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Monday, March 27, 2006

Life begins

In an attempt to stay away from all things TTC last week, I read some of the Irish current affairs blogs instead. There was an interesting discussion on Sarah Carey's blog about the frozen embryo debate, and it wasn't long before I was sucked in to discussing fertility issues.

There have been two recent legal cases, one in the UK and one in Ireland, that have brought up the issue of the right to life of a frozen embryo. In the UK, Natallie Evans underwent an IVF cycle with her then fiance following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Six embryos were frozen for use after her treatment, which left her infertile. Before the embryos could be transferred, Natallie split up with her fiance, and he asked for the embryos to be destroyed. Natallie took a case to the High Court, and when that failed to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing for the right to life of the embryos. The European Court ruled that they did not have a right to life without the consent of the father.

A similar case in Ireland is due to be heard next month. A woman is seeking transferal, against her estranged husband's wishes, of the remaining frozen embryos from an IVF cycle that produced a daughter. This case has implications for the Irish Constitution, which provides specific protection to the life of "the unborn", although this legal entity has never been defined by the courts. It is up to the High Court now to decide whether the frozen embryos constitute life that should be protected, or if they are simply the joint property of a marriage, which can now be destroyed. It's an issue that our politicians have been dodging for decades; now they may not even have to get their hands dirty.

These cases are both heartbreaking - obviously the women involved see the embryos as their only remaining chance to have a baby. I've posted my views on the issue on Sarah's blog.

Now, if I hear one more mention of doctors "implanting" embryos in women's wombs....


At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny after all the years of being "Shaggy's little sister" to see someone describe themsleves as "Derval's Ray". I'm moving up the chain baby!

Very interesting discussion. I think it is very cruel to deny his ex-fiancee the child she wants so much.

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous lisau said...

Hey Feebee,
It is actually stunning to me that Dr.s would begin any procedures involving embryos without some kind of full agreement in the event of illness,death,estrangement or divorce. A sort of pre-nup. It will always be hard for me not to take the womens side emotionally as the man rarely loses his options.There is so much emotion involved because while there is no guarentee of life it is certainly the last hope for many women. I always have sided on the rights of women to control their own bodies...certainly as a woman I would want everything in writing & legally binding as to control of any embryos whether I wished to donate or what have you. Lot's of room for moral ambiguity,science sometimes progresses past the point where answers are easy & certainly this is true in this arena. I don't envy anyone caught in the middle.

Different topic with no clear right answer that I am thinking about~the frequent use of progesterone supplements in pregnancy. I have read so much debate about whether they change the course of a pregnancy,that adequate progesterone is produced in viable pregnancies,and when levels are low, chances are the pregnancy is not viable.
The alternate theory of course is that progesterone support will save a otherwise viable pregnancy in which a hormonal lack is the problem. At a board which I have posted on, a woman had huge progesterone support during a pregnancy in which she spotted early on. Recently,after a couple more short-lived spotting episodes she found out her baby has a serious genetic defect that will result in pre-term death. She was 13 weeks when she learned this. I have been debating my course of treatment were I lucky enough to become pregnant especially given that the whole "decrepit pregnant woman" label would automatically be bestowed on me.lol.I have decided that I will forgo any hormonal supplements..any egg of mine is going to have to beat the odds just to have a chance,my cyles look pretty darn strong temp wise,my LP is generally good so I will just ride out my first several weeks & schedule a prenatal like every other woman.

And...if I were to have a girl I would name her Natalie-take that fertility Gods I am thinking about names!

(Hope is alive in the USA)
Lisa (maybe relocating overseas if another sorry excuse for a president is elected next time and I am NOT kidding!)

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Your eloquence in stating the facts was phenomenal. I am deeply trouble with the possible legal ramifications that would result from not allowing these women to make their own decisions regarding their embryos. It is certainly a slippery slope.

As always, I am impressed.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Feebee said...

Lisa - both couples did have contracts drawn up, but in each case the woman was arguing that the right to life of the embryos superceded any contractual agreements.

Come to live in Ireland - our politicians are squeaky clean!

Beth - that's some compliment coming from one of the most eloquent writers in the blogosphere!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

That is really HARD luck on that poor woman who was left infertile after the cancer treatment. The ex can go on to have children..but she can't. What a shit he must be.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Amber said...

I think it is a bit unfair to call him a shit. After all if that embryo was to become a child then that child would be his as much as hers and he would be a father whether he liked it or not.

No one has the right to have a child just becasue they want one.

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