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The following reading presents true cases that raise the issue of what the legal status of frozen embryos should be. Study the cases

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Case Study: Rules for Frozen Embryos.

Now that the field of medicine offers new possibilities for conception, more and more infertile couples are trying techniques in advanced technology in order to have children. Success with techniques such as in vitro fertilization have brought much happiness to many families, but at the same time, this new technology has caused a great deal of suffering to many other families. The laws are incapable of dealing with many of the new dilemmas posed by this new technology, and rules for the handling of frozen embryos, in particular, must be established.

Along with the Davises' case, there have been many other cases in which the definition of, and future for, frozen embryos has been unclear. For example, a couple who had entered an in vitro fertilization program in Norfolk, Virginia, moved from their home in New Jersey to a new home in California. The wife, Mrs. York, had had three unsuccessful implants with her frozen embryos in Virginia. When the couple arrived in California, they requested that their remaining frozen embryos be shipped to Los Angeles' Good Samaritan Hospital, where Mrs. York's new doctor would supervise her fourth attempt at implantation. To the couple's surprise, the institute in Virginia denied the couple's request and refused to send them their embryos. Apparently, the couple had signed a consent agreement that gave them no rights to die embryos outside the institute. The institute claimed that the Yorks had only four choices: they could return to Virginia for another attempt at implantation; they could donate their embryos to another couple; they could give up their embryos for scientific experimentation; or they could have the embryos destroyed.

The Yorks tried to get a written order from a court of law to demand that the embryos be sent to them. But the judge refused their request and ordered that the case be tried by a jury the following fall. Time, however, was a critical element for the Yorks, as Mrs. York is 39, and in vitro implants become significantly more difficult for women over the age of 40. In addition, the Yorks' embryo had been frozen for 24 months and the longest recorded freezing of an embryo that was successfully implanted in a woman is 28 months. This case has raised the issue of embryo ownership once again, as well as whether or not the donation of embryos is an appropriate alternative when a couple can no longer use them. Some people view this type of donation as the same thing as selling children. In addition, the use of embryos for experimentation shocks many people, but it is clear that experiments with embryos could provide a better understanding of hereditary diseases.

In another case, the issue of the rights of embryos has been raised. A wealthy California couple who wanted to have a child sought the services of a fertility clinic in Melbourne, Australia. Elsa Rios, 37, had been treated with fertility drugs and had successfully produced three frozen embryos with the sperm from an anonymous donor, as her husband, Mario Rios, was infertile. One embryo was implanted in Mrs. Rios'^ uterus while the other two were frozen for later use. Unfortunately, she spontaneously aborted the embryo that had been implanted. Feeling upset by the whole experience, Mr. Rios decided to wait a while before trying to become pregnant again.

Then, a year or so later, the Rioses were killed in a plane crash. They died without wills but with an estate worth $8 million. The only family "survivors" were the two frozen embryos. Not surprisingly, many women from Australia, as well as from abroad, volunteered to be impregnated.

Many people got involved in the case. The state assembled a committee, headed by a law professor, which concluded that the embryos should be destroyed. At the same time, the Australian right-to-life movement and the Catholic Church recommended that the case of "orphan embryos" be presented to the legislature. The legislature then passed a law that guaranteed the preservation of frozen embryos, in case another infertile couple wanted them. It is still not clear whether or not the Rioses' embryos will survive if they are thawed, hi die meantime, the California courts have refused any inheritance to the embryos, based on die California state law that requires beneficiaries to an estate to be born or in utero at the time of the parents' death.

This case has raised the issue of when and how we decide what should be done with an embryo in the event of death. Another issue raised by this case is the question of an embryo's viability. Should frozen embryos be destroyed after a certain amount of time? Today, frozen embryos cannot last that long. But what will happen in the future if, for example, die period of viability of frozen embryos becomes indefinite? It may become difficult to determine where people are from and what their relations are. What if a man and woman from donated embryos married without realizing that they were, in fact, brother and sister? There are only some of the implications of our new technology?

1) Translate into English using the vocabulary of the article below: экстракорпоральное оплодотворение, неспособный к чему-либо, дилемма, эмбрион, устанавливать правила, вступить в программу, проводить наблюдение/ надзирать, имплантация, подписать договор о согласии, поднять вопрос/ проблему, пожертвование/ дарение, наследственные заболевания, матка (у женщины), донор, иметь выкидыш, оплодотворенный, законодательный орган, сохранение, бенефициар/ получатель, быть в утробе, жизнеспособность


2) Find the word in the text:

a) fertilized egg embedded in uterine tissue in the process of differentiating into tissues and systems

b) a procedure in which the genetic parents' egg and sperm are mixed in a Petri dish to fertilize

c) to have a miscarriage; to remove a developing baby from a woman's body, so that it is not born alive, or to be removed in this way

d) someone who gives blood, sperm, eggs, or a part of their body to be used in the medical treatment of someone else

e) the part of government that makes and changes laws. The other parts of government are the executive and the judiciary

f) the organ in a woman's body where babies grow. A less technical name for this is womb

g) a disease passed from a parent to a child in their genes

h) to be in charge of an activity or a place and to check that things are done correctly


3) Translate into English:1) Современная медицина ставит множество новых проблем перед обществом и законодательными органами государства.2)Благодаря процедуре ЭКО, многие бесплодные женщины и мужчины получили шанс иметь своего ребенка. Пары охотно вступают в программу, несмотря на то, что процедура длительная, дорогостоящая и не всегда успешная. 3) В последние десятилетия женщины все чаще откладывают беременность как можно дольше. Когда, наконец, они решают забеременеть, то часто сталкиваются с осложнениями, выкидышами и даже бесплодием. Поэтому некоторые женщины заранее замораживают свои яйцеклетки, чтобы впоследствии ими воспользоваться.4)Не будучи уверенными, что они способны дать все необходимое ребенку, молодые пары не желают заводить детей, пока не достигнут финансовой независимости и высокого уровня жизни.5)После землетрясения больницы были переполнены пострадавшими, и велся повсеместный поиск доноров крови.6)В нашем университете установлены правила о запрете курения на всей территории университета и кампуса, кроме специально отведенных мест.7)В 21 веке генетика достигла такого высоко уровня, что позволяет не только избавить будущего ребенка от наследственных болезней, но и моделировать его набор генов по желанию родителей.8)Прежде чем мы проведем процедуру имплантации, вам придется подписать договор согласия на то, что за пределами этой клиники вы не имеете никаких прав на эмбрионы.9)Если женщина неспособна выносить ребенка, пары прибегают к услугам суррогатных матерей.

4) Discuss the following questions:

1) Are the Davises and the Rioses cases the same or different? Why?

2) What ethical issues concerning frozen embryos are raised in the text?

3) Put yourself in the role of an ethic committee member who has been asked to establish rules for the handling and disposition of frozen embryos. Consider the reasoning of all the parties: doctors, the public and the church. Draft your rules and present them to the class.

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