Friday, 10 April 2015
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
The definition of family, as I was taught in primary school, is ‘ a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit’ or ‘all descendants of a common ancestor’.
These are the definitions I’ve lived with most of my life. In recent years there has been a distinct change or should I say two distinct changes. Firstly, there is a strong feminist movement which thinks two parents are not necessary; in fact many in this group think men are no longer required in the modern world now that we have IVF. A test tube doesn’t require any emotional input does it.
There are thousands of women who, for medical reasons, are unable to conceive naturally and I sympathise with their predicament. Many of these women, and their husbands, want children desperately so go down the IVF route and it can cost them dearly, financially and emotionally. In certain circumstances some can be financed by the NHS and according to the baby centre website, in 2009 nearly 2% of babies born in the UK were conceived as a result of IVF treatment. All these babies were desperately wanted and I have no doubt are being brought up in loving homes.
However, we now have surrogates too and surrogacy is becoming more popular than ever. The HFEA (Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority) does not regulate surrogacy.
Surrogacy does not require the use or the eggs and sperm of the intended parents. A donated egg fertilised with sperm from the intended father can be used or an embryo created using donor eggs and sperm. If the latter is used then the resulting child will have no genetic relationship with its parents so therefore the current definition of ‘all descendants of a common ancestor’ will not be applicable.
Does this matter? I think so. ‘A Mother who gave birth to her own brother and sister’. How confused will these babies be when they begin to look at their ancestors? I shudder to think. Last month a mother gave birth to a child for her 22 year old gay son. She didn’t use her own eggs but acted as a surrogate for a donor egg fertilised by Kyle’s sperm.
I’ve witnessed the pain of couples being unable to conceive naturally and have complete sympathy with what some undergo in order to achieve a child, but surely there must be some regulation on ‘babies to order’. The HFEA or another body should intervene now because these latest developments may well cause serious problems for the future generations involved.