Birth of IVF Octuplets Raises Ethical Questions: But Why?
Posted Feb 03 2009 12:43am
The news wires are buzzing about Nadya Suleman, the woman who had eight babies through IVF. Questions are being raised about the ethics of the case, both because of her circumstances--she already has six children--and the number of children born. From the story:
Fertility experts have raised concerns about the number of embryos implanted and whether the procedure was within medical guidelines. "I cannot see circumstances where any reasonable physician would transfer [so many] embryos into a woman under the age of 35 under any circumstance," said Arthur Wisot, a fertility doctor in Redondo Beach and the author of "Conceptions and Misconceptions."
Doctors probably could not deny treatment to a woman simply because she already has children, he said. However, he added, they should have taken steps to make sure she did not have so many babies at once. "I certainly think you can talk to her about it if you feel like she's making a decision that's not in her best interest or the interest of her children," Wisot said. "You can send her for psychological evaluation, but I honestly don't know if you can say, 'No, I won't take care of you because you have too many children.' "
Dr. Geeta Swamy, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University, told The Times this week that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise doctors "to curb these higher-order multiple gestations," she said. "But it really is still up to the individual physician. There aren't any laws or legal ramifications to it."
The problem we face as a society can be seen clearly in the above comments.
But when you think about it: How can there even be a question of laws and ramifications in this day and age? The door to realistic norms and binding ethical constraints has not just been unlocked over the last few decades, it has been torn off the hinges. In today's world, doctors are becoming less professionals and more order taking technicians. Want an abortion? Take a number. Want assisted suicide? Take a number. Want to invest $500,000 into your face with cosmetic surgery? Take a number. You want your children genetically tested before deciding whether they are worth having? Take a number. Get pregnant with three IVF embryos and only want one, take a number to "selectively reduce" the two you don't want so you can raise an only child. A single woman, without a job, who already has six kids and wants eight more? Take a number.
A lot of people will be angry about this. Her mother even defended the woman as not being "evil." But I don't see how she or her doctors can be condemned when the watchword of the era is terminal nonjudgmentalism with the only gauge of morality being "choice."