All entries for August 2006
August 31, 2006
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5296200.stm
Yesterday the British Fertlity Society announced recommendations for all seriously obese and underweight women to be refused IVF on the NHS, something that some Primary Care Trusts already practise, in an attempt to homogenise the availability of treatment throughout the country.
Why is it that obese women are being refused IVF? A representative from the BFS has cited a reduced chance of falling pregnant and an increase in complications during the pregnancy itself. Why, then, are women smokers allowed IVF so freely? According to one news report yesterday smokers do have an equal chance of falling pregnant as completely healthy women, but the increased chance of complications is significant. If the mother has a medical condition that causes or at least exacerbates her obesity should she be treated any differently? Should we merely consider the probability of conception or also bear in mind the long-term health of the mother and child?
Or is this starting to infringe on our civil liberties?
The BFS also recommended that single women and same sex couples should be given the same priority as heterosexual couples.
Some PCTs are reported to take into account social factors when deciding if IVF is permitted, including whether either parent has already had children from a previous relationship and whether they have undergone IVF privately before turning to the NHS. Should these factors be taken into account? What if the couple have already had children together and want more?
Should the NHS fund IVF at all? Is having children a right? Is it equal to the right to life-saving treatment of injuries and diseases, bearing in mind that the money for all treatments comes from the same budget, and that the NHS has been beleaguered with many much-publicised financial strains? Or is it a luxury that the parents themselves should fund? Or do you agree with Dr Gillian Lockwood of the BFS ethics committee, that “the fourth richest country on earth should be able to afford effective fertility care for its citizens”.
What do you think?
August 14, 2006
I'm currently listening to an interesting programme on Radio 4 about the current 'crisis' in sperm donation. Recent law changes have given the children of sperm donors the right to trace their fathers once they reach adulthood. Unsurprisingly, this has significantly decreased the numbers of sperm donors to a critical point.
- Should a child have the automatic right to find out who their parents are, even in the formerly anonymous and random act of sperm donation?
- Are the recent changes morally important as they encourage potential donors to really consider the consequences their contribution rather than being principally swayed by the monetary advantages? Is it necessary for a potential donor to consider these issues so seriously?
- What are the motivating factors for sperm donation and have they now changed?
- If we accept that the change in the law is morally right how can we overcome the current crisis in sperm availability?