The USA has abdicated good ethics by allowing IVF to go virtually unregulated. The consequences are profound and growing. Rather than being a medical treatment for otherwise infertile married couples, IVF has become a lifestyle enhancer permitting parents to shop for the child they want like a breed of dog, rent wombs, eugenically select out unwanted children, expose young women to the pronounced, if rare, dangers to life, limb, and fertility by selling or donating their eggs, and is insinuating the crass values of naked consumerism into family life in which the unwanted are tossed away like so much medical waste.
And now we are developing a profoundly sexist market in gender selection IVF. From the story:
MEET the doctor who is making Scots’ dreams of designing the perfect baby come true. Dr Jeffrey Steinberg reveals five couples from Scotland have travelled to his US clinics in the past year to have a £13,000 procedure which allows them to choose the sex of their child. Sex selection in countries such as Scotland is banned unless there’s a medical reason, which provides Dr Steinberg’s clinics in New York and Los Angeles with brisk business from abroad. Now couples who suffer from gender disappointment are taking out loans and even remortgaging their homes to use in-vitro fertilisation to balance their families and get the girl or boy of their dreams.
Well, so much for unconditional love. And if the doctor makes a mistake, what’s next; “wrongful gender” lawsuits?
The doctor is “saddened” that Scotland believes in gender equality:
Despite this Dr Steinberg, who is a proud dad to two girls and a boy which, he explains, were conceived “the old fashioned way”, is baffled by the British ban on sex selection. He started training to become a doctor in Cambridge and feels saddened that Britain’s scientific trailblazers had to take a step back. He said: “They were at the forefront of in vitro technology. They’ve fallen so far behind but from the political end.” But he believes there’s no point in blocking change. What sparks fear today may seem normal tomorrow.
Those rationalizations–We’re falling behind! Don’t fear change, you’ll get used to it!–excuse anything. And once the remaining few vestiges of ethical control over IVF are swept away, the next step, I predict, will be to force IVF professionals to do whatever a customer (since a lot of this isn’t medical in the sense of treating illness or dysfunction) wants–as we have already begun to see imposed against doctors who wish to restrict their fertility treatments to the truly infertile who are married.
The answer isn’t opening more doors to preference sex selection, but closing the doors that are now wide open. Hmmmm. California could ban preference IVF sex selection by voter initiative. Now, there’s an idea!