Impact of Reproductive Technologies on Society
Melanie Pescud, Tammy Knox, Carly Malpass, Kellie Cue ??
‘Infertility is estimated to affect more than 80 million people worldwide, and while developments in reproductive technologies have evolved rapidly, so have the ethical, social and political controversies which surround nearly all aspects of their use’ (Vayena et al, 1997)
People have accepted the practice of various forms of fertility treatment for thousands of years. Despite this, controversy surrounds these new reproductive technologies because they challenge the traditional understanding of the relationship between sex and procreation. Consequentially, this also has the potential ...view middle of the document...
However this ignites further controversy, as denying the access of these services is considered to violate a basic human right, established in the UN Declaration of Human Rights Article 16.1: Xvi, which states “men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.’ (Vayena et al, 1997)
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology that has been used since the 1950s in animal breeding, and successfully produced its first human child in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown.
The technique requires ovarian hyperstimulation in order to extract a number of developed ova from the ovaries. These are then fertilised external to the body, and the resulting embryo is replaced in the uterus several days later for implantation.
IVF is considered to have a notable impact on society, mainly due to its risks and social-evils. The risks of IVF have been well documented, and include multiple pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
The major outcome of IVF is that it has provided a means for many infertile couples/individuals to have children. However in doing so, there are concerns regarding the fertilisation of oocytes outside of the body. Not only is this viewed as unnatural, but it also requires extensive laboratory work in order to retrieve, fertilize and replace the resulting embryo.
Additionally, as with many assisted reproductive procedures, success entails an increased risk of having a multiple pregnancy, which has considerable increased health risks for the mother and fetuses. This is because more than one oocyte is often transferred into the fallopian tubes, with the potential for fertilization. This procedure also increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, premature birth and other complications. Therefore, it has the potential to lead to significant emotional and financial costs for the family and wider society. ‘It has been reported that average, hospital charges for a twin delivery were four times higher than for a singleton, whereas charges for a triplet delivery were eleven times higher. Additionally, there are long term costs associated with complications; including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, chronic problems with lung development and learning disabilities, which increase in frequency with pre-maturity.’ (Kaz et al 2002)
Another controversial issue is associated with age. There is debate over what age is too old for a person to undergo IVF in order to have a child, with reports of women utilizing its services after the onset of menopause. This raises concern for the mothers’ health in surviving the pregnancy, as well as their ability to survive long enough to raise the child.
Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
ICSI was introduced in 1992 and is considered to overcome the obstacles that IVF cannot. It allows clinically infertile men to have...