18.08.2014

Ethics of ivf over 40

The first IVF clinic opened in the United States in 1983, but only in the last decade has the practice become mainstream.
In New York, a fertility boom is underway for those who have money for the expensive IVF process: In 2013, TriBeCa, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, had one of the city’s highest birthrates.
Hank Greely, a law professor at Stanford University who directs the school’s Center for Law and Biosciences, gave a talk in 2014 titled “The End of Sex,” in which he argued that sex would be used less and less as a means of procreation, and that in the next 40 years most babies in wealthy nations would be born via IVF. Christian bioethicists and couples who have gone through IVF are arguing that the church should speak about infertility more as it becomes more of an issue, and that infertility should be a topic in premarital counseling. After the Royals did their first round of IVF, which resulted in a pregnancy, some of their acquaintances started questioning the ethics of the practice.
In his day job, Davis is a professor of philosophy at Covenant College, the denominational school of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), but he’s also an ethics associate for Catholic Health Initiatives. Carson said the discussion about how to do IVF the right way amounted to three minutes of their hour-long lunch with Davis. In Tsigdinos’ first meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist, the doctor recommended that she go straight to IVF.


Few consider the ethical problems and high failure rates of IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies until they are in the throes of infertility and desperate for a child.
That’s the fertility clinics’ goal: The younger women are when they harvest their eggs, the higher the quality of the eggs, which boosts the clinics’ success rates when they fertilize the eggs and implant them via IVF. Egg harvesting, and IVF, are physically intense processes for women and have low success rates.
Few Protestant denominations take a position on assisted reproduction technologies like IVF. Following counsel with their parents and their pastor in Chattanooga, Tenn., they decided to try IVF. The Catholic Church opposes IVF entirely on the grounds that babies should only be conceived in the marital act of sex. Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos, the author of Silent Sorority, spent more than a decade doing fertility treatments, including IVF, without having any children. Generally, an IVF cycle starts with the woman taking daily hormone injections for a week or two before her monthly ovulation.


IVF has a 28 percent success rate in the United States, with success defined as live births per IVF cycle. IVF can create complicated legal situations: In California, a divorced couple is currently fighting over the custody of their five frozen embryos.
Before the Royals did the next round of IVF, they met with Bill Davis, an ethicist at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga. But Davis sketched out a Reformed approach to the technology for the Royals over an hour-long lunch. The Royals didn’t know anyone who had done IVF when they started, and they recalled googling “infertility” and “PCA.” They found emotional support from their church friends, but it was awkward to talk about initially.
She says more people should be talking about the difficulty of fertility treatments like IVF and their low success rates.



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