Mitochondrial inherited disorders are progressive and may cause very severe disease, suffering and premature death. They are inherited from the mother and can be caused by aberrations in the mitochondrial DNA. Novel techniques are being developed that may provide a possibility to prevent children from inheriting the disorders from their mothers. The techniques involve replacement of damaged DNA with DNA from healthy donors in the process of IVF. The ethical issues that are raised by this new technology will be highlighted in an open seminar hosted by the Council.
On 28 February, the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics presented a new report on assisted reproduction. Topics that are explored are, among others, surrogate motherhood, embryo donation, social egg freezing and age limits concerning fertility treatments. The ethical analyses are accomplished by the Council´s recommendations on several matters. One of the main conclusions is that it is time to allow new treatment possibilities in Sweden.
The 8 of November the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics arranged a seminar on the theme autonomy, patient empowerment and integrity. During the seminar various topics were discussed including possibilities and risks of new technologies, patients’ different access to health care information and choices, paternalism and patient centered care.
The 2 of November the Danish Council of Ethics released a new report on genetic analyses, supplemented with the Council’s recommendations. One of the recommendations is that people seeking genetic tests should be offered a ‘genetic counselor’ who can advise them about the ethical dilemmas they might face after taking a test. A few weeks earlier, the Ethics Council of U.S. released a report on whole genome sequencing and privacy.