Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is IVF as bad as Abortion?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2004 there were 134,242 ART ("Assisted Reproductive Technology") cycles performed at reporting clinics resulting in 38,910 live births of 52,041 infants. According to Wikipedia, when ART (more commonly called In Vitro Fertilization or IVF) is begun,ten or twelve eggs are usually harvested and fertilized, then two or three are implanted, of which only one is expected to survive. Statistics are very hard to come by on this, but let us extrapolate for a minute. Let's assume that the average woman going in for treatment tries it twice, meaning that 134,242 represents 67,121 women who begin ART annually. This means probably 671,121 eggs harvested each year to produce 52,041 living babies. The rest, about 618,080 fertilized embryos are — what? Thrown out? Wasted? Murdered? As good as aborted?

These numbers are shocking when you consider that there are about twice as many induced abortions annually. Think about it: one third of all embryos killed by medical science are a result of IVF.

Where is the movement to ban IVF?

Think about it: people who get abortions usually didn't want to get pregnant in the first place, they're usually stuck making a hard decision about their lives, many of them are unmarried or can't afford another child, some of them are pretty hard cases that might just deserve some sympathy from us. But IVF? That's just a calculated decision, a premeditated attempt to play at being God.

Shouldn't we do something about this?

1 comment:

John Jansen said...

One small part of my hope is that years from now, when we're all dead and gone, history will look back on in-vitro fertilization and consign it to its rightful place on The List of Really Stupid Ideas. (Conversely, it is also part of my hope that history will look at NaPro Technology and give it a rightful place on The List of Ideas That Were Way Ahead of Their Time.)

Imagine if the rapacious hucksters who provide IVF had to be brutally honest about this "procedure". Their sales pitch might sound something like this:

"Give us thousands of dollars and you may -- or, more likely, may not -- get pregnant! And, assuming you do get pregnant, we'll end up killing several of your children that we've helped you produce in a most unnatural and grossly immoral manner. And as for the rest? We'll put them in cold storage and keep them there for a uterus-to-be-implanted-in-later!"

As for your question, "Where is the movement to ban IVF?"

From a prudential standpoint, at this point in time, calling for IVF to be made illegal would be manifestly foolish. It would be akin to calling for contraception to be made illegal.

IVF clearly results in the deaths of human beings in an early stage of devleopment, and hormonal contraceptives have the potential to do so as well.

Still, calling for a ban on either (or both) would be imprudent, as one would simply not be taken seriously.

Alternatively, we would do well to look at the relative success of anti-smoking campaigns. Smoking has declined considerably over the past few decades, even though no one in the anti-smoking movement would seriously propose making smoking altogether illegal. It seems to me a somewhat similar approach is called for regarding birth control and IVF.

In light of the fact that a staggeringly high number of Americans see absolutely nothing wrong with either contraception or IVF, a ban is not the way to go.

Rather, we ought to use the means at our disposal to persuade people that they're simply not a good idea for a whole host of reasons.