Monday 6 February 2023

Brain-dead women should be used as surrogates for anyone wishing to avoid 'burdens of gestating a foetus in their own body,' professor proposes

 A recent report by a Norwegian professor proposed that brain-dead women, and even men, should be used as surrogates "for anyone who wishes to avoid the risks and burdens of gestating a foetus in their own body."

According to a report published in the Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics titled "Whole Body Gestational Donation" by Anna Smajdor, a professor of practical philosophy at the University of Oslo, Norway, "Whole body gestational donation offers an alternative means of gestation for prospective parents who wish to have children but cannot, or prefer not to, gestate."

Smajdor stated that pregnancies could be carried to term in brain-dead women, and there is no medical reason it would not be possible.

"It seems plausible that some people would be prepared to consider donating their whole bodies for gestational purposes just as some people donate parts of their bodies for organ donation," Smajdor claims.

The report proposed implementing the existing organ donation framework to allow potential candidates to consent to become whole body gestational donors.

Smajdor addressed possible feminist concerns over WBGD and suggested that brain-stem-dead men could also be used for gestation, expanding the pool of potential donors.

"The prospect of the unconscious woman's body, filled and used by others as a vessel, is a vivid illustration of just what feminists have fought against for many years," the report stated. "The prospect of male pregnancy is not, as many would imagine, fanciful, or a piece of science fiction."

Smajdor admits that the proposal may be "undoubtedly a disturbing" and "disconcerting" prospect to some.

"Of course, this proposal may seem shocking to some people," Smajdor stated. "Nevertheless, as I have shown, if we accept that our current approach to organ donation and reproductive medicine are sound, WBGD donation seems to follow relatively smoothly from procedures that we are already undertaking separately."

The report argued that "pregnancy and childbirth carry significant health risks, even in affluent settings with sophisticated healthcare systems," while WBGD poses no risks to donors since they are already dead.

Smajdor claimed that pregnancy has more significant risks in terms of morbidity and mortality than measles. She argued that the medicinal industry devoted time and resources to eradicating measles but not to risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

"To expose oneself to risks comparable to pregnancy and childbirth would be deemed foolish and pathological in any other context," Smajdor noted. "Yet concerted medical efforts are focussed on ridding ourselves of measles, while women are expected to submit themselves to the greater risks of pregnancy and childbirth almost without thinking about it."

"We cannot yet forgo the uterus altogether for the reproduction of our species," the report stated. "But we can transfer the risks of gestation to those who are no longer able to be harmed by them."

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