Fertility Ethics

When a couple decide to have a baby together, around 10-20% will need some sort of medical help in order to conceive. For some couples, this could be medication, however for others they may need more invasive treatment in order to fertilise an egg.

Some of these couples will need IVF (in vitro fertilisation), of which there were over 70,000 courses in 2018. IVF is a medical procedure in which mature egg cells are removed from a woman, fertilised with male sperm outside the body, and inserted into the womb of the woman where it develops until birth. It is also sometimes called test tube conception.

Task 1: Watch this video.

There have been numerous conversations regarding the ethics of IVF and whether it is morally right to do.

Some people object to the artificial creation of a life that would not be possible if left entirely to nature. Or they might object on the grounds that ‘natural selection’ should be left to do its work. Others object to conception being placed in the hands of humans (rather than left to God or some other supernatural being).

When covering these objections it’s important to draw attention to existing moral values and principles. For example, human beings regularly intervene with natural causes – especially in the realm of medicine – by performing surgery, administering medicines and applying other medical technologies.

Task 2: Write three reasons why someone may disagree with using IVF as a way to get pregnant.

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