Saturday, 16 February 2013

IVF for gay couples financed by the tax payer is actually the next logical step

The Telegraph this morning reports that more gay couples and women over the age of 40 are to be given fertility treatment on the NHS, despite claims that the health service cannot afford it (See BBC report here)

According to the Telegraph, under an expansion of NHS-funded fertility treatment, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will recommend that lesbian couples be offered six cycles of artificial insemination and, if that fails, IVF.

There were just over 1,000 cycles of insemination performed for women in same-sex relationships in 2010, resulting in 152 babies. The number of cycles of IVF for this group rose from under 100 in 2009 to 561 in 2010, resulting in 215 babies. Most of these couples however paid for treatment privately, where a cycle of IVF can cost them £8,000.

Given that the NHS is having to find £20 billion of efficiency savings over four years because flat-rate budget increases are not enough to cope with increasing demand, this means that local clinical commissioning groups, which make the final decision on fertility provision in hospitals, will be unable to afford the extra treatment without making drastic cuts to other services.

Does it strike you as odd that in a time of economic recession NICE is recommending that our tax money through the National Health Service, pays for a lesbian woman, who is suffering from no illness, is not infertile and wants to become pregnant but does not wish to have sex with a man, to have artificial insemination or IVF?

This latest move has, perhaps understandably, generated a lot of controversy, but in fact is the next logical step following from presuppositions that we have already accepted as a society.

Having turned our backs on the Judeo-Christian worldview and ethical framework, decisions in healthcare are increasingly now taking place in an ethical vacuum where the principle drivers are autonomy, technology, commerce and relativism.

Autonomy says ‘we want it’. Technology says ‘we can do it’. Commerce says ‘there are purchasers and providers’ and relativism says ‘why not?’

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 started from two ethical presuppositions.

First there was the assumption that human embryos are not human beings and so can be used as a means to an end – meaning that they can be experimented upon, frozen or destroyed.

Second was the belief that gametes (egg and sperm) need not be used only within the marriage bond but can be bought, sold, shared with and given to others.

If we combine these ethical starting points with the beliefs that marriage, gender and reproduction are simply arbitrary social constructs which can be reshaped and redefined by social consensus then human demand, economics and technology become the only limitations on what can be done in human reproduction.

Equality law will then ensure that everyone who wants a given technology, regardless of marital status, gender or even degree of infertility, must be treated equally.

If married women whose husbands are infertile can use donated sperm then why can’t single women or lesbians? If married women who can’t produce their own eggs (for whatever reason) can used donated eggs then why can’t single women or lesbians? Similarly why can’t gay men use both donated eggs and a surrogate to carry the baby? 

And if lesbian women, who are fertile, choose to use donated eggs and IVF, then what is to stop single and married women, who wish to avoid either sex or pregnancy from dong the same? And if married couples can have a certain ‘treatment’ funded by the taxpayer, isn’t it discriminatory to bar others, whether gay or straight?

As technology develops further, and egg and sperm can be artificially manufactured from ordinary body cells, it will be possible for lesbian couples to generate their own sperm and eggs and produce babies that are genetically related to their parents. And gay couples will be able to do the same with the help of a surrogate, or perhaps even transplanted, uterus. We should expect these extensions of practice now and not be surprised when they occur.

If these things alarm us, then rather than simply reacting to the latest developments we should be going back to examine the set of presuppositions that brought us to this point and examining those.

In this connection I have previously put forward a Christian framework for infertility treatment which I believe respects both the sanctity of human life and the integrity of the marriage bond.

But the other real questions we should be asking are about the real drivers of this new technology. 

Why are levels of infertility increasing so dramatically and why there are so few babies available to adopt? It's not rocket science.


  1. IVF is already being funded on the NHS for lesbian couples in some postcode areas. It's due to that "discrimination" legislation you mentioned.

    As far as I'm concerned, ALL fertility treatment should be private. Infertility is not a "disease".

    Nothing wrong with sperm donation, btw. Certainly not between married couples anyway - it's like having an adopted child, really.

    Eleanor - General Practitioner

  2. It depends whether you believe in IVF in the first place, when there are so many babies around the world that need adopting. There's a new book out on why empathy might be in decline, which discusses among other things the plight of Romanian orphans, how many grow up over-detached and distant from other people relationall, because they weren't adopted very soon after their birth parents gave them up.

    Have a look at Robert Oscar Lopez' new blog on the LGBT attack on marriage and children's rights

    In particular, read this translation of a French father's open letter to the two lesbian mothers who are trying to take the child of one of them away from its father for good.

    Also have a look on the blog for the translations of articles about the huge debate on gays and surrogacy (renting poor women's wombs in other countries in order to have children) in France currently.

  3. Man-made law is always the driving force. We pass a law not realising the logical comsequences. Then man-made law is compelled to bring about those consequences. We tend to think that technological advances drive legal change, but it's the other way round.

  4. There is something very dark about using women as objects to rent their wombs, donate their eggs and carry a baby, only to then give their baby away. The SSMarriage bill of course creates a market demand for IVF babies. There is a baby trade boom just around the corner where children will have no right to be recognised as biologically related to their male and female parents as marriage is about to become a 'gender less' institution. This is of course a lie. Since for SS couples to procreate, a marriage of opposite sexes must occur for the child to exist. The problem is that the child has no legal recognition in the eyes of the law to be related to their own true parents once this bill is passed. their rights will no longer be protected. These children will be the ones denied their ancestry and knowledge of who they are naturally. I could go on, but namely, women are about to be exploited, men are about to be exploited and children are about to be exploited, and all in the name of 'love'. Perhaps read

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  7. To be completely honest with you, IVF success rates aren't good. Although I can tell you that we did fall pregnant in our first cycle, this isn't the case for the majority of couples. The older you are, the less likely it is that you will conceive. With regard to women under thirty five the average rate of success is just under 30%. This goes straight down from there to just under one percent for women over 44 years of age. These are harsh statistics. Effectively, what this means is that more than sixty-six per cent of you will not be successful and in the scenario in which you don't have any more embryos you will be requested to withstand the expense and stress of another hormone injection cycle.
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  8. I agree with you, but I'm curious: The most common objection I hear from people I know who are pro-life is that an impotent couple who wants a child can get the embryo implanted in herself. I maintain that it's wrong, but the recourse I fall back into is natural law theory when asked to explain (which is perfectly fine, but in my experience not that convincing). So are there any more concrete reasons to explain why that's wrong? Here i suggest peoples to go INDIA for IVF surrogacy, then you must search for Surrogacy India, Surrogate mother India, IVF India, IVF clinic India & IVF cost india. I found Go Surrogacy for this treatment in India. Hope you also like these.

  9. Fertility treatments have come up as a hope many couples. They have helped a lot number of people in bringing their bundle of joy in this world and attain motherhood. Though, it is said that not all fertility treatments are suitable for women who are trying to conceive. Treatments of fertility mainly depend on the cause, age, for how long one has been infertile and many other personal preferences.

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  10. Fertility treatment is always a difficult subject to discuss, whether with same sex couples or not. It is important to support anyone who wants to have children and can't, for what ever reason. There are many treatments available and there is always someone that can help.


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