Saturday, 18 January 2014

We have IVF technology why shouldn't women use it?


The Chief Medical Officer has put on her official frown and wagged her finger at women:

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said she was concerned about the “steady shift” towards women choosing to postpone starting a family until their late 30s and early 40s, reducing their chance of conception, and increasing their medical risks. 

To be fair to Dame Sally, this was just a warning that fertility declines with age and IVF doesn't always work (I suspect most women sort of know this). However, the result is some weapons grade fussbucketry from Lara Prendergast in the Spectator:

Like it or not, women must stop seeing fertility treatment as a lifestyle choice. It is wonderful that such treatment exists, but to see it as a ‘quick fix’ is wrong. Selling people fertility on the tube suggests we have taken a step in the wrong direction.

Why on earth not? Women live, on average, into their eighties providing more than adequate time to successfully raise a child to adulthood. And I don't think that fertility treatment represents any sort of 'quick fix' - it's intrusive, risky and the results are uncertain.

Presumably Ms Prendergast hasn't hit the point of panic - perhaps if she does she'll understand that, for most who use it, IVF treatment isn't some sort of cosy lifestyle choice but the consequence of careful discussion, stress and the failure to conceive.

So if there is technology that can help women in their 40s conceive, why on earth should judgemental fussbuckets like Ms Prendergast think it OK - without the first thought about women using these services - to suggest that somehow these women shouldn't think about having a baby. And worse to suggest they should have got pregnant when they were younger?


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