ISF 2008 | Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Human Person

The 5th Annual International Solidarity Forum was hosted in New York City at the United Nations and World Youth Alliance Headquarters between March 26th and March 29th, 2008. Approximately 50 World Youth Alliance members from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America had the opportunity to participate.

This year’s ISF was entitled Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Human Person. Renowned experts Nigel Cameron, Margaret Somerville, Elizabeth Marquardt and William Hurlbut explored ethical questions related to gamete acquisition, surrogacy, pre-natal screening and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in light of human dignity.

Special guest presenter Karen Clark shared her experience as a donor conceived person; a particularly poignant part of the conference.

We would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations for their support of this event!

Countries represented

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • France
  • Guatemala
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • USA

See the conference schedule of activities here.

Activities included a special screening of The Human Experience by Grassroots Films.

ISF Lectures (Audio MP3 Files)

  • The Science of Assisted Human Reproduction
    Nigel Cameron, 26th March 2008
  • New Eugenics: PDG and Beyond
    Nigel Cameron, 26th March 2008
  • Would you want to be an Embryo in 2008?
    Margaret Somerville, 27th March 2008 (only part of the speech)
  • The Right to a Child and ART
    William Hurlbut, 28th March 2008
  • The International Human Market
    William Hurlbut, 28th March 2008
  • ART and Feminism
    Therese Jacob-Hargot, 29th March 2008

Participants reviews

“I liked the ISF very much. I liked the way the conference was organized in that and first we had a conference about the ART issues and then we made a declaration. I also liked the way we related to and worked with people from all over the world. That was very exciting.”

“I think it was a very important experience for me because I found out that there are lots of people with different cultures, languages, thoughts, but they all want to make a better world and defend human dignity.”

“The speakers were definitely a major highlight for me. I thought Dr. Summerville’s talk was the best because she brought the most balanced perspective on the use of ART and its possible advantages and misuses. Dr. Cameron also made me more aware of the more negative aspects of ART on the very structure of human life. Dr. Hurlbut poetically described the truth of the mystery of human life for me and Dr. Marquadt and Ms. Clark helped me understand the issues around parents rights and how if left unchecked can cause harm to children. Therese Jacob-Hargot also gave an interesting perspective on the the use of ART and its possible negative effect on women. Finally, the film by Grassroots was excellent for providing a visual story of the dignity of human life in spite of suffering.”

Learn more about these issues!

Check out:

  • “The Ethical Imagination” by Margaret Somerville (2006)
  • Sperm donors have rights too” by Maggie Gallagher (2008)
  • See the interview transcripts with Marcy Darnofsky and Joel Garreau (2007)
  • The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future

Declaration: Statement on the Uses of Assisted Reproductive Technologies