“Infertility time bomb: IVF children have higher risk of infertility, obesity and diabetes”, Daily Mail, 23/2. There is some evidence that infertility problems can be passed on genetically for IVF-conceived children, as well as health problems caused by the procedure itself.
“There are genetic causes of infertility that you can pass on,” said Dr. Van Steirteghem. “It means that the next generation may be infertile as well and this is something all clinics should mention to the patients – that if there is a genetic origin that this genetic origin of infertility may be transmitted to the next generation.”
Fertility treatment is so common that one child in every primary school year group is thought to have been conceived in a fertility clinic. But the growth of IVF may have come at a cost to a small, but significant, minority of children. Studies have shown that test-tube babies are slightly more likely to suffer from birth defects. Because so many are twins and triplets, they are also at greater risk of low birth weight, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure later in life. Doctors fear many IVF babies will also inherit the genetic mutations that caused their mother or father’s infertility.
So those are more problems that the public health system will pay for – which would have been unneccessary if IVF were never invented. That’s a major issue in the debate – this extra burden is preventable by banning IVF.
As usual the comments are heated (IVF brings out similar polarized opinions as abortion does). IVF in the UK and Australia is partly funded by the public health systems in both countries, which makes the issue more controversial. The point is usually raised that as various illnesses are paid for by public health care, why shouldn’t IVF be? The argument against this is that treating other illnesses don’t involve bringing another human into the world (who otherwise would not be there). IVF is unneccessary – it can’t be justified in an already-overpopulated world. At the very least, it certainly should not be taxpayer-funded.
A few comments (agreeing with my opinion):
There is a BIG difference betweem treating illness and having IVF. Yes, of course I have taken antibiotics, for ILLNESS. However, no-one has died from INFERTILITY!!! Your argument that just because people take treatment for illnesses means that IVF is necessary is ridiculous!
– linda Duncan-Adam, West Des Moines
This is what happens when humans tamper with nature – nature will always win. There are good reasons why a percentage of all mammals – including humans – are infertile. Having a child is a privilege, not a right as so any infertile couples seem to believe! Let’s hope sanity finally prevails on this issue. I resent my taxes going on NHS funded treatment for the infertile, it is an obscenity and an outrage when there are children starving in the world.
– Goldie, Sussex, 23/2/2010 4:23
Surely common sense (yet again) should prevail in this issue. Just why does nature let some couples conceive naturally and some not? Maybe because those who can conceive naturally and easily have the best genes to pass on. And maybe nature is telling those who can’t conceive naturally that there could be problems with any offspring if nature allowed them to do so. But of course, to some people, a baby is the ultimate “must have”, and so they will go to any lengths to have one.
– linda Duncan-Adam, West Des Moines
An entry on another blog annoyed me to the point of commenting – then I got castigated by some self-righteous females. Women like these seriously irritate me – they are of a leftist political view in which they think public health care should pay for everything. I am Leftist in many respects (and certainly support public health care), but my opinion diverges on this issue for previously-stated reasons. Such people are too focused on individual rights, and not on responsibilities to the society they live in.
I hate that term – “socially infertile”, as if someone who wants to become a parent so badly that they’re prepared to undergo the trauma of IVF has to justify why. It’s like the old debate on whether being gay is “genetic” or “chosen” – why on Earth does it matter? The point is that it’s not wrong, and that no-one should be discriminated against because of it. Same with those who, for whatever reason, cannot become parents without the aid of a particular medical treatment – they’re not going to apply for it unless they need it, are they? The reason is “I want to become a parent and can’t do so without this medical treatment”. It’s not a cosmetic procedure people are choosing to undergo because it sounds like fun, now, is it?
“Socially infertile” refers to lesbian couples and would-be single mothers who could otherwise concieve children naturally by mating with a man. There is no way IVF should be publically-funded for this – if they want children that badly, either adopt one – or mate in the normal fashion.