Sunday, February 12, 2006

Interfering in individual's lives

It always depresses me when I find that people who I think are wise want to interfere in other individual's private lives.
Many women are infertile because of poor egg quality, and they need donor egg IVF in order to conceive. The only source of donor eggs is a young woman who is willing to provide her eggs. This can be done on a commercial basis; or an altruistic basis. Since it's very difficult to find suitable egg donors, most clinics encourage friends, relatives and sisters to donate their eggs to the infertile women, to help her build her family. This model works well, and has an excellent track record of success.
The government of India is now going to pass a law which is going to prohibit women from donating their eggs to their own sisters ! This means that the government, in its wisdom, has decided that adult Indian women will be allowed to donate their eggs to strangers, but not to their own sisters ! The "rationale" for this is that it's being done for the "unborn child's welfare". Apparently, if a child finds out that the biological source of her/his eggs is her aunt, the child will be traumatised and scarred for life ! While I can understand this viewpoint, how can the government apply it universally across all families ? Isn't it being unnecessarily meddlesome to completely take this option away from Indian women ? Aren't they intelligent enough to weigh the pros and cons and decide what the best option ( anonymous egg donor versus eggs from a known egg donor) is for themselves ? What purpose does banning this option possibly serve ?
Incidentally, the ASRM ( American Society for Reproductive Medicine) in the USA discussed the ethical implications, and concluded that egg donation from sisters is safe and ethical.
I am surprised no Indian women's group has challenged this law ! Or do Indian women feel they are really not capable of making this sort of decision for themselves, and that government officials know best ? They better wake up before things get completely out of hand. Why should the government interfere in such personal and private reproductive decisions ?

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