Fertility Industry Puts Profits Above the Well-Being of Children

Bioethics   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Aug 19, 2013   |   4:02PM   |   London, England

Could it be that people are starting to notice that the fertility industry puts parental desire and profits above the health and well-being of children?

Looks that way in the United Kingdom. The Telegraph reports on a study to reduce regulation costs where the authors recommend that fertility clinics be required to report complications:

Safety drive to stop IVF clinics putting profit before embryos

Action on safety at IVF clinics has been ordered by ministers after a wide-ranging review of the fertility industry.

 An expert study raised fears that some clinics may be offering techniques that put the embryo at risk for their own profit.

In the future, all clinics will have to publish the number of complications suffered by their patients.

The review, carried out by Dr Justin McCracken, the former head of the Health Protection Agency, was ordered to reduce the cost of regulating the fertility industry, which has grown rapidly in recent years.

However, he made a series of recommendations on how patients should be dealt with when they have fertility treatments, all of which have been accepted by ministers….

It highlighted a new technique, known as Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS), as one which is possibly being offered inappropriately for commercial reasons.

For a fee, which can run into thousands of pounds, clinics can check embryos created by a successful IVF cycle for certain genetic abnormalities and only implant those that appear normal….

Dr McCracken said the jury was still out on whether PGS improves the chances of having a baby and warned there is a risk of harm to the foetus. He said it was vital that the regulator checks that clinics are not simply recommending it to boost profits.

“I was told that the scientific evidence base for the use of PGS is not strong despite the fact that the technique has been offered for a number of years,” he said.

“I understand that there is no clinical consensus regarding its efficacy, but there is a real risk to the embryo in carrying it out.”

If only the lawmakers in the United States were willing to look closely at our fertility clinics which remain the “wild west” of the fertility industry around the world. Only in the United States would cost-conscious couples be able to get cheaper embryos made in bulk.

I think if we took a very close look at what goes on in the fertility clinic we would be shocked and horrified by the full scale commodification of human life.