Friday, August 21, 2015

More reasons to do IVF - The expanding role of the IVF specialist

In the past , IVF specialists would primarily treat infertile couples - couples who could not have a baby because of a medical problem, such as low sperm count or blocked tubes . Today, there are lots more reasons for doing IVF, and these are expanding every day.

One big medical group is for the prevention of genetic diseases, such as haemophilia or thalassaemia , where we use the genetic technology of preimplantation genetic diagnosis ( PGD) which allows us to ensure that we transfer only genetically normal embryos. As our genetic knowledge increases, this group will increase by leaps and bounds.

Along with extending the use of IVF for medical reasons, we are now also using IVF for lots of non-medical reasons .

One group of patients are those who do IVF for lifestyle reasons. These are ambitious power couples, who are so busy  climbing the corporate escalator, that they don’t have time to have sex. This might seem amusing, and some people might even find it sad that they need to resort to doing IVF to have a baby, but this is a well-thought decision they make for themselves, because they find IVF cost effective, given the fact that it saves them time. The second group is those who do IVF for social reasons . For example, these are ambitious young women who want to postpone childbearing because they want to pursue a career . They therefore choose to freeze their eggs, because they know that as they get older, their fertility will decline, and they want to be able to have their cake and eat it too ! This is conscious decision they make, which allows them more control over their reproductive fate, so that biology is no longer destiny. This is an example of how women are using reproductive technology to expand their reproductive choices , and just like contraception allows them to choose how many babies to have and when to have them , IVF technology also allows them to postpone childbearing , so they can have babies when they are ready to. They now have more control over their life.

The other group is lesbians, gays and single women, who want to have a baby to complete their family and need to use IVF to do so. Many orthodox people may find this uncomfortable, but the world is becoming more tolerant and pluralistic, and people should be free to choose for themselves.

Finally, we have the celebrity copycats, who want to do IVF because they find out that this what celebrities like Aamir Khan and Sharukh Khan are doing, and they want to follow in their footsteps.

While some of these “ indications “ for doing IVF maybe controversial , there is very rarely a black or white answer , and people should be free to decide for themselves . Of course, just because we can do something doesn't mean we should be doing it ; but on the other hand , just because we may not personally approve of single women doing IVF, we should not infringe on their right to choose for themselves.

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