Why allow surrogacy if commercial organ transplant is banned, doctors ​ask

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: An ongoing seminar organized by the Catholic Church is drawing attention to several loopholes that exist within controversial medical practices like euthanasia and surrogacy.

Leading medical doctors, most of them belonging to the Christian faith, have joined a symposium on the 'Gift of Human Life' being organized by the Archdiocese of Bombay at St Pius Seminary in Goregaon. The event from October 17-19 engages doctors, nurses and theologians in a debate on mercy killing, surrogacy, artificial reproduction and contraception among other topics.

On Saturday, experts debated Indian laws that guarantee the protection of life as well as the ethical principles followed by Catholic healthcare institutes. Dr Pascoal Carvalho addressed the moral issues surrounding surrogacy and artificial reproduction while Dr Susan Sodder brought before them the "legal traps" that exist in this field. She said, "In a country that has banned commerce in organ transplantation and blood, why the double standards of allowing surrogacy? Underprivileged women are exploited and the so-called win-win situation is a smokescreen to the harsh and complex problems of surrogacy. Worldwide, surrogacy has been banned by most countries. It is not an honour (for India) to be called the surrogacy capital of the world. In fact it is more a matter of shame. We need to give dignity to motherhood in India."

Dr Sr Beena spoke about contraceptive chemicals and devices that could endanger a woman as well as her unborn child while Dr G D Ravindran highlighted the moral dilemmas of life promoting vaccines. Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala who heads the tissue bank at Tata Memorial presented the ethical challenges of stored tissue. Another interesting facet came from Dr Egbert Saldanha who discussed whether prenatal screening and diagnosis can influence the way a mother cares for the foetus. Dr Harish Shetty pointed to the need to build an emotional defence to stave off the threat of suicide, while other doctors debated the need to put terminally ill patients on life support systems.

Sunday's programme will offer pastoral solutions to the menace of pornography.

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