July 7, 2005

The latest on the embryo-yos

I guess this is officially my beat because already two people have e-mailed me about the article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune about the war on IVF (and one of them wasn't even my wife).

It has updates on the states of various battles, notably pending legislation in Kentucky that would force doctors to create no more than one embryo at a time when doing in vitro fertilization. This is the kind of thing that may sound like a reasonable compromise to casual listeners, but is in fact a de facto ban on IVF.

"If you only inseminated one egg," Richard Scott of Reproductive Medicine Associates tells ChiTrib's Judy Peres, "it would take an average of 16 cycles to get a baby." Peres provides the context: "One IVF cycle involves four to six weeks of hormone injections, ultrasound tests, blood work and a minor surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs; it can cost $10,000 or more." And that objective journalismese doesn't even begin to capture the stress, and for many people trauma, involved in going through a cycle.

It's a great article, and I'm glad the story is getting out, but I do have one quibble. Peres writes: "At the individual level, IVF raises complicated moral issues. Many patients who describe themselves as pro-life have no compunction about creating new life through the procedure, experts agreed. On the other hand, some people who describe themselves as pro-choice find they can't bear to destroy or donate their leftover embryos."

That last sentence is "on the other hand" only if you buy the lifer's propaganda that pro-choice is a euphemism for pro-abortion (or pro-embryo destruction). In fact it just means you believe people should have the right to make their own decisions, even if you strongly believe they should always decide against abortion or, more typically, if you understand that the choice is often extremely difficult to make.

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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