Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fertility Tourism

~Ever heard of 'fertility tourism'? Apparently, scientists in the EU are calling for standardized rules so that couples aren't overly burdened by a variation in fertility rules among member states. From BBC News: Call for EU-wide fertility rules
Laws on fertility treatment should be standardised across the European Union to deter 'fertility tourism', a leading expert has said.

Professor Paul Devroey said current disparities in rules meant infertile couples often had to travel to get the fertility treatment they wanted.

But he warned this was not always based on good science.

Professor Devroey was speaking a European Society for Human Reproduction and Embyrology meeting in Lyon, France.

He said some countries, including the UK, adopt a liberal, science-based approach to fertility treatments.

...For example, embryo freezing is not permitted in Italy and so it is mandatory to put three fertilised eggs back into a woman. This increases the risk of multiple pregnancy.

And in Germany genetic screening of embryos is not allowed - because it is viewed as too close to eugenics.

Unfair

Professor Devroey said the fact that people had to travel to seek treatment was unfair to poorer couples - and often led to poorer treatment.

He is calling for a pan-European think tank to develop a more integrated approach.

Professor Bill Ledger, and expert in fertility treatment at the University of Sheffield, said it was desirable but unobtainable to harmonise EU policy.

He said: "The variation in basic ethical principles in Europe is so great that it would be very difficult to find a common ground...."
Maybe it's time to revisit the question whether IVF is ethical to begin with.

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