Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The baby culture

Britains fertility treatment laws are being overhauled. There are a whole bunch of issues coming up. Here are some of them. I'll give my views but really I'd like to see what people logging on here think too...

1) IVF. I don't think we should provide IVF as standard for those unable to conceive naturally on the NHS. It's massively expensive, involves enormous physical discomfort and indignity for the woman and has a very low success rate. People who aren't able to conceive naturally can apply to adopt. We should really focus on stripping away the societal pressure on women to have kids and to have kids which are biologically theirs. People who are ultimately determined to undertake the process will have to pay for it. Very little media attention is given to those women who go through the process many many times without success, the stories are always about the few "miracle babies".

2) Embryo screening and "designer" babies. Well I think we should allow screening in cases where there is a medical need, i.e. to provide a bone marrow donor for a sibling or something like that. And I'd allow it in the case of a significant family genetic problem. Would have to be a significant thing though, a major disablity, not to be used to choose blue eyes and blonde hair. Also not to be used to choose to have boys or girls. Bit tricky this one though because those people who really really want it will end up going overseas and getting it.

3) Paid-for IVF and eligibilty. I think if IVF is being paid for then anyone who wants to have it should be allowed to. It really annoys me when I see women being refused treatment because they're not married or whatever. Women are perfectly capable of deciding whether or not they are ready to raise a child. Trying to restrict fertility treatment to those we deem morally suitable for parenthood is one step away from a fascist state. I've yet to hear of an unmarried man being refused viagra so lets allow women to determine their own treatment options too.


rich said...

>> We should really focus on stripping >> away the societal pressure on women >> to have kids and to have kids which >> are biologically theirs.

Isn't this more an internal pressure than a societal pressure? 'cause the women wants a child? And people do adopt other children but it's rarer that they adopt a child when they can have children of their own... blood is thicker than water and that drive isn't going to disappear.

Cruella said...

Well it's never going to be practically possible to determine how much of the pressure is internal and how much external. I feel like there's a lot of pressure on me from society to have kids, not that I'm about to give in to it. I think the news reports things in a very biased way. Women who suffer untold indignity in order to have children are treated as glorified, while little mention is given to things like the fact that fertility treatment was what put terry shiavo into her brain-dead state before all the controversy about her started.