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Bioethics is the philosophical study of the ethical controversies brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, philosophy, and theology.

Although bioethical issues have been debated since ancient times, and public attention briefly focused on the role of human subjects in biomedical experiments following the revelation of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the modern field of bioethics first emerged as an academic discipline in the 1960s. Technological advances in such diverse areas as organ transplantation and end-of-life care, including the development of kidney dialysis and respirators, posed novel questions regarding when and how care might be withdrawn. These questions often fell upon philosophers and religious scholars, but by the 1970s, bioethical think tanks and academic bioethics programs emerged. Among the earliest such institutions were the Hastings Center (originally known as The Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Sciences), founded in 1970 by philosopher Daniel Callahan and psychiatrist Willard Gaylin, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, established at Georgetown University in 1971. The publication of Principles of Bioethics by James F. Childress and Tom Beauchamp—the first American textbook of bioethics—marked a transformative moment in the discipline.
During the subsequent three decades, bioethical issues gained widespread attention through the court cases surrounding the deaths of Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo. The field developed its own cadre of widely-known advocates, such as Arthur Caplan at the University of Pennsylvania, Glenn McGee at SUNY Albany, and Jacob M. Appel at Brown University. In 1995, President Bill Clinton established the President’s Council on Bioethics, a sign that the field had finally reached an unprecedented level of maturity and acceptance. President George W. Bush also relied upon a Council on Bioethics in rendering decisions in areas such as the public funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

Purpose & Scope

The field of bioethics addresses a broad swath of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life (eg. abortion, euthanasia) to the allocation of scarce health care resources (eg. organ donation, health care rationing) to the right to turn down medical care for religious or cultural reasons. Bioethicists often disagree among themselves over the precise limits of their discipline, debating whether the field should concern itself with the ethical evaluation of all questions involving biology and medicine, or only a subset of these questions. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Others would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain, and include within bioethics all such actions if they bear a relation to medicine and biology. However, most bioethicists share a commitment to discussing these complex issues in an honest, civil and intelligent way, using tools from the many different disciplines that "feed" the field to produce meaningful frameworks for analysis.
The term of Reproductive Ethics refers to ethical issues which are in the field of reproduction like IVF, PGD, Embryo researches, Donation, Embryonic Stem Cells, Sex Selection, Cloning, IPS, …
The main focus of Royan Institute is on Reproductive Ethics.

Areas of health sciences that are the subject of published, peer-reviewed bioethical analysis include:
Animal rights
Artificial insemination
Artificial life
Artificial womb
Assisted suicide
Blood/blood plasma (trade)
Body modification
Brain-computer interface
Confidentiality (medical records)
Contraception (birth control)
Euthanasia (human, non-human animal)
Feeding tube
 Gene therapy
Genetically modified food
Genetically modified organism
Great Ape Project
Human cloning
Human enhancement
Human genetic engineering
Infertility (treatments)
Life extension
Life support
Medical malpractice
Medical research
Medical torture
Moral obligation
Organ donation (fair allocation, class and race biases)
Pain management
Patients' Bill of Rights
Population control
Prescription drugs (prices in the US)
Procreative beneficence
Professional ethics
Recreational drug use
Reproductive rights
Sperm and eggs (donation)
Spiritual drug use
Stem cell research
Transplant trade


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