Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics
Bioethics provides an overview of the legal, medical, and ethical questions around reproduction and human genetics and how to apply legal reasoning to these questions.
This law course includes interviews with individuals who have used surrogacy and sperm donation, with medical professionals who are experts in current reproductive technologies like In Vitro Fertilization and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, and bioethicists and journalists who study the ownership and use of genetic information within human tissue. Additional Harvard colleagues will also share with you their thoughts on topics such as disability law as it relates to reproductive technology.
While the law and ethics surrounding these technologies are a central component to this course, we also show you examples of the deeply personal and human side of these issues. Throughout the course, and with the help of law students, we will discuss leading legal cases in this field, which will illuminate the types of questions the law has struggled with – stretching and evolving over time. From the famous Baby M surrogacy case, to cases on the paternity of sperm donors, to a case related to the ownership of human tissue turned into a commercial product, and others. We will show you the ethical, legal, and rhetorical underpinnings, which have served as the basis for various court decisions over the past 20 or 30 years. We will also explore potential future technologies and their implications for society: genetic enhancements to increase our intelligence, let us live a hundred years longer, or make us immune to diseases – and the possibility of creating animal-human hybrids, for example a mouse with a humanized brain.
Upcoming start dates
- Self-paced Online
Who should attend?
Course delivery details
This course is offered through Harvard University, a partner institute of EdX.
1-2 hours per week
- Verified Track -$149
- Audit Track - Free
Certification / Credits
What you'll learn
- How the reproductive technology industry works, and issues raised related to buying and selling human reproductive materials
- The law and ethics of surrogacy
- Civil lawsuits when things go wrong with reproductive technology: wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits
- The law and ethics of sperm donation and the legal status of sperm donors
- Ethical and legal issues raised by human enhancement
- The law and ethics of mixing human and animal genetic material
- The ownership of human tissue and its underlying genetic information
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