Thursday, June 18, 2015

Get Your Embryos Here!!

An article in a recent edition of the New York Times (June 18) concerns the issue of "leftover embryos."  In addition to enumerating the concerns regarding their preservation versus their disposal, the piece goes on to discuss the subject of the commercialization of in vitro fertilization.  Rather mind-boggling,  I thought.

California Conceptions is a company that deals in "embryo creation."  The "clinic" purchases eggs and sperm from donors "whose profiles are likely to have broad appeal - like those who are tall, thin and well educated."  The "clinic" then proceeds to manufacture embryos for sale to would-be parents.  $12,500 buys you three attempts at implantation, with a money-back guarantee if a 12-week pregnancy does not occur.  

It has been termed by some as "the Costco approach to fertility, with quantity discounts to keep costs down."  The article refers to this approach as "one step removed from a mail-order catalog."

It goes on to describe online sites like "Miracle Waiting", where availability of embryos are posted.  Typical posts:  "4 frozen babies, ready for an active fun-loving home."  "Beautiful, intelligent, athletic Caucasian embryos looking for a home."  (Sound rather like ads for pet adoption, don't they?)

Pretty soon these embryos (? humans) may be available on e-Bay or  Or maybe one will actually be able to go to Costco and pick one or two off the shelf!

Just think of all the future siblings there will be out there that have never met.......and most likely never will.  Be careful not to fall in love and marry your "twin"! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Auschwitz - The Reality Show!

"Grim Reality:  Czech TV Makes Game of Nazi Era", an article in the New York Times, (June 8) describes a new TV reality show in the Czech Republic which puts contestants in situations that existed at the time of the Nazi occupation.  Families have to experience and tolerate Nazi terror and threats, and live the lives of Czech families during that period of Czech history.  Actors portray Nazi SS officers who threaten and harrass participants.  The lucky participating families were selected from over 600 who applied.

Hey, we can do better!

How about a reality show based on life and death in Auschwitz - a show placing contestants in death-camp conditions.  We could watch them arrive in crowded boxcars.  We could enjoy the terror and anticipation as they wait to see whether they are consigned to immediate gas-chamber extinction or to  existence in crowded, disease-ridden, overcrowded unheated barracks.  We could thrill as we witness  beatings, and watch with awe as the participants try to survive on thin, cold soup and week-old potato skins.  We could follow them as they labor untold hours in freezing conditions, dressed only in thin  pajamas.  Levels of participation could include varying age groups - from babies to seniors.

Interested producers may be able to engage actual survivors to serve as consultants.  But they'll have to hurry - there aren't many survivors left!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner and Competitive Sports

So Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner.  Though Caitlyn retains testicles and a penis and is chromosomally male, her present gender identification is female.  So could a younger "Caitlyn" enter a woman's decathlon competition?  Dr. Richard Raskin, a nationally ranked tennis player who competed as a male in the 1950s and 1960s transitioned to the female side of the tour (as RenĂ©e Richards) in the 70s after undergoing hormonal therapy,  followed by transexual surgical transformation in 1975  - but only after a court order.

Should we continue to agree that all playing fields should be "level?"  Would allowing a chromosomal male, who has decided to declare himself a woman, in order to compete in the female ranks of organized competitive sports, preserve that "level field."  If so, is it wrong to permit a hypothetical amputee who has been fitted with a futuristic prosthesis, that allows a ball to be thrown at speeds over 120 mph, or to drive a golf ball or serve at tennis at superhuman rates of speed, to enter competitive sports?

Everybody should have the right to live a life of choice.  But when a male chooses to be a female, or a female chooses the life of a male there are certain truisms that are incontrovertible.  You are a male if you are genetically male and born with male genitalia.  You may choose to live otherwise - but you are who you are.  If you are black you cannot decide to be white - if you are white you cannot declare yourself black.  You are who you are genetically.  Call yourself whatever you wish to call yourself, but for purposes such as classification, birth/population statistics and competitive athletics,  genes matter.