unborn baby has a genetic problem or not. A controversial discussion is taking place for preimplantation genetic diagnosis. On 5th February 2004, Japan Times reported that Kobe maternity clinic performed sex selection of the unborn using a controversial genetic diagnosis method on in vitro fertilized ova from two women, contrary to the directives of a medical society. At that clinic, Dr. Otani started undertaking the preimplantation genetic diagnosis, intended for the prevention of genetic disorders. The Obstetrics Society of Japan was considering whether to apply the preimplantation genetic diagnosis to the muscle dystrophy then, apprehending that getting information from the genetic diagnosis might lead to discrimination according to the operation the doctors and parents might take after they found that the baby has potential genetic disorders or not. The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology compiled guidelines restricting use of the technique, specifying it should only be used to prevent serious, incurable hereditary diseases, Japan Times noted in the same article. The restricting use of the technique is on behalf of preventing the unnecessary discrimination in the society that could happen by using the preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Moreover, Dr. Otani performed the preimplantation genetic diagnosis not only to the sex selection but also to the habitual abortion.
Applying preimplantation genetic diagnosis to habitual abortion is acceptable and should be approved. Habitual abortion which is as known as recurrent pregnancy loss or recurrent miscarriage is the occurrence of the repeated pregnancies that end in miscarriage of the fetus. Yomiuri Online noted on 24th August, 2007 that miscarriage occurs 10 to 15% of the total pregnancy, and if the miscarriage repeats more than three times, doctors diagnoses it to be the habitual abortion. Miscarriage is harmful not only to the mental aspects but also it does physically: it hurts the uterus and causes an adhesion of the uterine. The rates of adhesion of the uterine jump up from 18.8% for the first miscarriage to 47.6% for the repeated miscarriage, the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Network reports. When uterine adhesion happens, there occur some other problems such as sterility, another miscarriage, and so on. Moreover, preimplantation genetic diagnosis is technically not an “abortion” because doctors run some tests before the patient get pregnant. The patient does not have to prepare for the pregnancy if the fertilized ovum was found out to be miscarried. Thus, preimplantation genetic diagnosis does not necessarily women to go through labor if they find out in vitro that the signal that the ovum could lead to miscarriage. Moreover, mothers even do not get pregnant so that they do not have to hurt them physically and mostly mentally at all.
On the other hand, sex selection should be prohibited in order to prevent the new types of eugenics. However, Dr. Otani performed sex selection by preimplantation genetic diagnosis as written in the quoted article above. The problem is that the method applying to the sex selection encourages and leads to the new concept of eugenics. The medical society of obstetrics and gynecology has not approved the method for sex selection because of this reason. The same argument occurred when the method was applied to the genetic diseases such as muscle dystrophy, and Down’s syndrome. Dr. Otani stated in the article that, “I wanted to perform it for the women hoping it would help eliminate abortions. I wanted to offer my patients the best treatment… I was aware people would not get approval of the medical society, even if people applied for it, because of the tight restrictions. So I decided to perform the diagnosis secretly.” It is a big problem that Dr. Otani knew it was inappropriate procedure, and what is worse, he tried to keep it secret. It is obvious that what he was trying to do was totally against the moral code of doctors, but to see from different dimension, an important aspect came up from his comments to the reporters. He said “I wanted to perform it for the women hoping it would help eliminate abortions…” This comment means that there are some pregnant women who go through the abortion because she and/or her husband could not have a baby with the desired sex. The way of thinking that, “people can choose sex” or “people have the right to choose sex” are one of the eugenics. Those are based on the concept that “male/female is superior to the other.” However, in fact, no one should have the rights to do so and no one could be defined as superior to the other only by their sex. People should not have the rights to choose sex, what people could have is that to accept the sex, and adapt it to the society. Some might say that it is not against moral code because it does not kill anyone, because the mother has not even got pregnant. Indeed, discarding the eggs is not killing human beings in Japan. However, the point is whether it is about the eugenics or not rather than discarding fertilized eggs are equal to killing a human being or not. In other words, this is not about sex and gender problems or religious matters; it is about the “moral code” which humans should have in mind together with the development of the scientific technology.
This essay had shown that Dr. Otani had broken the rule of the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Japan, by using preimplantation genetic diagnosis procedure on both habitual abortion and sex selection. In sense of “moral code”, habitual abortion should be avoided by using preimplantation genetic diagnosis in order to prevent mothers being hurt from abortion both physically and mentally. What is more, sex selection using preimplantation genetic diagnosis should be prohibited in order to prevent new types of eugenics. Sex selection is no more a discrimination, but already eugenics. Science has developed greatly and its on going improvements are sometimes faster than us being mature, in sense of moral code, living with the science. What people have learned from the history that the concepts of eugenics are always problematic and questionable, and in that sense, people should be aware that sex selection could lead to the new types of eugenics, and therefore those lessons should be applied appropriately to what we do in the future.
So, what do you think?