Doubting The Wisdom of IVF

A trio of pieces on the new reproductive technologies:

Stanley Kurtz says it's an

earthquake of a book

laying bear (without judgment) the infertility industry and its odd practices: shipping American sperm to be injected into Romanian eggs, which are cheaper to acquire, then shipping the resultant embryos back here; how much of its business comes from homosexuals; "reduction" of fetuses; and the high percentage of pre-term and seriously handicapped babies that result from IVF treatments. Stuff like that. Kurtz notes that these two very liberal papers seem shocked by what they're reading. Kurtz recommends we all compare and contrast what she says about marriage and family structures thanks to fertility treatments and what David Blankenhorn says about marriage in his new book.

  • Then here's a third review of Mundy's book, this time from Slate, which summarizes: The fertility industry has been far better at inventing awe-inspiring technology—and selling it to the public—than it has been at counseling patients about the risks of procedures and how these technologies will shape families, sometimes in ways they didn't anticipate.

I soured on "reproductive technologies" the summer (many moons ago, & as yet unbaptized) I worked as a receptionist in what was at the time the leading infertility clinic in the nation. We didn't do IVF, although the guy in the next office did. At that time they'd implant 7-11 embryos in the hopes that one would "take." With "reduction" of fetuses later. Eew. Never had any part in that, thanks be to God.

What sent me over the edge was the woman who did repeated cycles of fertility drugs for close to a year, and on the order of $120,000. Then she conceived --and opted to abort the child because her company had just transferred her to Japan. That spoke worlds to me about the mentality we cultivate with reproductive technologies (not that fertility drugs per se are wrong, I should clarify. But most folks who aren't successful conceiving in that way move on to IVF as if it were a mere intensification of the same thing). The mentality of having the right to a child is something even the Slate link talks about in the second half of the piece, which reviews a different book.