This is just bizarre on so many levels:
A Canadian mother has frozen her eggs for use by her seven-year-old daughter, who is likely to become infertile.
Should the girl opt to use the eggs and gain regulatory approval, she would effectively have a baby that was her half-brother or sister.
It was approved by an ethics committee because out of the goodness of her heart, the mother, “wanted her daughter to have a chance of having a baby.” Yeah…with her mother’s eggs!! Would the ethics committee feel the same way if the girl’s father donated his sperm for the same reason? It’s like some kind of technological incest only without actual sexual contact. The mother did consider the ethical concerns beforehand. Realizing the potentially awkward situation that would arise if her daughter (Flavie Boivin is her name) were to give birth using one of her eggs she wondered, “would I look at the child as my grandchild or as my own?” Ultimately, however, the desire to do something to help her daughter outweighed any ethical concerns:
“What made us sure was the fact that I was there to help my daughter. If I could do anything in my power to help her I had to do it and because of my age I had to do it now.
“I told myself if she had needed another organ like a kidney I would volunteer without any hesitation and it is the same kind of thought process for this.”
But this is nothing like donating a kidney! Infertility is not some life-threatening disease that requires drastic medical treatment such as organ transplantation. No doubt it is a devastating hardship that many women have to bear but they can live healthy lives in spite of it. Besides, adoption is always an option for childless couples wishing to give love to another human being.
And what about the child who would be born if Flavie were to choose to get pregnant using her mother’s eggs? Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, is concerned about the effect this could have on him/her psychologically:
“The psychological welfare of the baby itself has to be the principal concern.
“Such a baby would be a sibling of the birth mother at the same time as the direct genetic offspring of the grandmother donor.
“In psychiatry we are hearing more and more of children suffering from identity problems, and specifically a condition called ‘genealogical bewilderment’. Could it possibly get more bewildering than this?
What this boils down to, of course, is the seemingly helplessness on the mother’s part regarding her daughter’s situation and her desire to feel as though she at least tried to help in whatever way possible. This is symptomatic of the misguided compassion plaguing our society today – the need to “do something” to help others in impossible situations even though it may cross clear moral and ethical boundaries (such as support for cloning/ESC research). But just doing something and doing the right thing are two different things.