A Conversation with Dr. Leon Kass
The Ethical Dimensions of in Vitro Fertilization

  • Title:

    A Conversation with Dr. Leon Kass
  • Paperback ISBN:

    0-8447-3345-8
  • Paperback Dimensions:

    6'' x 9''
  • 22 Paperback pages
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A Conversation with Dr. Leon Kass: The Ethical Dimensions of in Vitro Fertilization is the edited transcript of a discussion of the ethics and policy issues of research on so-called test tube babies. Dr. Kass is a leading authority on ethical issues in medical research and practice.

In his presentation and in the ensuing conversation with AEI scholars and guests, Dr. Kass suggests that in vitro fertilization raises two larger questions: What should the role of the federal government be in regard to morally questionable or socially problematic research? and should the federal government continue to encourage the highly technological approach to disease and dysfunction represented by such techniques as in vitro fertilization?

The views Dr. Kass expresses in this conversation include the following:

  • "The policy question is not whether such research should be allowed, but whether the federal government should become its patron. My opinion is in the negative."
  • "Gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease are perhaps the leading causes of tubal obstruction in women--they account for probably a third of the cases. It would be curious if, with the aid of federal support, we had a program of petri-dish babies before we had a vaccine against gonococcus. That strikes me as bizarre."

In March 1979 the Ethics Advisory Board of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare advised Secretary Califano that basic embryo research--including laboratory creation of embryos--was ethically acceptable under certain circumstances. This conversation with Dr. Kass wrestles with the same thorny questions that went into this decision.

Leon R. Kass is the Hertog Fellow at AEI.

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Leon R.
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