IVF also known as In-Vitro fertilization is a reproductive technology and a scientific advancement which assists in a pregnancy. There are multiple ways of using IVF including In-vitro fertilization with gender selection also known as Preimplantation genetic screening and with the use of donor sperm. The process involves five steps to the procedure. It’s when an ovum (egg) is fertilized with a male’s sperm (a sex cell produced by a male) in a laboratory. In-Vitro fertilization all began in Oldham, England during 1978, when the first child Louise Brown was born through In-Vitro fertilization. Nowadays IVF is a common technology used to treat patients with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes (a pair of tubes in the female reproductive system which ova travels from the ovaries to the uterus), male factor infertility including decreased sperm count or sperm motility, women with ovulation (release of an ovum from one of the ovaries) disorders, women who have had their fallopian tubes removed, premature ovarian failure and unexplained infertility. IVF is a scientific advancement which improves the qualities of the human species because In Vitro fertilisation allows couples to select desired traits for their offspring such as not having any genetic disorders through sperm donors which may could have been inherited by either one of the caregivers and it allows the process of birth to become achievable and not impossible for couples who may suffer from infertility.
The process of In-vitro fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization derives from the word “in the lab” and fertilization comes from the word conception. Before the process of IVF begins patients are advised to take oral contraceptives two weeks prior to their fertility medication injections. Studies have shown, when contraceptives are used before the IVF treatment it has a possibility of preventing the split cohort of follicles (the fluid that surrounds the ova). The goal is to stimulate the ovaries enough to have more follicles and hence more ova (eggs) to retrieve. Once diagnostic fertility testing has been completed and the contraceptives have finished, an IVF patient will be required to be on fertility injections to stimulate the ovaries for the duration of nine to eleven days. This is a generalization because every individual is different and some patients may need more or less time for their ovaries to stimulate compared to others. Once the ova have matured, egg retrieval then takes place. After the eggs are retrieved it is sent to the laboratory on a petri dish with the sperm so that the sperm is able to penetrate the ova and grow. Once the embryos have been fertilized and have developed over an either three or five day period then the embryo or embryos depending on the amount the patient has decided on is then transferred back into the uterus. The next step is the waiting time to see if the embryo implants itself into the uterine lining. This is a waiting process which typically lasts for ten days depending on the embryo itself and its level of maturity.
IVF with gender selection
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) assists couples in determining the gender of their offspring and it also helps determine the number of chromosomes within an embryo and if there are any chromosomal abnormalities. PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) also improves the overall implantation rate of embryos transferred by screening them to determine any abnormalities with the number of chromosomes which is forty six XX for female and forty six XY for a male. Preimplantation genetic screening can only be conducted with an IVF cycle in which ova are produced, retrieved from the ovaries of a female and then fertilized with the male’s sperm (semen) in a laboratory. Once the cell is removed from each three day old embryo (egg) through an embryo biopsy, an embryologist examines the three day old embryo for its sex chromosomes (XX or XY) and a number of the selected sex embryos are then placed into a female’s uterus by a reproductive endocrinologist. The process of IVF gender selection has a ninety nine percent accuracy with the prediction of an embryo’s gender and also with the detection of a potential chromosomal disability.
Advantages of IVF
The major advantage of IVF is that it increases the chances of having a child without any health issues. Genetic screening is a technological advancement of technology which ensures that a baby will be born healthy. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) also allows an embryo to be screened for any chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome and Turner Syndrome. Preimplantation Genetic Screening creates a better outcome for families as it assists in also detecting the gender of the foetus in the womb. Another advantage of IVF is how it is able to help cancer patients. If cancer patients are in the middle of cancer treatment such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy it has the ability to harm the fertility of an individual, however IVF may be the best option for this instance because a female could can have her ova (eggs) taken from her ovaries and then freeze the ova in a unfertilized state for later use. The last main advantage of In vitro fertilization is that it is able to solve issues with male infertility such as low sperm count or inadequate sperm. If a male has a low sperm concentration, weak mobility of sperm or abnormalities in sperm size and shape it can be difficult for sperm to fertilize an ovum. IVF is normally considered if these instances occur in the couples when trying to conceive a child.
The major ethical concern in regards to In vitro fertilization is that the roman catholic church is against In Vitro fertilization. The church teaches teachings based on “The Culture Of Life” and how human dignity should be best respected when a female and a male unite as one to conceive a child. The union of a couple is unable to happen when a human is created through science. Another reason as to why the roman catholic church is against In Vitro Fertilization is because in 1978 the roman catholic church issued a doctrinal statement opposing IVF on three major conditions. ‘The destruction of human embryos not used for implantation’, the concern In Vitro fertilization may be from a donor other than the biological father, therefore, removing the marital context and the split of the essential connection between the married couple and procreation.
A major moral concern is how multiple embryos are created and a few are frozen for future use while a few are placed within the uterus. The survival rate for the embryos are low. Only twenty five percent remain alive. In other words a large group of offspring are created however not all of them are guaranteed to survive. Normally embryologists would place two or three ova in a female in hopes that the embryos will survive. Other physicians place multiple embryos in the female and if they all live then the remainder of the embryos would be aborted to leave a more manageable number of ova in the womb. The embryos that have been frozen don’t have a certain fate. Most of them will remain frozen for a long period of time and sometimes forgotten. It’s debated how life is created but then is neglected which is wrong because every embryo should have a chance at life. The downside of the frozen embryos is that the embryos have a very low chance of survival. However some embryos are donated to couples and the remainder of the ova are donated to ‘research’ which is another name for destroying the life held in the embryo. Multiple members of society believe IVF destroys human life as it creates life. This means that in order for one child to survive it is a necessity for many other children to die in the womb.
The economic aspect is a large concern in which couples have when they are choosing IVF treatment because of how much it costs. Fees that are associated with In Vitro Fertilization include the consultations with the fertility specialist which includes a follow-up appointment, the tests that the patient may require, fertility medications and treatments involved and the technology that will be used during the process of the treatment. The Medicare Safety Net offers a rebate however they will only pay a rebate for a selected amount of items each calendar year. Most couples withdraw themselves from IVF treatment because of the cost for a standard IVF treatment per cycle is four thousand six hundred and fifty eight dollars excluding an additional seven hundred dollars for Preimplantation Genetic Screening and also not including expenses for medication which can rise up to five hundred dollars and the payments for the surgery fees which includes one thousand and twenty five dollars for the hospital ovum collection, four hundred and ninety dollars for embryo transfer and the anaesthetist fee of three hundred dollars. Some families who want a child of their own will end up paying large expenses which is the culprit of why couples choose not to push through with the IVF treatment.
A social concern of In Vitro Fertilization gender selection is that it is seen as discrimination against sexes. Only forty one percent of clinics have taken the approach of avoiding gender discrimination with couples with at least one child. The use of IVF gender selection could also unbalance males and females within the society. Another major social concern is that identity confusion may arise with children who were created with In Vitro Fertilization as they reach adulthood, may complain about a sense of alienation, insecurity and loss of identity due to their creational process.
In Vitro fertilization has had a few major concerns in terms of the law. One court case in particular with a couple by the names of Debbie and Lawrence Waller have a son named Keeden who is eleven years old however they have a strong belief that he should have never been born. During August 2000 Just after IVF treatment, their son Keeden suffered from a stroke which resulted in critical brain damage and Keeden wasn’t able to walk, speak or manage daily tasks on his own without guidance. Furthermore, the stroke was a factor of his rare condition known as antithrombin deficiency in which Keeden inherited from his father. (Antithrombin deficiency is a disorder of blood clotting. Patients with this condition have a higher risk of developing abnormal blood clots particularly in the veins in arms and legs). The family were unaware of the fifty percent chance that Keeden would have the defective gene because they were not told by their specialist about the chances of inheritance. The Wallers have decided to sue the IVF Specialist named Christopher James who managed the conception of Keeden in New South Wales supreme court for a “wrongful birth” and are pursuing the case with compensation of ten million for the duration of the life of their handicapped son, Keeden.
Overall In Vitro fertilization is a reproductive advancement which assists infertile couples as well as couples with other factors of an unsuccessful pregnancy. IVF is a process which involves five major steps in order to create an embryo with fifty percent of each of the parent’s genes. In Vitro fertilization does improve the human species because it has a potential to create healthier children and when used with PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) parents are also able to see if their child has a chromosomal abnormality. There are multiple concerns in regards to IVF because of the ethical debate on how in order to create a life you kill many, the concern about the cost on In Vitro Fertilization, the social concern on how children may feel ‘alienated’ in the future and the legal concern of how IVF specialists are the ones to blame for any issues that may arise during the process.