Georgia Senate Panel Will Hold Hearing Thursday on Limiting In-Vitro Fertilization
by Steven Ertelt
March 4, 2009
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — A Georgia Senate committee will hold a hearing on Thursday on a bill that would limit the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The bill comes at a time when concerns are high regarding a mother who recently gave birth to eight IVF-produced children.
With concerns that the use of the medical technology is going overboard, pro-life groups, including George Right to Life, are promoting the bill, the Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act.
The group says it is apparent from the recent birth of octuplets to a southern California woman that the fertility industry needs governmental oversight, thus the need for SB 169.
Nikolas Nikas and Dorinda Bordlee, prominent pro-life attorneys with the Bioethics Defense Fund, drafted the legislation for Georgia Right to Life, and they say the intense Octomom news coverage has highlighted the moral and social problems inherent in the powerful and unregulated IVF industry.
Bordlee tells LifeNews.com, "This bill seeks to address a host of problems in addition to the currently highlighted abuse of transferring high numbers of embryos into the womb of a single, unemployed woman.
"The unregulated IVF industry has facilitated many abuses including destructive human embryo research, human cloning attempts and the heartbreak surrounding legal custody battles over the fate of cryopreserved human embryos when couples divorce," she explained.
Sen. Ralph Hudgens, along with other co-sponsors in the Senate leadership, have introduced the legislation.
GRTL president Daniel Becker tells LifeNews.com that the bill "is written to help reduce the attendant harm that could come to the mother and her children through the creation and implantation of more embryos than is medically recommended by industry watchdog groups like the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology."
"This bill would limit the number of embryos transferred in any given cycle to the same number that are fertilized, up to a maximum of three," he explains.
Becker says the legislation is not a new approach as several European nations place limits on the use of IVF without outlawing it.
"This bill is similar to the same common-sense regulations passed in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy," Becker said.
By preventing the dangerous practice of implanting more embryos than is medically recommended, Becker says the bill will prevent the high risk of multiple gestations, premature births and babies with low birth weight for their gestational age.
Becker also says the current IVF system makes it so fertility clinics are encouraged to implant more embryos and cause more cases of multiple births.
Currently, the law requires that fertility clinics report their success rates to the Center for Disease Control. By focusing on "success," the clinics are pitted against one another when marketing their services.
"Due to a ‘for profit’ motive this can result in a serious compromise to the standard of care for the women and the children involved," says Becker.
"Now is the time to develop regulatory oversight that would protect our women and children and provide legal protection to embryos as living human beings and not as property," he adds.
The group says it believes Georgia is the first state in the nation to address the use of IVF technology with such limits.
Meanwhile, Bordlee hopes that the Octomom story will encourage women to learn about Naprotechnology, a branch of gynecology that ethically and effectively identifies and treats the root causes of infertility to help women achieve pregnancy, rather than creating human life in the lab.
The scientific elements of the bill were drafted in consultation with BDFs science advisor, Dr. Maureen Condic, an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the department of Pediatrics.
Nikas tells Lifenews.com that his group can help pro-life advocates in other states with similar legislation.
Bioethics Defense Fund is a public interest law firm that can assist legislators in every state with bioethics legislation that respects the dignity of every human life, he said.
There is no charge for BDF legal services.
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