Part A - Report
Birthing technology – IVF
IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) has had a number of social implications on individuals. Many people are opposed to the idea of conception through IVF because it is not “natural” and can cause many problems and risks. Other people may not oppose the IVF practice but are highly critical of the current state of the present day industry. These individuals argue that the industry has now become a multi-billion dollar industry which is “widely unregulated and prone to serious abuses in the desire of practitioners to obtain profit.” For example, in 2008, a Californian physician transferred 12 embryos into a woman who gave birth to octuplets. This story made international news and led to accusations that many doctors are willing to seriously endanger the health and even life of women in order to gain money. A major legal implication IVF has had on individuals, mainly single women or lesbian women who want to go through with the IVF procedure, was the ban on all single women and lesbians using IVF constituted sex discrimination. This law was eliminated in 2007 in all states of Australia except South Australia where the law still stands that single women and lesbian women cannot go through the IVF procedure.
Social implications of IVF on families include the idea that this procedure is “unnatural” and the idea of creating a “designer baby” through the use of selecting embryos is heavily frowned upon. Many would argue that creating a baby through the use of IVF is not an appropriate way of creating life because it doesn’t involve the natural conception aspect. This social attitude can cause much stress upon a family proceeding with the IVF treatment. Stress can then lead to health problems and cause an unhealthy environment for the embryo to grow in. IVF treatment is also very expensive and this can too but financial stress on the parents. Every time an embryo is implanted, there is a cost even if the embryo does not survive. This is one of the reasons why many mothers choose to have more than one embryo implanted at a time and thus resulting in multiple births. There are also a number of legal implications that families face when they are progressing with the IVF procedure. In a few cases, laboratory mix-ups have occurred, leading to legal action being taken against the IVF provider and complex paternity suits. An example is the case of a woman in California who received the embryo of another couple and was only notified about the mistake after the birth of her son. This has led to many authorities and individual clinics implementing procedures to minimise the risk of such mix-ups. For example, The HFEA requires clinics to use a double witnessing system, where the identity of specimens is checked by two people.
Many types of communities oppose IVF. The Catholic church/Catholic community are just one of these communities who are against IVF. The Catholic community opposes IVF and any other kinds of vitro fertilisation because like contraception, it separates the procreative purpose of the marriage act from its unitive purpose. Another social issue relating to IVF is the destruction of embryos that may be holding the gene of a disability. The implications of this are that people with disabilities or abnormalities are rejected from society. This also brings up the issue of who has the right to say who lives and who doesn’t? Many would argue that destroying embryos because they have a disability or because they are not the sex the couple wants is unethical and discriminative against the disabled community and the idea of “designer babies” should be an unlawful practice. The gay and lesbian community are one who is faced with many legal issues regarding IVF. Victoria was the only Australian State that does not allow lesbians to conceive a child through the IVF procedure but this law has recently been outlawed...