A researcher in a lab views a sample in a microscope while two other researchers look on

The Ethical Conundrums of Ultra-personalized Drugs

By Sarah Alawi

There has long been a debate about the potential ethical conflict between the role of the clinician and that of the clinical researcher. On the one hand, the overriding ethical obligation of a clinician is to maximize the individual patient’s health; on the other, the overriding ethical principle of the researcher is to produce socially useful research, with the consequence that, at times, it may require subordinating the best interests of the individual to achieve the greatest public good.

Although some have called into question the utility of this framing, the concept of ultra-personalized medicine is pushing this debate even further. The idea of ultra-personalized medicine – or “custom drugs” – is not new. As NHS England puts it, although “clinicians have been working to personalize care… throughout the history of medicine,” technological and scientific advances mean that never before has it been possible to move to an era of “truly personalized care.”

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Illustration of a pregnant Muslim woman in a hijab sitting cross-legged in front of plants

Egg Freezing Permissible in Islam, According to Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta

By Sarah Alawi

Dar Al-Ifta, Egypt’s Islamic body, issued a statement earlier this month on the legality of egg freezing under Islamic law following a controversial Facebook post by an Egyptian woman, Reem Mahana, on her decision to freeze her eggs.

Mahana said she froze her eggs for “the simple reason” that she wants to build a family when the time is right: “I cannot guarantee when exactly I will get married… I totally reject the idea of getting married to any man [only] to have a child.”

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Photograph of surrogate showing parents-to-be ultrasound pictures

What happens when assisted reproductive technology agreements break down?

By Sarah Alawi

My name is Sarah Alawi; I’m an LLM Student at Harvard Law School, from New Zealand. I am excited to contribute to the Petrie-Flom Blog as a Petrie-Flom Student Fellow. My area of interest is assisted reproductive technology (ART), although I intend to use this forum to write on a broad range of medico-legal issues in the bioethics sphere. This post introduces my specific research interest in ART disputes, and concludes with a recommendation for anyone considering ART.

ART is a growth industry and yet, despite the sophistication of new birth technologies, its use depends on functioning human relationships. Commonly, parties try to define these relationships using pre-conception ART agreements. During my fellowship at the Petrie-Flom Center, I intend to write a thesis on what should happen, in terms of the parties’ rights at law, when three common forms of ART agreements break down:

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