Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Bioethics/Biotech, Science & Technology, Science, Technology & Religion

Radio NZ – Ideas – Human Embryo Research

Radio New Zealand’s National Radio programme Ideas (part of Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw) was a discussion on human embryo research in New Zealand, looking forward to the discussion over the next few months in NZ over policy. Featured a panel discussion including a good friend on mine, Graham O’Brien, and touched on a range of issues.

I hope the broadcast will be repeated at a later time, because many of those within the Christian community who might have been stimulated to think about these issues will have been in Sunday morning worship. (And, on the whole, bioethical discussions rarely, if ever, seem to feature in many congregations’ Sunday morning fare.) Still, the audio is available for the next month from the links at the bottom of the post.

From the “Ideas” web site,

6th August – Embryo ResearchTo do or not to do…that is the question? And when is a human being a human being? That is the other question.

Undertaking research on human embryos might enable us to understand more about human development, discover cures for debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s or be able to repair spinal cord injuries through the use of embryonic stem cells. But this is at the cost of a human life. Or is it?

The perennial questions about the beginning of human life are once more at the forefront as we debate the issue of whether to use embryos for research or not. And if New Zealand decides we will, then the next question is where will the embryos come from? They could be leftover embryos from IVF treatments, they could be created in the laboratory like they are for IVF treatments or scientists could use nuclear transfer techniques commonly known as cloning.

How does a society get consensus on this? How much pressure are scientists under to come up with answers to how and why debilitating diseases affect some people and not others?

Guests on the programme include:
– Professor Sylvia Rumball, Chair Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology and Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee
– Dr Richard Fisher, Co-Founder Fertility Associates
– Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Otago University
– Dr Graeme O’Brian, Spokesperson for the Interchurch Bioethics Council.

Related links:

1 Comment

  1. I should have guessed you know Graeme… that title for him is rather interesting in Nelson he is often reffered to as the guy studying for ministry at St John’s though i think your titl gives him much more credibility.

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