Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ethics in Fertility

We've all heard about this woman, Nadya Suleman, and her octuplets. Most of us probably know that she already had 6 kids before the birth of 8 more (one of whom is autistic), that she used fertility treatments, lives with her parents, has no spouse/partner, and no income. 

First of all, I want to say the following:

1. I believe that all women have the right to decide how many children they have. 

2. I believe that financially stable single women have the right to seek fertility treatments in order to become mothers if that is what they choose. 

3. I believe that women have the right to choose whether or not to selectively abort any or all of the fetuses in their body. 

4. Nadya Suleman is certifiable. A complete wackaloon, in my opinion. 

It is my opinion that fertility treatments need to be administered with the same level of caution as adoption procedures. What do I mean by that? Well, a single woman or man cannot adopt a child unless they can prove that they are financially secure and stable and, quite frankly, can afford to raise a child on their own. Period. It's to ensure the quality of the environment for the child to be raised in. This woman has no income and already had 6 children, all of them living with her parents. She would not have qualified for adoption, she should not have qualified for fertility treatment. 

Secondly, it was completely fucking irresponsible for the clinic to have implanted 8 embryos in her uterus. They should be shut down for that fact ALONE. You implant 2, tops. If neither take, you implant 2 more. 8 is ridiculous. 

Thirdly, she is quoted as saying she afforded it because she "got paid for it." Since when does someone get paid for harvesting and freezing their own embryos? When I donated eggs, I signed a mandatory contract which stated the couple I donated to would own all the rights to the eggs harvested, for whatever purpose they deem appropriate - another child, donating to stem cell research, etc. How the fuck did this chick get paid for what she did? Was it experimental or something? How come no one can find out who she received these treatments from?

Now this woman has 14 children, no one to help her care for them, and no income. If she wanted to spend time with 14 kids, she should've started a daycare. Completely fucking irresponsible. All I can do is hope that none of these children suffer because of her stupid fucking decisions. 


Ambivalent Academic said...

She got paid for it?

Makes me wonder if there is some really shady dealings going on here (above and beyond the 8 embryo transfer which is just wildly irresponsible). Obviously, the lady's got some good eggs (assuming they were really hers) and responds well to super-ovulation regimen.

Is there any chance that some of her eggs were sold off in some kind of black-market deal? Sounds crazy but there are still some places where you can sell your kidney. Why not eggs? Perhaps her payment was not in $$$ but in implantations? Though, you couldn't pay me enough to let you plant 8 embryos in my uterus.

Someone needs to take a hard look at that Doc. Does he have a legit MD and state license? If he does, it needs to be yanked. I'm betting he's a quack and he's turning a buck on the black market somehow. The sort of people who might use his services could be the sort who would be impressed by "I once implanted 8 embryos into a woman's uterus and they all survived to term". Gives me the fecking creeps.

I am also in favor of it being the woman's choice to have children (or not) by whatever means available to her...so long as it does not endanger anyone's health. The fertility "doctor" endangered her life and the lives of everyone of those fetuses with his blatant disregard for the ethics of his "profession". People have children, not litters.

JLK said...

My sentiments exactly, AA.

All anyone knows is that she said she got paid for it. No one yet (as far as I know) knows how or why.

I suppose it's possible that she got paid to produce embryos for stem cell research or the like, but I find that highly unlikely just because her mentality doesn't seem in the right place to be giving her eggs away for any reason.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Last I heard, people couldn't get paid to produce eggs for research. They can choose to donate whatever is unused for fertility treatments, but not the same as getting paid outright. But maybe this varies from state to state.

As a scientist, the idea of paying women to produce eggs or embryos exclusively for use in research makes me very very squeamish, though I would have absolutely no problem using AR left-overs...and I suspect that would be true for lots of other life scientists.

We don't pay people to donate spare kidneys for research and I think that eggs/embryos should (and maybe do) fall under the same reasoning. Then again we do pay people to donate blood, plasma, serum and other bodily fluids for research (though extraction of these samples is considerably less invasive and less dangerous to the health of the donor)...so I'm not sure where eggs/embryos fall on the continuum in general. Hmmmmm.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Because I live in a vacuum, I wasn't aware of this until one of the other smokers at school mentioned it today. I am going to check out the story and may write about it myself (though probably not).

I can honestly say that I tend to look at this as pretty much a criminal act. Just the money involved in birthing those kids had to have been immense. I'd be pretty cranky about it, were it not for the miracles of modern medicine....

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Regardless of the ethical analysis of the mother's and physician's actions, it is undeniable that baby fetishists encourage this kind of shit by treating families who have multiple births as some kind of heroes, who are paraded all over teevee and given fucktons of free shit.

Professor in Training said...

Her publicist was all over the Incredibly Awesome And Highly Respected Mainstream Media last night saying that she was looking for a career as a child expert on tv and that they were open to offers. That's right - the octuplets are only a week old and the mother has a publicist already. Fucking ridiculous.

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