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Will anyone rein in the IVF industry?

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Fertility clinics love to line their walls with photographs of beautiful newborn babies, their “success stories”. IVF has enabled babies to be born to many couples who would not otherwise have been able to conceive. But for every happy couple holding their new IVF baby in a fertility clinic photograph, or featured in the media, there is another story with a different ending.

A recent undercover investigation by the Daily Mail claimed that some fertility clinics are exploiting couples desperate to have children. Women are being persuaded to “donate” or “share” their healthy eggs in return for free or discounted fertility treatment.

Clinics promoting “egg sharing” argue that not only does this provide eggs for infertile women, but also that a woman who has healthy eggs, but not the necessary funds for treatment, gets a free roll of the IVF dice. It sounds like a win-win situation. Except that all too often it is not.

The other side to this was brought home personally to me when the daughter of a friend similarly “shared” half her eggs for someone else’s fertility treatment, in order to have free IVF. She was hospitalised by the procedure and the drugs she had to take. Years later she is still highly traumatised, having been unsuccessful in her own IVF treatment but knowing that her eggs resulted in a successful birth for another woman. She has never had any long-term practical or emotional support from the fertility clinic.

Read more at Catholic Herald. 

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