So IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) was in the news again last week, as the Italian designer Domenico Dolce went on the record saying that he believed IVF babies to be “synthetic”. It was part of a larger attack on same-sex parents, and some of his other words have created more uproar, but that IVF comment seems to have brought some of the old attitudes about IVF to the surface. The following comments were all left on an article published by a non-tabloid UK newspaper about Dolce’s words:
Staying within the natural laws is best for everyone especially the biggest one of them all reproduction.If people go down the route of artificial reproduction they are playing with the lives of others as well as in a lot of cases the procedure is unsuccessful .It is not a god given right to have a child but a gift from God.
if nature has not taken its natural course for the 2 [egg and sperm] to meet then the parents must pay the consequences of nature
there is no right to have children. You may want to have them, but there is no guarantee that you can, or that you will.
I have heard these arguments before, and I have always believed them to be wrong. Why is it that if any other part of our bodies is broken, we use all medical and scientific techniques at our disposal to fix it, yet when it’s our reproductive systems we’re suddenly told that “maybe that’s just not meant to work for you”?
If someone breaks their leg, we don’t look at them and say “oh well, maybe you just weren’t supposed to walk”. If someone has asthma we give them an inhaler, we wouldn’t dream of telling them that breathing is a privilege and not a right! If someone has a heart problem we give them a bypass, not a cup of tea and sympathy.
Yes, the funding for the NHS is stretched. Yes lots of people can’t get the treatment they need in a timely manner for many conditions. But why is it that there is this seemingly widely held belief that a broken reproductive system should be treated differently to any other broken part of our bodies? Here in the UK we have a “postcode lottery” over fertility treatment funding – whilst NICE guidelines state that couples should have the right to three IVF treatments, some NHS trusts will only fund 1 or 2, and there are some I believe who won’t fund IVF at all.
With success rates for an IVF treatment averaging out at about 1 in 3, even an infertile couple who manage to get the NICE recommended three treatments, are likely to only end up with one child (best case scenario) at the end of it. A non-functional womb or a sub-optimal sperm count is not a life threatening condition. But it is still devastating to be told your body is not capable of making a baby without medical intervention. I’ve been there. I’ve sat in a hospital room whilst a very polite consultant has told me that our only chance of having kids was IVF. And I’ve been hugely lucky. I’ve had two rounds of IVF (which we paid for ourselves as there was a long NHS waiting list in our area), and I have two beautiful children as a result of that. And they’re not at all synthetic. They are my children, just the same as they would be if we’d have been able to conceive naturally.