Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ethical Concerns About Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)

I think that older women should have the option to use unnatural ways such as assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant. I think it is a great new option that women who are older such as in their early 40's can use to become a parent. For example my aunt is in her early forties and married late. She is a wonderful person and will make the most caring mother. She desperately wanted to be a mother but could not get pregnant naturally. Now she is due in April with a child and is so thrilled. I think that parents who choose this option will often make great parents because they want to have their children so badly that they will spend a lot of energy on raising their children and their children will be important to them. I also think this is a great option for younger mothers who cannot get pregnant naturally. The mothers who go through this tedious process obviously want to have a child badly. They are bound to care very much for their child. I think that one of the most important qualities a parent should have is wanting to be a caring parent for their child. Therefore I think that this new technology will create families that are very connected and dedicated to each other and this is only a good thing. I do have an issue when it comes to mothers at the age of 6o or so giving birth. I do not think that this is fair to the child to have a child at this old of an age in life. I think that mothers should be able to use this technology until the age of late 40's or at an age where they can prove they are healthy and have the energy to care adequately for their child. Overall I am excited about the new opportunities the technology is creating for new caring happy families such as my new cousin on the way!

Taylor Faulkner


  1. Wow! Another fantastic blog has been kicked-off! I am glad it is a snowy day so I can take it all in!

    Amy R-R

  2. I believe that women who are older should not be able to use IVF in order to have a child. There must be some reason why women go through menopause, right? I feel that menopause is a form of natural selection. If women did not go through menopause, there would be a far more greater population today. It is also putting a heal risk on the unborn child because the mother's uterus lining becomes thinner, being unable to carry a baby until it is ready to be born.

    I also feel that the older the parent, the less time that child has with the parent. This means that the child might have to be set up for another type of care, just in case this parent dies during development. I think it is very negative, and there aren't too many positive aspects about having IVF at an older age.

    I also believe that egg freezing should be available for anyone. It does not matter the condition their health is in because each egg is a part of their body; they have every right to do what they want with their body.

    -Rachel Badger

  3. In response to question 1 I actually do think that older women should be able to do IVF. I think the demands of having a career and building your life don't always give you the opportunity to have children. I think it is actually responsible to wait until your ready to have children rather than rush into it. I understand that there should be some limit to the age of the woman, but I don't think it is unreasonable for a woman in her early 40's to have children. It is no more of a health risk for the child than any other woman with reproductive challenges and we don't look down upon them for trying. Young women who cannot get pregnant on their own who use IVF have many miscarriages and sometimes birth complications so I'm not sure how it is any different just because the woman is over 40.
    My mom had my little brother when she was 38 and I think it has been very beneficial for him. My mom is much more confident in parenting and he is able to have opportunities because my mom has well established her career and life. Also he has much older siblings who have been helpful in raising him and being there for him. It has been such a positive experience for my family that I cannot see ever denying that to anyone else.
    -Kayla Harding

  4. In response to question 3, I think that preimplantation genetic diagnosis is something that is hard to find fault with. How can we not want to have the healthiest babies we can? If there is a way to prevent genetic diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis, what is the harm?

    However, there is still a lot we don't know about this procedure. The babies that have been made using PGD are still young and no one can say what will happen in the future.

    There is also the problem of cost. PGD is a very expensive procedure and therefore only available to the upper classes. Therefore, the people that can afford health care won't need it as much. The poorer classes, who already struggle with health, will just be left even farther behind.

    Another issue, is the problem with chromosomes. Many genetic disorders, such as color blindness and hemophilia, are carried on the X chromosome. This allows for females to have a much lower chance of being born with either of these problems. It is very likely that parents with a high risk of passing on something like hemophilia to their child might ask for a girl just to increase their chance of a healthy baby.

    All in all, this procedure is miraculous in theory, but it needs some serious consideration. For life to continue, balance is very important, and PGD might skew the scales.

    -Grace Maskell

  5. 4.
    I sit on the fence on this issue. I believe that to an extent, choosing the sex of your baby goes against human nature and the mystery of getting pregnant yet I believe that there are circumstances where the procedure has just reasons. Like mentioned in the blog some couples may have higher chances of genetic disorders in a certain sex and would like a higher chance of having a healthy or disorder-free baby by ensuring a certain sex. Also as mentioned families may undergo treatment in order to balance the sex ratio in their families. I don’t really see this as blatant discrimination and therefore don’t really have any issues with it other than the fact that this process is an unnatural one.
    On the negative side, I would disapprove of this treatment in countries where a certain sex is highly valued over the other such as China or India. So many infant females are aborted or orphaned due to these societal patriarchal views and there is obvious discrimination here. In the case of the United States there does not seem to be any societal pull toward either gender so it looks as if the societal implications would be minimal but in these countries where the pull is so evident I do not support the procedure. The sex ratios in these countries are already tipped and allowing this process seems to lead to less fully functioning societies.


  6. I think that IVF can be a great thing. Yes, there are definately faults that go with it and there are some people that abuse the priviledge, but for the most part I think that what IVF does is great. I know that personally I want to have a lot of children when I get older. If something were to happen and I was not able to get pregnant on my own I would be devastated. IVF allows for people like this to still have their dreams of having children come true. I think that we need to make sure the candidates are good ones and ready to take on the role of being parents, but if this means that an older women can be pregnant and she will be able to have and care for a healthy baby then so be it. It is a challenging subject, but with a lot of thought I think it can be an amazing thing.
    -Kaitlyn Wechsler

  7. Amy Diamond- Moderator Response

    Thanks to everyone who has responded to our blog so far! I encourage more people to respond, as our blog closes tomorrow.

    I just wanted to pose another question related to question #4 and in response to Rhyanna’s post. I agree that countries such as China and India seem much more likely to experience problems with a sex ratio imbalance than the United States. However, as we learned in class, the US is a patriarchal society. Therefore, if sex selection becomes widespread in the US, are there any preventative measures that could be taken in order to ensure that males do not outnumber females?

  8. I had a very hard time finding the original post with the questions so I used one of the responses to figure out what the question is...
    Im guessing question one asks if older women should be able to have IVF????

    Again, I cant seem to find the original post of questions but...
    I think women past the age of 45ish should really not be having newborn children. Adoption is possible since they can choose a child of a particular age group, and therefore will be able to provide the child with adequate care. If a mother of 45 gives birth, or even older, by the age of twenty the child is not even legal yet the child's parents are at "grandparent" age and instead of the parents taking care of their child, the child may have to focus on providing adequate care for the parents!! Aside from possible birth defects which we discussed in class, I do want to mention that the woman in the video which lied about her age and gave birth at sixty through IVF, is having a child for very selfish reasons! To give life is so important and special. Its not the process alone which is important! Her daughter is going to be a little girl who at only the age of thirty will have parents at the age of ninety! I cant even imagine the emotional abuse which she may encounter growing up.Any neglect of her parents being unable to come to sports practice, or other events since they are physically incapable of keeping up. If her parents DO live long lives, she may herself turn into a caretaker then be the one that's taken-care-of! If the woman in the video for example, really wanted to have a child, IVF is not the only choice. There are so many grown children who dont have parents and need the love, care at support of a real family. If they were to adopt a teenage child, perhaps, this would have left that one child in a more positive outlook on life with an actual family. The child rearing process should not be based on selfish "wants" of giving "birth". yes, the process itself my be very emotionally rewarding, but there are other people involved emotionally as well, not just the parents!

    Sabina Medvinsky

  9. Thanks for re-posting, I couldn't find it either.

    In response to question 1, I think it is becoming more and more difficult to determine when a woman is "too old" to have children. Women are living longer and healthier lives, which means many are waiting to have children until they feel they are ready to have them. I feel that as long as a woman is physically, financially and emotionally ready to care for child she should be able to decide for herself whether or not to have children. I recognize that by having children older, there are significant health risks to both the mother and child, and in women in their late-forties/early fifties, there is also the very real possibility of parent mortality while children are still young. I believe that the costs and risks of IVF procedures are so high, even for those that can afford them, parents who did not reasonably believe they could care for a child long-term would not make the decision to try to have them in this way.

    There are several potential benefits for families when women decide to delay having children. Older women are generally more established in their careers, are more financially stable, and tend to have higher levels of education. These women have more access to the resources necessary to provide for a family, and if they have a supportive partner, are just as likely (if not more likely to raise happy and healthy children as younger women/couples. However, there are also many potential negatives to waiting too long to have children. Children might be forced to deal with parental mortality or long-term illness, and children produced using IVF have an increased risk of being born with birth defects.

    As far as egg freezing, I am unsure about this issue. I think every woman should be able to do what they want with their own biological material. However, freezing eggs is prohibitively expensive, so in reality, very few women will ever be able to afford to do it. While I respect someone's right to do this, I don't think people should do this unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as recovering cancer patients. There are so many children in the United States and the rest of the world that need homes and are ready to be adopted, that they should be considered first. Not just older women, but all women who want children but are having difficulty conceiving, should consider adoption first. Women could fulfill their need to create a family and give a home to a child that could benefit from a safe and loving environment.

  10. I forgot to include my name. The above post is mine.

    Devin Smith