Posts Tagged ‘ ethics ’

DNA Testing of Parents to Paint Picture of Babies’ Health Before Birth

Friday, June 8th, 2012

A blood test for pregnant women and a saliva test for expectant fathers are all researchers now need to map out nearly the entire genome of a fetus, according to a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.  The New York Times reports:

The accomplishment heralds an era in which parents might find it easier to know the complete DNA blueprint of a child months before it is born.

That would allow thousands of genetic diseases to be detected prenatally. But the ability to know so much about an unborn child is likely to raise serious ethical considerations as well. It could increase abortions for reasons that have little to do with medical issues and more to do with parental preferences for traits in children.

“It’s an extraordinary piece of technology, really quite remarkable,” said Peter Benn, professor of genetics and developmental biology at the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the work. “What I see in this paper is a glance into the future.”

Image: DNA test, via Shutterstock.

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Toy Company Hasbro Named a ‘Most Ethical Company’

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Hasbro, the company that makes such popular toys as G.I. Joe, Monopoly, Transformers, and My Little Pony, has been named one of the 2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME) by The Ethisphere Institute, the company announced Monday.  Hasbro joins Intel, GE, eBay, Starbucks, and Time Warner on the 145-companuy list, and it is the only toy or play company to be named.

“A strong ethical foundation is a competitive advantage, and Hasbro recognizes the important role corporate responsibility can play in improving its bottom line,” said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute, in a statement. “As more and more organizations strive for this honor each year, Hasbro’s inclusion as a World’s Most Ethical Company for 2012 demonstrates its industry-leading commitment to ethics and dedication to integrity.”

Image: My Little Pony toy, via

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Minnesota Boy’s Letter Sparks Internet Search for Stolen Bike

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

A Haro Pro Race bike, similar to the one stolen from Culley Larson

A 10-year-old Minnesota boy is appealing to his community to help him recover a treasured bicycle that was stolen from his garage this week.  The letter has piqued the interest of far-reaching Internet sites including Yahoo Shine, sparking a Web-wide search for the bike, and asking people to think about bicycle theft in their own areas.

Tim Engstrom, the managing editor of the Albert Lea Tribune newspaper, which printed the letter, told Yahoo the letter is a powerful plea from a small child: “At first you think it’s an ordinary bike being stolen and then you realize this is the kid’s passion— his parents take him every Wednesday about an hour from home to ride this bike in a certain area.”

Here is the letter, reprinted from the Albert Lea Tribune:

Hello, my name is Culley Larson, and I am 10 years old and live in Albert Lea. This past Saturday someone stole my BMX bike out of my parents’ garage. I love this town, and I am sad that people steal other kids’ bikes. This is something I do not understand.

I am writing this letter to ask for your help. If you have kids, look to see if you have a bike at your house that does not belong to you. Parents, please ask your kids if any of their friends have a new bike lately? If you do not have kids, be on a lookout for anyone who has gotten a new bike the past couple of days. If you see the bike, call the police. If you have the bike, please bring it back.

I am willing to use some of my own money that I have saved as a reward to get my bike back. I know other kids get their bikes stolen. I have read it myself in the newspaper. I am hoping my letter will not only help me, but maybe help other kids also get their bikes back. I hope 10 other kids also get their bikes back. If they do we can have a celebration and call it “get your bike back day.” It would be the best day ever!

A kid getting their bike stolen is like a grown up getting their car stolen. My bike is a Haro Pro Race bike with a black frame and white seat and white handle bars. My parents take me to Mankato every Wednesday to race on a dirt trail. This bike is very specific to the sport and has special tires. This is my summer sport, and I cannot race the track on my legs. I need my bike.

I have said a little prayer for my bike. I hope God is listening. I also asked God to help someone to make the right decision. I love my God, I love my family, I love my bike.

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IVF Sweepstakes Sparks Debate in Britain

Monday, July 11th, 2011

To HatchA British charity called To Hatch has garnered much media attention this week for its lottery-style contest in which the prize is a free cycle of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the procedure that helps many women with fertility problems become pregnant.  The prize has a value of £25,000 (around $40,000) and would cover a single cycle of IVF, or other procedures the winners might require, such as surrogacy, donor eggs or sperm, or artificial insemination, up to the value of the prize amount.  Only residents of Great Britain are eligible to participate.

The charity is selling £20 (about $32) raffle tickets through its website, under a license agreement granted by the country’s Gambling Commission.  The contest is open to singles, as well as straight and gay couples. Identity verification, fertility counseling, and medical qualifications (including age) will be required of the winner, the charity said on a FAQ page of its website.  The contest launches July 30, and a winner will be chosen each month.

Some ethics groups expressed dismay at the contest.  Reuters reported:

Britain’s fertility regulator, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said using IVF as a prize was “wrong and entirely inappropriate.”

“It trivializes what is for many people a central part of their lives,” it added in a statement.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said “creation of human life should not be reduced to a public lottery … this demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.”

The charity responded that it welcomes the debate but stands behind its decision to offer hope to the estimated 1 in 7 British couples that experience infertility.  “We understand that there will be skepticism especially when this is a ground breaking global premiere…. We are extremely thankful that we have opened the debate on infertility globally and to highlight that infertility itself is a medical condition,” To Hatch’s website states.

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