My brother and his wife were trying to have a baby for the last seven years. With their hard earned savings, they set their sights on pursuing countless fertility treatments. Hanging on to a promise from one clinic that results were "guaranteed," they drove many long hours with remarkable sangfroid to receive treatments. But it was never going to be that simple for them.
There's much to commend in the new policy; most importantly it covers all forms of infertility, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation or family status. The problem lies in what has not yet been addressed by the province -- critical issues that surround both publicly and privately funded IVF -- that demand attention.
Last week, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette tabled a bill that, if passed, will strictly prohibit women over the age of 42 from having access to in vitro fertilization (IVF). While the purpose of the bill, on the surface at least, is to lessen financial strain on the healthcare system, this particular section of the bill doesn't seem to have been included for that purpose. It seems much more likely that what the Quebec government is trying to save is donor eggs, not dollars.
There has been a veritable flood of articles in Canadian media recently about the practice of California IVF: Davis Fertility Center Inc. creating embryos to sell to clients to be used in IVF. Based on my conversations with fertility lawyers and clinicians, the ethical concern and associated uproar isn't about the sale of embryos per se, but about clinicians creating embryos at their discretion without any particular parents in mind, using the characteristics that the clinicians determine are most likely in demand. This is what is so upsetting to so many.
Often when I tell people that my partner and I aren't sure if or when we'll start a family, the same few questions arise. Can you imagine yourself 20 or 30 years down the road, with no children or grandchildren? Don't you want someone to carry on your family's lineage? Won't it be lonely with just you two?
I am an absolute typical example of a new breed of women. Been married, divorced, very independent, love my job, enjoy my freedom and subconsciously take it for granted that I will have children at some point. Is it wrong to want to be settled, secure, with a house and garden before we decide to reproduce? Morally and socially, no, but biologically we are taking a big gamble.