The Daily Telegraph

Brain-dead women could be surrogates, say doctors

- By James Badcock

DOCTORS in Colombia have been forced to apologise after being accused of endorsing the idea of keeping braindead women alive so that their bodies can be used to gestate fetuses.

The Colombian Medical College published an article that focused on a paper published in Theoretica­l Medicine and Bioethics about whole body gestationa­l donation (WBGD), whereby women consent to become surrogate mothers if they are declared brain dead.

“What about all those brain-stem dead female bodies in hospital beds? Why should their wombs be going to waste?” Anna Smajdor, a Norway-based academic, asks in her article. She also said that men’s bodies could be used.

Proj Smajdor, a professor of philosophy at the University of Oslo, said WBGD could become a common way to bring children into the world as it avoids health risks for mothers, and social stigma surroundin­g surrogacy.

Women have been known to give birth after being declared brain dead. Prof Smajdor argues there is no moral difference, in such circumstan­ces, between organ donation and surrogacy.

Jennifer Pedraza, who sits in Colombia’s parliament, described the article as “misogynist­ic. “Women are not utensils to be thrown away after use, women have human rights, even if some people forget this,” she said.

The college initially defended the article but later issued an apology, saying its only interest was “medical progress at the service of humanity [at] the highest bio-ethical standards”.

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