Annelien Bredenoord gives sixth Els Borst Lecture
On September 5, Annelien Bredenoord, professor of Ethics of Biomedical Innovation at the UMC Utrecht Julius Center gave the Els Borst Lecture of the Dutch Center for Ethics and Health in The Hague. The topic of the lecture: “New reproductive technology, new family constellations, new ethnical questions?”
In part due to developments in reproductive technology, the composition of families has changed drastically in the past 50 years. The contemporary nuclear family is characterized by great diversity in terms of its composition, due to numerous social and demographic developments, including the increase in the divorce rate and single households, the rise in couples who live together without marrying, and the growth in nuclear families involving couples of the same gender.
How can we deal with this development and future developments from an ethical and social perspective? What role can ethics play in giving shape to these new technological developments and options, and what are the implications for new nuclear and extended families?
In 1978, the first IVF baby was born: Louise Brown. The birth of this ‘test tube baby’ made headlines worldwide. Once it had become possible to grow embryos in the laboratory, they could also be examined. Combined with the revolution in molecular biology, this led to further scientific advances, including, in 1990, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), also known as embryo selection. Since 2015, it is even possible to genetically modify embryos in the laboratory, and researchers can already make reproductive cells from skin cells in mice.
Els Borst Lecture
The Els Borst Lecture is an initiative of the Dutch Center for Ethics and Health and is organized for the 6th time this year. The Center for Ethics and Health was established in 2003 at the request of the then minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Els Borst. Since then, the Center for Ethics and Health has identified and provided information about various ethical issues raised by new developments in healthcare. The Center for Ethics and Health is a partnership of the Dutch Health Council and the Dutch Council for Public Health and Society.
The Els Borst Lecture of the Dutch Center for Ethics and Health (in Dutch).