I generally agree With the proposed statement as a whole, but I believe that the latter-part of the statement is not as cut-and-dry. First of all however, it is Important to have a good. basic grasp of what infertility treatment is before we can discuss its ethical and legal aspects and consequences. This essay is organized into four sections; first we define what infertility is and its treatment, then identily and discuss the ethical issues surrounding it. then what does the law say and what role lawyers play in this arena.
and finally a short conclusion to bring It all together. Infertility and Infertility Treatment In a nutshell infertility is the inability for a couple to conceive a child. Primary infertility involves couples who have never had a child, whereas secondary infertility is the failure to conceive following a successful, previous pregnancy. In the United States, a couple is eligible for treatment if they have not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free sexual intercourse.
For women over 35, that threshold is capped at Just 6 months. Treatment of infertility relies on its cause. but will most likely include counseling, drugs and more involved fertility treatments such as IVF (inevitrofertilization). Treatment can be categorized into 2 groups; medical accompanied by supplementary treatments and alternative treatments, in many cases, certain treatments from both of these groups overlap, depending on the indivrdual situation. There are a few steps couples can take at home before undergoing expensive fertility procedures. A medical, at-home conception kit (device with cervical caps) can enhance probability, but it is not commonly prescribed or recommended by doctors.
There is also something called a baby assessment kit that can help gauge a couples chances of success With infertility treatments before they commit to it (it helps answer the question.
Are you a good candidate?). If these atrhome remedies are not fruitful, then couples turn to the more conventional medical treatments. which involve the use of medications (as described above), medical devices, surgery or a combination thereof. Moderate medical treatment can include iust prescribing an ovarian stimulating drug and the use of a cervrcal cap through intrauterine insemination, or IUI. In this scenario. fertilization takes place inside the woman’s body. If these first-level methods still fail to produce a full-term pregnancy. then physicians suggest the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The most popular and results-producing ART technique is in»vitro-fertilization, or IVF; whereas the ovaries are stimulated to increase egg production. After this Initial step, the doctor surgically removes 1 or more eggs from the ovary, and unites them with the sperm in the lab, With the intent of producing one or more embryos. In this case, fertilization takes place outside the body, after which the fertilized egg is then reinserted into the woman‘s reproductive tract; this is a procedure called embryo transfer.
Major Ethical Issues Surrounding Infertility Treatment Tens of thousands of healthy babies are born annually as a result of IVF and other infertility treatment methods, much to the delight of their parents. All couples with infertility problems should, however, make their decisions aware of related laws (in their state) and With respect to the ethical principles that are attached It is important that they value human life and human relationships ,not only the prospective parents, but also any donors, carriers and of course the doctors and their medical team. There are many, many ethical dilemmas to discuss here, and Iwill touch on all of them, going into detail on some more than others. Inlertility clinics and centers are private businesses, and the extremely high costs of treatments means they are often financially out-oI-reach Ior most couples seeking help.
On average. it costs between $12,000,00-17,000.00 per cycle, where multiple cycles are almost always needed for success. Is this fair to the infertile couple who simply cannot afford these astronomical costs? Of course it is not. Infertility treatment, including IVF, should be made more accessible and affordable…a movement that would benefit all parties involved. Related to costs. is of course the question of whether health insurance companies should be required to cover all or part of infertility treatment serVIces. Infertility is a legitimate and serious health problem and should be included in private health insurance plans and even public coverage such as Massachusetts’ program. Another ethical issue worthy of debate IS the fact that IVF and the drugs involved result in a spike in multiple births, premature births and other health problems (for example, the drug cIomiphene increases your chances of having twins or triplets).
Is this what the parents initially wanted or intended? It is not always, What about prerimplantation gender selection? Do we, as human beings, have the right to choose whether we have a boy or a girl? What of the cases where there is no father involved (sperm donor)? The one that most people would recognize is that of Nadya Suleman of California, who in 2009, gave birth to 8 babies at once, after receivmg IVF treatment. Nadya was not married at the time. and there was no male father ligure for the children. nor did she have a lo she benefited from the frenZied media attention the story garnered. These are honest, well-grounded questions to consider before deciding to bring a new lifeor in Nadya‘s case Binto this world. Having said all this, we still haven‘t touched the two biggest and most controversial matters swirling around infertility treatment and especially IVF. First, we’ll discuss the ethical problems and moral obligations doctors, the scientific research industry (university research hospitals) and the medical industrial complex are facing and need to own up to.
Ves, infertility treatment is a forrprofit business but like all others, it too should be regulated by local and state governments (laws protecting consumers), as well as be selfrregulated. Too often, doctors look to conduct a “bank account biopsy” when determining whether to take on new clients or not. Also unethical is the limitless number of embryos doctors are Willing to implant into a woman‘s womb. Currently. there are no state laws (although many states have bills/legislation pending) limiting this practice, even though there is consensus among bioethicists that a large number of embryos poses a health risk to the woman; simply her womb is not physically suited or big enough to carry a large number. This continued abuse by doctors, who see dollar signs dancing in their heads, is borderline medical malpractice. Many doctors void any human element regarding the embryos and don’t allow themselves to have human feelings and emotions towards these unused embryos; wearing their ‘scientist’ cap, the doctors and their medical team see IVF as a technique where the scientific method is applied and only efficiency is sought.
There is no question collusion is taking place between doctors and the scientific research Industry (for profit), spearheaded by unrversrty and hospital research interests, Is the practice of medicine being diminished to a business, in this case? Are these doctors still centered on helping their patients, or are they only trying to sell a sen/ice? Now we get to the mother issue of them all: embryonic stem cell research. This is an area that stirs up the deepest emotions and intellect from all segments of society but is mostly debated in the theater of religion and politics. At heart is the question. “When does human life begin? Is an embryo considered human life?” The well-funded and well»organized pro»|ife movement is passionately and vehemently opposed to the destruction of embryos (and thus their stem cells being used for research). The sticking point has to do with what happens to the unused (kept frozen), healthy embryos.
Do they become unnecessary alter the woman has a successful pregnancy? Should they simply be discarded, or offered up for research and experimentation, or given to other infertile couples who want them? They are human life, are they not? What about the ethical responsrbility of the parents involved? They Willingly know that the majority of the embryos they bring into life Will not be used. These are all salient questions that must be asked and addressed. The LaW and Infertility Treatment The medical and technological advances in infertility treatment and the social controversies accompanying them are like an outrofrcontrol high speed train barreling towards a downtown metropolis. Given the way our political and legal system works, it is no surprise that the law is still playing “catch up” With the science here. This has created a serious legal challenge in our socrety, thus establishing a new branch of law called reproductive law.
This area of law is much like a quilt, where a handful of states (U.S.) have updated and amended their own laws governing and regulating inferti ‘ y treatment. while the majority haven’t done anything, and in these states, this medical practice is like the Wild Wild West of the 18005! One of the most prevalent and glaring quandaries is finding clarity and consistency With current reproductive law in the different states. In particular, in vitro fertilization (IVF), which has become outrageously popular, has created perplexing legal questions and, as already discussed, ethical nightmares. States like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts. New Jersey and Connecticut are ahead of the curve on this issue. especially In relation to gestational carrier arrangements (GCAs), in which a third party carries to term the egg of the biological parents. In these states, the true parents no longer need to amend the birth certificate of their own child which can be a long, cumbersome and emotional experience.
It is absolutely imperative that the parties involved hire an experienced attorney, who specializes in reproductive law, and sign a legal contract that clearly outlines, in detail, the intentions of all involved. It cannot be stressed enough; the parent hopefuls must not overlook the legal consequences of these reproductive arrangements. One bright spot in this mess can be found in the court system. The courts and judges have stepped up and answered the call where law reform is still lacking and lagging. The courts recognize infertility as a serious health issue and have ruled accordingly and consistently, Lawsuits may be the way to go (if it gets that far) and. until the laws are updated. this may be the only recourse and remedy some families can turn to. In summarizing this section of the essay, there is a pressing. immediate need for individual states to speed up their reforms in the area of infertility treatment; to provide uniformity, protect consumers and regulate this fast-growmg industry.
On the other hand, though, each case can be treated on an individual basis, where the families need to take responsibility and do the necessary research before emotionally plunging themselves into a commitment. What are the laws, if any, regulating infertility treatment in my state? Who are the best lawyers/law firms specializing In reproductive law? Are my rights and needs being met in the contractl am about to sign? What have the courts In my state said (decisions) In these cases? These are the questions prospective parents need to ask themselves before gomg to the clinic or meeting With a doctor. Conclusion Consumer beware! There is no doubt that infertility among couples is a legitimate and serious health problem in our society. Infertility treatment centers and the doctors and medical teams that run them do provide a beneficial service that has helped thousands and thousands of young couples fulfill their dream of having a child of their own.
Like many other great issues of our time, the realm of infertility treatment is not all peaches and cream, There are major ethical and moral concerns that the families, donors, doctors, the legal World, the political arena and society as a whole need to sort through, The cost of such treatments needs to be reigned in, health insurance companies and plans need to cover infertility treatment, doctors and the medical research industry need to do what is best for their patient and not what is best for their pocketbook, and the parents-to-be need to think of the plight of unused embryos. States and their elected officials need to do more in terms of reforming and amending their laws when it comes to reproduction, embryos, the rights of biological parents and infertility treatments in general.
Attorneys need to step up their game as well. and become more informed on current law, court precedent and the best avenues their clients can take for a positive outcome. The courts must continue to take on these cases and rule in favor of the consumer and the couples involved. I believe in the next 5710 years, the vast majority of states Will have passed the necessary laws, the court trends Will continue, insurance companies Will cover more and more of the treatments and doctors Will be forced to ebb their moneyrhungry ways. The ethical issue of the embryos, however. may continue for a long while, because it involves the emotionally driven and volatile worlds of ideology and religion.