Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 8

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 8

A brief review of the basic concepts of Biomedical Ethics. The following concepts will be discussed in this part:

This is a principle of medical ethics that includes the patient’s right to know the truth about their medical condition, the treatments available for their condition and the risks associated with each treatment. In the autonomous model of the relationship, it is not dependent on the good will or desire of the physician, but is an obligation. Informing about the state of health and its prognosis gives the patient the opportunity to independently and worthily dispose of his right to life.

Artificial (extracorporeal) fertilization

This is modern biotechnological method of overcoming infertility - conception in vitro (in-vitro): extrauterine fertilization of infertile, but capable of bearing a child woman’s egg with the sperm of her husband (or another man), and then implantation of fertilized eggs in her uterus. The possibility of Artificial raises a number of ethical issues: From the biological rights of the embryo to social problems e.g.,:

  1. the admissibility / necessity to preserve the anonymity of male donors or surrogate mothers for future children and their formal parents;
  2. the danger of a kind of racism if there is a possibility of targeted or random “selection” of donors who carry “better” germs;
  3. destruction/preservation of the embryo in case of possible or detected anomalies;
  4. the problem of ownership of “excess” embryos and others). At the same time, to prohibit embryo manipulation means not only to deprive some families of the possibility to have children by Artificial raises methods, but also to shut down the whole scientific field - embryology, which helps to study the genesis and mechanism of many serious diseases and look for ways to cure them.

Artificial termination of pregnancy (abortion)

This is legally, abortion has gone from being prohibited under the threat of the death penalty to being fully legalized as a woman’s right to dispose of her own body functions. Ethically there are three points of view on abortion: 1) conservative - abortion is always amoral and can be authorized only when it concerns saving the life of pregnant woman; 2) liberal - asserts the absolute right of woman to abortion regardless of the age of fetus; 3) moderate - considers abortion ethically justified only when fetus has not reached a certain stage of development and when in this concrete case there are circumstances justifying this operation.


This is ethical problems (from Greek klon, branch, offspring). Cloning is the production of genetically homogeneous offspring by means of incomplete reproduction. The developed methods of cloning animals are still imperfect:

  1. high mortality of fetuses and newborns is observed;
  2. many theoretical questions of cloning from a single somatic cell are unclear. At the same time, there is a theoretical possibility of creating human genetic copies from a single cell of any organ. However, the idea of Cloning is assessed by specialists ambiguously and is therefore subjected to comprehensive bioethical expertise. The medical-biological motivation for the ban on Cloning is primarily related to the high failure rate - damage to embryos and stillbirths in Cloning animals, which makes it unacceptable to transfer the experiment to humans;
  3. besides, in the process of cultivating cells in test tubes and producing somaclones various kinds of mutations can occur, which can lead to the increase in the human population of genetically inferior people, including mentally ill ones. Ethical considerations are connected with the fact that the result of Cloning is not the child of the parents, but the identical twin of the father or mother, which raises new moral and legal problems;
  4. there is also the danger of abuse and speculation on the misfortune of childless people. Proponents of Cloning see it primarily as a means of reproduction, which can be used by people who cannot otherwise reproduce their genes and have a child of their own as a result. As for the danger of using Cloning for immoral, immoral purposes, it is necessary to tighten the permanent ethical control over such research. To forbid human and animal cloning is to abandon an entire scientific field and the work of human thought.

Therapeutic cloning

This is a branch of modern genetics, the purpose of which is not the cloning of the whole organism, but of its individual organs for the treatment of patients, in particular for transplantation. One of the proposed methods is cloning and the use of embryonic stem cells, which brings researchers back to the ethical issues of embryonic status.

Hippocratic Oath

A set of moral and ethical standards for physician’s behavior toward patients and colleagues, including:

  1. respect for their teachers who taught them the art of healing;
  2. adherence to the “Do No Harm” principle;
  3. acknowledgment of the sanctity of life;
  4. readiness to refrain from evil deeds and corruption, to keep medical confidentiality;
  5. to devote all efforts and knowledge to strengthening patients’ health;
  6. to share knowledge with colleagues.
Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 23:41 UTC
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