|Since 1978 (Louise Brown), in vitro fertilisation is a choice for infertile couples.||14% of UK couples are infertile (defined as “no conception after one year of trying”.|
|The choice is available on the NHS. But trusts vary on how old you can be and how many cycles you can have.||75% of the 40,000 couples a year go privately as the chance of success falls with age, and NHS treatments rationed.|
|For a woman under 35 the success rate for one cycle is 20% and for those over 40 it is 6%.||Each cycle costs £6,000 on average. A cycle is one attempt at implantation.|
|The overall success rate is 25% over multiple cycles.||Over multiple cycles the success rate for all women is 25%. So 75% live with permanent disappointment/heartache.|
|Christians often prefer the natural method – where eggs are taken at the natural cycle and fertilised in vitro. This avoids embryo wastage.||Fertility is artificially induced with drugs. One cycle needs two months of drugs. “Some people are locked in a cycle of hell” Rebecca Frayn* (from experience).|
|An alternative is single egg, single sperm injection. Then there’s no wastage.||Embryos are screened for defects and then two are chosen to avoid multiple births. Others may be frozen.|
|The gift of a child is a priceless gift. Could any child be more wanted and loved than a miracle child?||If the child is conceived by sperm donor, then who is the father? Since 2006 donor parents will be traceable**.|
|Now you can only design saviour siblings under special licence***. You cannot clone yourself or select for gender.||In a future Brave New World we could design superbabies for the rich, leading to a genetic caste system (see Gattaca).|
|Most of the cost is paid by individuals going to private clinics – that’s £180m a year. Lord Winston accused clinics of inflating success rates/overcharging.||IVF treatments cost the NHS (funded by taxpayers) £60 million a year. That’s a lot of hip replacements/preventative screening. £45m gets no results.|
|In practice few people are denied treatment on ethical grounds – but no uniform right to NHS treatment – it varies from Trust to Trust.||NHS ethics committees can deny treatment for women deemed “unsuitable” – where welfare of the child is questionable.|
** Telegraph Dec 21st 2009 here
An article by Dieter Birnbacher (Embryo Research a...
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