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A Right to the Baby We Want

Whenever I write about the underregulated multi-billion-dollar infertility industry, I receive anguished emails from women who can’t become pregnant, declaring that they “would do anything to have a baby.”

I can certainly empathize with their sadness, but their willingness to do anything is a problem. This deep and very human yearning has led to the development of technologies that are moving us away from the unconditional acceptance of the children we receive toward a perceived right not only to have a baby, but to have “the baby we want.”

When first invented, in vitro fertilization (IVF) was sold as a medical remedy to be limited to married couples who could not otherwise conceive. That moralistic restriction is long gone. Today, access to IVF has few limitations—and includes even women well beyond their natural childbearing years. Moreover, it is often combined with “preimplantation genetic diagnosis,” in which a cell is removed from IVF embryos and tested for medical or eugenic failings—as well as for the sex—so that only embryos with desired attributes will be implanted. If too many embryos implant, the next step may be “selective reduction,” the abortion of one or more gestating babies—or, as I once heard an industry rep put it, “turning triplets into twins.” And what of the embryos deemed not to be of the desired quality? They are consigned to the medical waste bag, or subjected to cryogenic freezing, or they become the objects of experimentation.

Meanwhile, couples who want only a beautiful and brilliant child may use sperm provided by good-looking men with high IQs. Or they may pay tens of thousands of dollars to beautiful women attending the nation’s top universities to undergo an egg extraction procedure—which can lead to serious side effects, such as infection, infertility, increased risk of cancer, and, on occasion, even death.

Read more at First Things –

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