February 18, 2009

IVF Children are a Living Experiment

An article in the New York Times on Monday admits that children conceived with IVF are basically living human experiments. Scientists suspect that embryos that have developed in petri dishes are slightly different in some ways from embryos that develop in the womb, but they are still working out the specifics. They have some indications that IVF embryos are more likely to have certain genetic diseases and developmental problems. but they still need more data. The article says:
"following babies born after IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection is not easy. And if problems emerge from epigenetic changes, they may not be apparent until adulthood or middle or old age."
In other words, if you're an IVF child, then you are a walking human experiment. Scientists are waiting to see what will happen to you as you get older, so that they can complete their data collections on the effects of IVF on people.

Sounds really ethical, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

please see the link >


Anonymous said...

Your posts sound like the ravings of a blubbering idiot.

Anonymous said...

Her posts are the most sane, rational that I have ever come across. What reality are you from "anonymous" poster #2? Are YOU even of sound mind? You sound like you've taken the moral relativism bait, hook line and sinker, and are deluded by the belief that you (and your kind) have some kind of insane right to squash any viewpoint that doesn't accept the anything goes mindset that our media shoves down our throats on a daily basis.

damianhadams said...

As a product of reproductive technologies I feel very much like an experiment in medical and social science. As a scientist, I think I have a pretty good idea what an experiment is. I see it every day in the mirror.

Kelly said...

My mother was pregnant with twins and had at ectopic pregnancy, which ruptured her fallopian tubes. After this, my parents decided to do IVF. I am 22 years old with absolutely no medical problems of which to speak, I am in college, on the Deans list with a double major in Economics and Accounting. I have a hard time believing that I am a "social experiment" and I think it is ridiculous that IVF is considered to be such a contraversial treatment.

Nelly said...

In Denmark they have found that signicant more boys conceived through IVF, are born with a misshapen penis,compared to normal boys.

They strongly suspect that is caused by the hormonal stimulation of women undergoing IVF.

Anonymous said...

Is there a DI adult who would offer evidence to Strasbourg?

I am hoping to get the fertility industry outlawed.

email me on relative.values@live.co.uk


evie said...

This is ludicrous. Plenty of parents who are able to conceive naturally will smoke , drink, have caffeine, live in risky environments, be victims of domestic abuse and violence etc, etc, etc. All of these factors plus many more increase their risk of having a child with health problems and yet you are targeting very innocent couples who would do anything in their power to have a child. There are many reasons why children conceived through IVF and ICSI are at greater risk of health problems than those conceived naturally. It may well be as a result if the drugs used, or the culture that the embryos are stored in, or the underlying medical reasons that have lead their parents to needing IVF. It could also be related to the increased proportion of multiple births ( something that we are trying to do something about in the uk) and the fact that couples undergoing IVF are more likely to be older than their non ART counterparts, thus putting their children at greater risk in the first place. There may well be risks, but when you consider the immense risks that many children in society face whether they be medical or social, the risks related to IVF are minimal. If you want to be vitriolic towards parents be vitriolic towards those who abuse and neglect their children and completely screw their lives up in that way, not towards parents of a group of much wanted, much loved and cared for children who have been conceived through IVF. Also I'd like to point out that around 2-3 percent of the general population of children ( i.e. those conceived naturally) will have a disability. This rate increases to around 4 percent for children conceived through IVF. Does that mean that those of us in the general population who haven’t had or needed to have IVF should stop having children too, so that we can reduce the 2-3 percent chance we have of having a disabled child? As for the long term risks People in the general population, IVF babies or not, take huge risks by smoking, drinking, driving too fast, taking drugs , eating unhealthily and having too little exercise, working too hard , living in cities and having unhealthy relationships. These factors are far more likely to result in health problems than being conceived through IVF. Your comments run the risk of having a considerable, negative effect on the identity and self-esteem of those of us conceived through IVF. How would you feel if you were an IVF child to be told that you are likely to get cancer, die young and that your whole existence here on earth has been an experiment. I think you are doing as much if not more damage to people than IVF has ever done. Maybe that is your intention , in which case you are pretty sick yourself. Please get a grip, just stop talking shit and leave those conceived through IVF alone. The risks that they face have nothing to do with you.

Anonymous said...

Wow talk about naive. People like you upset me. I guess until you go through what any women with infertility goes through - you will never truly understand. I am now pregnant through IVF and I am very proud of it. My baby girl will grow up to be a fabulous woman, I have no doubt.

Sorry to say but IVF babies are already in their middle ages. I feel you are grasping at straws here.

And yes there is a chance that a problem might arise, but isnt there always? IVF or not? What about all the diseases, Autism, Speech problems, etc...Shit happens and it always will, IVF or not. Its just funny how people like you try to find things wrong with EVERYTHING. I dont understand how you can live your life the way you do.

Your a heartless bastard that needs lay off the women who actually WANT a child. Why dont you try writing a blog about the thousands of women who dont even want to get pregnant and do, go through abortion, or worse yet throw the baby in the trash! Now that's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

One rule for all! It's just a piece of paper and I think the infertile should accept that the children that they claim to love (and do, I'm sure, in their own pet-like way) need accurate honest birth certificates, same as everybody else has. Inherited diseases and medical records would be monitored fairly then.

Anonymous said...

Incest remains another hazard. If two donor-conceived people who don't know their true backgrounds meet fall in love and have a baby then there is incest in the frame as well as those dishonest/useless medical records. There has been talk of medical records being made available but this won't prevent the incest problem - you've only got to look at the numbers of spontaneous under-age and/unplanned pregnancies to see that if backgrounds are secret and/or just doled out for medical info. to see it.

Anonymous said...

There's been a need for a revised blog, here in the UK, so thought you and regulars to your site might like to see the link >



Saharati said...

You are making IVF children sound like labrats! Do you want couples to be unhappy becuase they don't have children? Have you even read the IVF process imagine how much pain couples go through how much money is spent! So what if there are higher risks children without IVF have birth defects or childhood cancer!

Anonymous said...

Anguish, incest/inherited diseases are risks that you will never face, Saharati, you are lucky.

Anonymous said...

We are *all* living experiments in the sense you put it. *All* diseases and handicaps are recorded and analysed in some spreadsheet to look for possible causes and links. My much beloved, beautiful, intelligent, wonderfully kind and funny two-year-old boy, conceived by IVF, has never had any illness of any kind.

In IVF you take the ovum of the woman and mix it with the sperm of the man. This is exactly the same as with natural conception, only it happens outside the woman's body, then it gets put back in the woman's body to then *maybe* if you're lucky have it implanted.

There is no doubt that almost all children born from IVF are going to be extremely loved and well looked after. That is a near guarantee. Where is that guarantee with natural conception?

Children born out of IVF: you are so incredibly loved -- probably more so than most other kids. You are also perfectly normal, and that little bit extra special, and your parents really gave their everything to make sure you were born.

Kel said...

I'm just waiting on the day when ART supporters can actually make their arguments without resorting to name-calling and "Ugh, You're so mean!" knee-jerk emotional responses. I would even respect an answer like, "Well, I just want a baby that's my own flesh and blood, because it's what I've always wanted. I want to fit in with the other mothers in my family/community who have given birth so I can feel included and I could never really love an adopted child" It won't happen, though, because that would actually be mature.

Kel said...

"The risks that they face have nothing to do with you."

In countries where insurance premiums rise with every batch of defective IVF multiples and their million-dollar neo-natal care, and every IVF preemie who should never have been conceived in the first place, it very much does effect the rest of us. Not to mention the long-term effects that come up.

Eve said...

I guess we should also sterilise all people who have inheritable diseases, mental illness, disability, a family history of cancer and heart disease and those who might drink and smoke. Oh, and ugly and poor people too, as their children will most likely be socially disadvantaged.

I've never read such a load of tripe.

Anonymous said...

As an adoptee, IVF has always worried me. I think there are similar things happening in the adoption industry as the fertility industry. They try and hide the negative effect because they want to make money, and people want kids. If you want to carry out experiments on yourself, fine. But it's not fair to do it to children who cannot consent. If there is a slightest risk to a baby, don't do it. Nobody 'needs' a child, but children need and deserve to be healthy.

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Kelly said...

I came across this discussion, and realized that I had posted a comment in 2009. Again, I am the product of IVF. I am now 26, a licensed CPA, I am married, have a child of my own on the way, run half marathons, and have never been on prescription medication in my life. Yes, IVF comes with health risks. In fact, my mother just passed away at the young age of 58 from inflammatory breast cancer. Did the massive amount of hormones she received play a role in that? Perhaps. But as she was laying on her death bed, she told me that she wouldn't have done it any differently, and that I was the best thing that had ever happened to her, no matter what. If reproductive treatments aren't for you, that's fine. Everyone has an opinion, and they are entitled to live their life based on their opinions. But just remember, for some people, having a child of their own flesh and blood is the only thing they want. No, they don't need that child to be happy, or healthy, but they want that child to share their life with. Again, if reproductive therapies aren't for you, then don't do it. But don't call IVF children walking lab rats, or walking science experiments. Don't put down couples who go to desparate measures to have children of their own because having a child of their own will mean more to that couple than you may ever realize.

Veronica Thomas said...

Kelly, thanks for your comment. I do not mean to insult the people born through IVF by calling them walking science experiments. This is just simply and exactly what they are, because we haven't the slightest idea yet how IVF will affect these persons throughout their entire lifetime (IVF hasn't been around long enough to follow even one generation through a significant portion of its lifespan. You are 26. Louise Brown, the first test tube baby, is 35. Not even one test tube baby has yet been followed into middle age!). Nor do we know how the possible effects of IVF will be transmitted through to future generations.

Since it was first used in 1978, IVF has been employed to create 5 million children - with 2.5 million of these being born in only the last 6 years. We have already started to discover some negative effects of this procedure upon the resulting embryos and children, but it is surely still just the tip of the iceberg. Half of all IVF children ever born are under 6 years old - so our understanding of the side-effects of IVF is still very much in process.

Whether you like it or not, you yourself are also a living scientific experiment. This is not meant as an insult, merely a reality.

As far as attacking the poor infertile couples who only desperately long for a biological child of their own, I have been there. Being infertile and desiring a child is very painful, but is not some kind of untouchable, holy state of being that justifies taking whatever selfish and irresponsible measures may be available, just to get the desired baby in one's hands.

Adults have desires, all kinds of desires. Sometimes their desires are very strong, very desperate, even very understandable. But our desires have never yet, ever, given us the right to trample on the human rights of others.

No adult, not even an infertile one, has the human RIGHT to have his or her own biological child at any cost - after all, the child is a person and not some object to be owned by right.

But the child does have certain recognized human rights, and these include the right to know and be raised by its own biological parents,

The debate over infertility and assisted reproduction would greatly benefit from changing the focus of the debate from the unrequited desires of the infertile adults to the needs and rights of the children produced through these technologies. That shift in focus is in fact the aim of this blog.

Thanks for reading.

Kelly said...

No matter how you phrase it, being referred to as a "walking science experiment" is offensive. If, in your opinion, using modern medicine to achieve results makes someone a "walking science experiment" then wouldn't we all be such? Have you received any new vaccines in the last 35 years? I'm not sure if you're aware, but similar to your argument for lack of long-term evidence, there is no long-term evidence when new vaccines are administered. Also, similar to your argument, vaccines were widely criticized in the early 20th century, so would you recommend that no more vaccines are issued? The point is that, as modern medicine changes, so does our society and culture.

I am 26, and as I mentioned, 100% normal with no genetic disease or developmental problems. Louise Brown is 35. Not quite middle age, but wouldn't you suspect that if indeed IVF did create these horrible, scientific, non-human creatures that you portray, there would be an overwhelming population of 18-35 year old IVF children who suffer in a way that you assume? Louise's sister, Natalie, was also an IVF child and gave birth NATURALLY in 1999. I have a perfectly healthy pregnancy that is progressing nicely, and it occurred NATURALLY. Of course, these are only two examples, however, I haven't been able to find any concrete evidence that would suggest IVF children grow up to be significantly, if ANY different than normally conceived children.

IVF is NOT selfish and irresponsible. Parents who use fertility treatments are simply exercising their HUMAN RIGHT of CHOICE and choosing to take advantage of modern medicine. I still don't quite see how my parents "trampled on my human rights." I am sure as hell happy to be here and for all of my life they have provided me with unconditional love and opportunity. I am so much more fortunate and well-off than so many of my "normal" counterparts. I have never once felt like an object of satisfaction for my parent's "selfish desire" to have a child. Never. Not once.

And, one last thing. "The child does have certain recognized human rights, and these include the right to know and be raised by its own biological parents"....I'm sorry, I believe that I have EVERY human right, not just certain human rights. I have every right that you do, even if you do believe I am a walking science experiment. What kind of moron do you have to be to believe that a couple would go through IVF and give up their child? Of course they are going to know and be raised by their biological parents. It's those can-do-no-wrong, god-given children that are given up by these wonderful, loving parents who could care less about them, that do not know their biological parents and are not raised by them.

Bottom line - DON'T HAVE IVF or any other reproductive treatments if you don't believe in it BUT DO NOT hold judgment against couples who choose because despite your opinion or whatever facts you think you may be able to spout off, it is not your place to tell infertile couples that they are wrong or have trampled on the human rights of their child by using science to conceive. Go ahead and take a leap out of your warped, judgmental bubble and join the 21st century.

Ashley Sue said...

Kelly, you're judging as hard as you feel like he's judging. You may dislike what is being said, and that is your right, but the original author has every right to see a different side of that. If you do not like what you read here, you do not have to read it. Or you can, and you can reply adamantly and earnestly as *one individual with one personal perspective*, but just as you feel the author's judgments are blanket statements made in ignorance, yours is, too.

For instance - for ONE instance in things I read from you that I know is your truth and not a universal truth - is that I personally know two such stories (honest accounts from the parents) of IVF children - who then gave the children up. One decided to give up one of two twins immediately after birth, and another chose to after the child was several years old.

I also personally know two different families who underwent IVF to create a child, and then ship to child to be raised by a nanny while both parents work endlessly in high-level corporate jobs.

I ... well, I can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on defending the authors perspective as equally valid as your own (note, I did not say as "more" valid, but indeed equally), but that isn't really my place. And I'm smart enough to know it's not my place to convince you of something, just like it isn't your place to convince the author, just like you say it isn't the place of the author to make statements about IVF (the difference being, as an activist, the author is within his rights, while us dictating what he or you or I should be allowed to feel or believe at all is just blatantly wrong).

@AshleySue said...

Oh... and another glaring omission from your personal anecdote (and I am truly happy that your experience has been and continues to be good) -

While you claim that IVF children know their biological parents and it's the adopted community that tends not to (and your commentary on that seems incredibly harsh and flattly bitch and condescending to adoption), a huge amount of today's IVF is not between the two biological parents in a marriage, but instead, a donor egg, often supplied by college age women being prayed on during their naivety and desire for expendable income, or anonymous donor sperm. So, again, for SO many reasons, while your perspective is totally valid to you, to use it as a claim that the original author is totally off base, or to argue that you have "every" human right (which you actually have been deprived of, realize it or not), etc, is hypocritical, unfortunately.


That said, I pray that you stay healthy and blessed, as you evidently have been.

PS. You're right. We are all walking experiments. From HPV vaccines, flu vaccines, experimental new cancer treatments, organ transplants, and even Lipitor or Celebrex or antidepressant patients... you're 100% right on, and singling out the children conceived of IVF is wrong, as you are as human, as special, as real, and as valued as any in the human experience. And you, just as adoptees, should never be made to feel as anything other than accepted, pure, true, and loved.

Brenda Coughlan said...

What must never be forgotten is IVF success was built on brutal, barbaric and horrific medical sexual crimes committed on non pregnant girls residing in institutional care and young pregnant girls and the medical experimentations - it had to start somewhere from 1958 - 1973 in the State of Victoria - medical experiments heartland - therefore anything built on these brutal sexual crimes is not worth commenting on. Brutal horrific and heinous medical sexual crimes on minors is a price too high to pay and any infertile couple who enters IVF program are endorsing these medical crimes. When I hear the words IVF I match it with sexual crimes committed on my body, mind and soul and tens of thousands of other minors. The price was too high to pay

Ranbeer singh said...

Thousands of IVF babies are being used as "human guinea pigs", one of Britain's most eminent experts warned yesterday.
Professor Robert Winston said test-tube babies could suffer terrible health problems because clinics were using IVF techniques which had not been properly tested.
The risks could include birth defects, genetic damage which may not emerge until adulthood and an increased chance of cancer.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-195627/Expert-warns-IVF-timebomb.html#ixzz2uzSw0aTf
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Anonymous said...

A person can appear to be achieving every "good" of society (academic success, wealth, prestige, health, etc) while their interior life is dark and chaotic. Most of the time I think people forget or deny they have an interior life....we're trained to only pay attention to what others can see of us. But with no interior life, we are just a shell that will return to dust.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who was not born of a loving conjugal act (which is really none of us because everyone's messed up on some level) needs interior healing, whether they recognize it or not...it's just the objective truth (not my opinion).

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Anonymous said...

IVF does nothing to treat infertility (for that you need to seek a doctor with a well-formed conscience and practicing what is called, somewhat unfortunately perhaps, NaPro Technology: http://www.popepaulvi.com/about.php) Interestingly, the UN has been trying to use the Convention on the Rights of the Child against the so-called 'baby hatches', operated mostly by Catholic convents and some secular hospitals, claiming they violate...the children's right to know their parents: they seem quite content if babies are abandoned where they would not be discovered before they die and they have no such concerns for the IVF babies produced from anonymous donor sperm, which leads to the obvious conclusion that it is an ideological issue for them (and something highly profitable to those who perform it), and people involved do not matter at all.

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