Harvesting Dead Girl's Eggs Raises Ethical Issues

by BiancaVal on February 9, 2014 - 9:33pm

The article on “Harvesting dead girl’s eggs” by Mikaela Conely (ABC news medical unit) is about Chen Aida Ayash a young 17 year old girl from Israel who died in a car accident. After her death, Chen’s parents decide to remove and freeze Chen’s “eggs”, in other words extracting her “ova” so they can use her eggs to reproduce the children that she could of eventually gave birth to. The parents donated her organs and even went to court to request her daughters “eggs”. The parents wanted to have donated sperm to go along with the fertilized eggs in order to have a reproduction.  There is clearly two sides to this ethical issue, many people can be for it and think it is the right thing to do, and many people might be against it thinking that it is a very wrong thing  to do. Firstly, looking at the “for” side of this ethical issue, it may be the right thing to do because many family members “parents” in particular want to extract the ova and freeze the eggs and have the child because it may remind them of their own child who passed away, for them it is something beautiful. Another reason why it can be a good thing is because maybe the child/teenager who passed away may have wanted children in the future; therefore the parents want that reproduction to occur. Now, looking at the “against” side of this ethical issue and why many people might think it is wrong consists of many things. Out of many of the following reasons, the child who passed away maybe did not want any children in the future; therefore it leaves the decision of reproduction to that person only, not the parents.

      Secondly, if there is a reproduction after death from extracting the eggs, how will the newborn child feel growing up knowing it was conceived after the mother was passed away? This can really confuse the child and make things extremely complicated in the nearest future. Chen will not be around to take care of the child, and not to mention the father being a random parent to the child. It is a mystery when trying to find out if Chen really wanted her biological children to come alive after she passed away, and because the answer to this question will never be answered, this action should not be fulfilled, no one has a say in it but that person, and unfortunately that person is no longer there to have a say in anything.  My opinion to this ethical issue is that the parents do not have the right to extract her ova and eggs, freeze them, reproduce and have donated sperm. It is not their decision; it is the decision of Chen. It is completely absurd, even if Chen told them it is okay for them to do that, why would someone ever think of that and say” If I die take my eggs and reproduce”.

In my opinion it is not something that people would think of or “plan”. If the reproduction occurred, it is not fair for that child to grow up without their real mother, and finding out that they were born after the mother was dead, it is just very hard to digest. Overall, I don’t think this is legal, unless the person actually tells their parents that if something ever happened to them, they would like their parents to extract the ova and freeze the eggs; It is only okay if it is authorized by that one person, other than that no one has the right to decide, after all it is not their organs.

How would you feel growing up as a child finding out that you came to life after your mother was dead?




I am commenting on this post because I completely agree with your position and like the opinions that you stated. I think it is completely wrong for the parents to make the decision to freeze their daughters eggs after she is dead. Even if Chen did want to have children and discussed it with her parents before her death, it is not fair to that child who will be brought up knowing that her mother was dead and did not decide to have her on her own. Instead, she will learn that she was conceived after her mother passed away with a father that her grandparents randomly selected. That is extremely complicated and difficult for anyone to comprehend. No matter what Chen's parents reasoning is, I do not believe that they have the right to make that decision because Chen is an individual and her body is her body. Does anyone have a different perspective?

I definitely agree with your position in this article. I see this as an act of greed from Chen’s parents. I think it is unacceptable for parents to make this decision for their daughter especially that she died in a tragic accident and would be able to speak for herself. A child should be born out of love and grown up in a family where he/she was wanted and not created in a test tube. Not only will this child grow up not knowing why or where he/she came from but will maybe have resentment towards Chen’s parents and the burden will stay with this child forever. I strongly believe that no matter the circumstance, Chen’s body should be respected as an individual, and nobody should have the right to make such permanent decisions if she is no longer there to speak her mind. Also, I believe in fate and that we have no right to “play God” and change the future, we should just accept things the way they are.

I chose to comment on this article because the title definitely drawn me to read the article. It is not a topic that I have heard of before, when involving a deceased individual.

I am in complete agreement with you regarding the absurdity of the act performed by Chen’s parents. Harvesting their dead daughter’s eggs is unacceptable. No such decision should be taken once an individual is dead without the person’s consent. As you mentioned, it would be very difficult for the “conceived new born” to learn about the circumstances of how he was conceived or also the past existence of his mother.
What about the reason behind Chen’s parent’s decision do create her offspring? How is the child going to feel about being put into this world to keep the presence of their long gone daughter alive? Was this act supposed to be to fulfill the void of their loss?

If we were to revive everyone of our love ones in such ways to keep a part of them alive, wouldn’t that mean we would find an escape to the grief linked to death?

I am all for donating functional organs to those in need when someone passes away (if allowed by deceased), but to extract the eggs of a deceased minor to create her progeny, that I do not agree with.

Loosing someone is not easy, but it is never a good enough reason to replace that individual with another to fill in the void.

Who says they will look at him/her in a new way or simply look at him/her with Chen’s eyes?

Should making decisions on reproduction organs of a deceased be permitted in some case?

First, I have to say that the topic you choose is very interesting! It is not an issue that we used to see. I completely agree with your position. I think the parents are trying to keep Chen "alive" in a sense, by removing and freezing her eggs. Maybe the they never accept their daughter's death so they try to reproduce what her life would have looked like. According me, artificial insemination should be reserved to specific motives. It should be prioritized by the couples that are not able to have children. This technique is not meant to procreate full of children to anyone who wants to. It is to give a chance to the unfortunate people who wish to have kids more than anything else in the world. I found Chen's parents act selfish in a way. How does the child will react when he will know that his mother is dead a long time ago, and that if he is alive, it is because his grandparent decided to extract the ova of her. It is really traumatizing for the child. Furthermore, everybody want and deserve to be raised by their biological mother. It is not the case for many people and I am sure a good number of them end up very happy. However, it is not desirable. Chen's "child" will never be raised by his biological mother. People should act towards others in the same way that they would like others to act towards them.

Should we allow Chen's parents to take this action? Do you think their should have a law that limit the right of taking organs of a dead body to donation?