An invitation that has outraged the scientific community. It is the proposal of a Norwegian professor: to use the bodies of clinically dead women for surrogacy. L’item appeared in the journal of bioethical medicine Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics and it’s getting the outrageous reaction from many women on social media.
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Using clinically dead women for surrogacy? The article
The article, published in November of 2022, is entitled Whole Body Gestational Donation and proposes the concept of using the entire body of vegetative women as surrogates for “future parents who wish to have children but cannot or prefer not to gestate”. Written by Anna Smajdora professor of practical philosophy at the University of Oslo (Norway), the piece indicates that it may be possible to use donated bodies of women for gestational purposes in the same way donated organs are used.
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“I suggest that if we are happy to accept organ donation in general, the issues raised by gestational whole-body donation are differences in degree rather than substantial new concerns,” Smajdor writes in his abstract. “As with many surrogacy arrangements, commissioning parents may prefer to create an embryo for implantation using their own or donor gametes.”
— Vaginasaurus Hex 💚🤍💜🏁▼ (@rachelh1711) January 31, 2023
Referring to earlier theories by Israeli medicine professor Rosalie Ber, Smajdor believes that the bodies of female patients in persistent vegetative states (PVS), or those who have suffered brain death, could be used as incubators for “all the body” for surrogate children. “[Ber] proposed that female patients in a persistent vegetative state who had given prior written consent could function as surrogates: the embryos would be placed in the woman’s uterus and carried to term,” says Smajdor.
What is the vegetative state
The vegetative state is that moment in which patients show no signs of perception and communication or self-awareness. Because the brain stem is unaffected, those in PVS may still be able to breathe on their own and demonstrate some forms of consciousness, including opening their eyes, experiencing sleep-wake cycles, or making facial expressions. Patients can recover from a vegetative state, but it is classified as persistent or permanent after a period of time has elapsed. Brain death, on the other hand, is the loss of all neurological function following a severe trauma or injury. According to the National Kidney Foundation, patients diagnosed as cerebral have no brain reflexes and are unable to breathe on their own. Brain death is considered “legal” death. In Smajdor’s theory, women affected by PVS or brain death would be kept functionally “alive” as long as they are pregnant, but she compares this to traditional organ donation.
I say this sincerely: I can imagine few things more horrifying, dystopian, and signifying of total societal moral collapse than harvesting the bodies of dead women and keeping them functionally “alive” as surrogates. Surrogacy must be eradicated.
— Tom Farr (@uracontra_) January 31, 2023
“The prolongation of ventilation and somatic survival in brain dead patients is undoubtedly a disturbing prospect. [La donazione gestazionale di tutto il corpo] it involves treating the patient’s cadaver as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The patient goes from being the focus of medical concern to being a repository of tissue that can be used for the benefit of others. Prolonging the ventilation period exacerbates our awareness of this,” he writes. “Yet this is already part of our organ donation process. Organ donors are almost invariably patients who have already been ventilated, as part of their medical treatment. If the patient is considered a suitable organ donor, ventilation will be continued along with other interventions to ensure that the organs are maintained in optimal condition for transplantation.”