IVF & Same Sex Couples – The ‘Same’ Subjects?
With the government recently announcing the legalisation of marriage for same sex couples, it’s understandable that many parties are taking on a number of stances. Whilst religious believers question the nature of same sex marriage, another ‘hot’ topic has also made the headlines with the NHS raising the age limit for IVF treatment from 39 to 42.
Two very different, but altogether, intensely related and dependable matters that do not only raise their own questions, but also those that are entwined.
Hitting The Headlines
With both of these issues, come’s the unavoidable ethical queries; Should it be allowed? Does it breach our moral fibres? What are the damaging effects? But whilst these can be argued and debated till the end of time, the reality of the situation is that IVF treatment and same sex marriage are two very real concepts in today’s modern society.
Since the ‘birth’ of In Vitro Fertilisation back in the late 70’s, many a couple have been able to experience the feeling of parenthood in the face of infertility. Providing couples with the chance to raise a family of their own has always been a resounding factor. But in the instance of same sex couples, many people do appear to be missing the point.
Two Topics, Both Alike
As well as occupying the concept of fairness and equality, IVF allows same sex couples – both gay and lesbian – to also experience the realms of parenthood from a situation where the ability to conceive is not conventionally possible. But whilst heterosexual couples turn to IVF when infertility is an issue, it is not the fertility of same sex couple that is of concern, but the lack of ‘integral’ parts.
In conventional types of IVF treatment, ovarian stimulation and fertility-inducing drugs are used in order to increase the chances of a fertile egg. The presence of such drugs does come with some side effects such as nausea, fullness and diarrhoea to more serious and threatening complications such as multiple luteinised cysts within the ovaries due to Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome.
When fertility is not the underlying issue, it does not make sense to expose donors and couples to such health risks, which is why Natural or Mild-stimulation IVF techniques must be adopted. Mothers and donor mothers can conceive naturally through the collection of an egg during the woman’s natural menstrual cycle without the use of drugs.
This not only eliminates the side-effects and complications that can arise from using such drugs, but also removes the risk of any long-term effects to both the mother and child. This is especially the case when the effects of using fertility inducing drugs in the long term are still relatively unknown. Whilst some studies proclaim that the long term effects are minimal to non-existence, is the life or your baby, donor or even your own life worth the risk?
Whilst the ethics, beliefs and scientific will continue to be a source of debate, the implementation of Natural or Mild Stimulation IVF treatments for same sex couples is one that could not be more black and white.
Research, Develop, Pro-create
With many same sex couples reliant on the development and accessibility of IVF to experience the joys of parenthood, the emphasis on devising, developing and advancing more natural and ‘drugless’ methods of conception could not be of more importance. Institutions such as the International Society for Mild Approaches in Assisted Reproduction (ISMAAR) have made substantial steps in evolving our understanding and integration of naturally astute procedures and with more funding, it can continue to develop its research.
Is it a coincidence that these two heavily debated subjects have recently been in the news? Or is it an eye-opening opportunity for us to contemplate two subjects that, in terms of science, could not be further apart? Yet, what really stands out is the way that they are seamlessly conjoined by life and its wondrous and unpredictable nature.