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In the rush to help parents create offspring to order are childrens rights being trampled Caroline Overington meets author and ethicist Margaret SomervilleWhen it comes to in-vitro fertilisation and related reproductive technology debate tends to centre on the right of all women - single infertile postmenopausal or lesbian - to have a childPublic opinion is divided but in recent years across the globe many women have gained those rights single women have gained access to donor sperm through clinics Lesbian women have won the same right as have gay men and single dads who can use surrogates to create familiesWomen long past menopause have sourced eggs from young girls in some cases from white tertiary-educated girls who need money to pursue their education Parents have been allowed to create children of a certain sex to balance the family or simply because they prefer girls to boys or vice versa Grandmothers have given birth to their own grandchildren because their daughters are absent a womb In essence this creates a situation in which a woman gives birth to a child conceived in part by her daughters husbandParents of sick children have been allowed to use IVF to create perfect donor children Indeed this was the theme of My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult in which a couple have a child so this new daughter can give blood and bone marrow to her older sister who is dying of leukemiaAlmost all such cases chill the bones of Margaret Somerville an Australian ethicist and authorIts all the rights of the parents never the rights of the child who really have no say in the way they were created or for what purpose Somerville says We think they are biological or technological decisions In fact they raise ethical dilemmasAs humans become almost godlike in their ability to create and end life Somerville says the consequences and responsibilities are forgotten As humans we have a fierce desire to overcome and
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