I read an article today that scared me.
The national review has a piece titled IVF Needs To Be Regulated and it speaks to the need for regulation of IVF based on a list of scenarios right out of a science fiction movie.
Biological colonialism. Three parent families. Genetic engineering of babies.
It is difficult to believe I never heard of any of these very sinister sounding IVF issues during the six years since we were in the fertility world from 1996 to 2002, or in the eleven years since.
Did some dark infertility underworld evolve in the last decade that we are blissfully ignorant of since we are finally enjoying the joy and stress of being parents to an IVF baby ?
I attended a fund raiser for infertility awareness in Phoenix about a month ago and among the 300 or so people there I failed to find evidence of clandestine IVF plots.
I met a few hundred men and women with their pets (maybe that’s what the three parent reference is about) who were passionate about raising awareness about infertility in the hopes there will be more sensitive awareness about the 7 million or so men and women couples who are willing to go to great lengths to overcome the disability (per the Americans with Disabilities Act) of infertility for a chance at biological parenthood.
Perhaps I have lived in IVF parenthood utopia so long I am not willing to acknowledge that so many of these ethical concerns are actually valid.
It is not hard to see why infertility is in the crosshairs of the pro life movement (which I always thought I was aligned with).
If they can make the argument stick that life begins at fertilization they have a lot more control over legislation passed to limit how it is used. Of course you add a ton of sensationalist national enquirer style headline concerns to woo a population of Americans that are largely unaware of infertility and you have a recipe for some powerful fear mongering.
The infertility community in general is too tired to fight given how much effort goes into each IF cycle. How many couples in the midst of all the blood draws ultra sounds and egg retrievals and transfer have the presence to fight the bills creeping out of legislatures based on these ethical concerns when they may not have even told their family about their infertility?
There are a number of reasons for me to get angry about this article, but the last sentence in the article steamed me the most: “Despite these (and other) issues, any attempt to regulate the field are throttled a’borning by the rich industry that uses its big financial war chest and the intense emotionalism around childbearing to remain powers unto themselves.”
The ‘intense emotionalism around childbearing’ is what irks the hell out of me.
The author, like me, does not have a uterus. There is only one biological purpose for a uterus—to house a child. So to minimize the inability to fill that uterus by labeling it as “intense emotionalism” is outright callous.
I’ve read ridiculous assertions that wanting a biological child so much that one is willing to pursue all medical means necessary to accomplish that goal is narcissistic, selfish and unethical. Those assertions are usually followed by two of the most ignorant words that can be uttered by anyone who has never gone through the adoption process: just adopt.
I’ve read comments that creating a child in a petri dish is making children into a consumer good, and that eventually those children will be stigmatized as IVF children.
So anyone wishing to correct a disability (like infertility is considered under the Americans With Disabilities Act) using medical science is guilty of consumerism, and will be stigmatized if they actually succeed in treating their disability to improve their quality of life?
It concerns me to read characterizations of infertility procedures written by a conservative author in a conservative online publication knowing it might reach the eyes of many of the 7 million couples trying to conceive with the help of assisted reproduction.
Many of the folks on the right, which I have always thought I was more aligned with on issues, are just, well, wrong on this one.
One final point: as far as the title “IVF Needs To Be Regulated” is concerned: I usually see ‘Board Certified MD’ or ‘Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist’ next to the doctors names at the IVF clinics I know of.
I do believe there are some rules and regulations that infertility doctors have to follow to keep those designations.
Maybe the next article in the National Review will mention that, and also reveal the secret knock that opens the door to the dark infertility world I can’t seem to find proof of.