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Sunday, 17 December 2017 21:45

Same-Sex Marriage: Good for the IVF Industry

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Not Just Same Sex Couples 

I know what you're going to say next. It isn't only homosexual couples who use reproductive services - and you're absolutely correct.  Infertile couples and some single women turn to technology and surrogacy in order to grow their families. (It was a heterosexual mother who brought us those ghastly mementos known as 'embryo jewellery.' And the term 'social infertility' is also applied to older women who have deliberately postponed having a family.) It's also not only homosexual couples who do such despicable things as suing doctors for accidentally providing them with too many children. Heterosexual couples have also been guilty of such things. The desire of heterosexual couples to have a child is understandable. Indeed, this desire has ensured that the human species has perpetuated itself for millennia. How strange it is that homosexual couples, who cannot together produce children, feel compelled to use risky, ineffective and expensive IVF in order to obtain children. Any two lesbians or any two gay men are likely to be fertile in a heterosexual relationship, but the IVF industry willingly supplies them with the services designed to assist infertile couples. That is by definition opportunism, and those opportunities will only increase with the legalisation of same-sex marriage.  

The Rainbow Babies

There is one thing about IVF-conceived children of homosexual couples that makes the process particularly problematic: those children will never be able to live with both biological parents. It's tragic when that happens unintentionally, but reproachable when it is intentionally arranged. At best, they'll live with one biological parent. At worst, they'll be caught in a web of legal parents, co-parents, unknown biological parents - and sometimes - divorced ex-parents as well. Children of gay men who use a surrogate will always have a complicated heritage. Here in the state of Victoria, surrogate mothers usually aren't allowed to use their own eggs. This means that at least three adults are biologically involved in each surrogacy case, but it could mean up to five adults involved in creating a child. (This excludes medical staff, of course.) There are now specialist clinics that cater solely to homosexual and transgender couples wanting to buy a child. Unsurprisingly, their families are known as rainbow families. A parentage order is used to erase the biological parent or parents from the child's birth certificate and effectively rewrites history.  

Problems with IVF

While infertility is a tragedy when experienced by heterosexual couples, the pro-life position is that IVF and surrogacy are immoral solutions to the problem. The IVF process almost always involves the taking of innocent life: destruction of excess embryos and, as sometimes happens in the case of a multiple pregnancy, abortion of an unwanted feotus. The more we learn about the IVF process, the more sickening it seems. For example, consider that there are people who are willing to use frozen eggs or sperm from a dead person, such as a woman wanting a child from her dead husband, or

" ...  parents who are desperate to obtain a descendant from a deceased son and cannot, because there is no name on the consent form or simply because the widow refuses to."

Well, who could blame her? Were the parents planning to impregnate a stranger to carry their grandchild, while their daughter-in-law grieved for him? There are aspects like this: which is the best type of pornography to use in order to obtain the most helpful semen specimen? Conceiving a baby in the back of a panel van seems romantic by comparison. Then there's the problem of all those leftover embryos. This article from 2012 states that for every woman who goes through the IVF process, around 15 embryos are created. Of these, only 7% ever lead to a pregnancy, and only 1 in 6 pregnancies leads to a born child. Many of the remaining 93% of embryos are simply discarded - 1.7 million have been killed in the UK alone to 2012. There are thought to be around 100,000 frozen embryos in Australia. Consider this explanation of the storage of human embryos. As with the abortion industry, a pre-born's humanity is acknowledged only when it is deemed to be 'wanted':

The inhabitants of this cold kindergarden [sic] live in tanks with compartments where brothers lie together in plastic beakers, and each family is assigned a different color. Within the beakers, they sleep in white plastic tubes known as “straws”, each containing one, two, or three embryos.

The article from which this was taken, Frozen Embryos: How Do They Live? contains a short video made by an IVF provider, and shows the storage tank for these tiny humans. The doctor's enthusiasm for manipulating human lives is palpable, and to my mind, disgusting. I feel that history will judge these doctors as being real-life Dr. Frankensteins, although they themselves fail to see the similarity. There are also major health risks involved in the IVF process, from dangers to mothers (see information below from the VARTA website) and risks to the children, including an increased risk of infertility.  Note that a male same-sex couple won't bear any of these risks personally: however, the surrogate mother and children do.     

Same Sex Marriage: Good for Business

While homosexual couples have been able to access IVF for some years, it's reasonable to expect that numbers will increase with the legalisation of same-sex marriage. A 2016 article by Berkshire Hathaway company, Businesswire, attributed some of the enormous growth in the ART [Artificial Reproductive Technology] sector to the acceptance of same-sex marriage.  

Growing acceptance of same-sex marriages across US

Social acceptance and improved legal regulations governing same-sex marriage have led to a rise in sperm donation and the use of fertility services. It is estimated that same-sex couples are parents for up to six million children in the country.   Invalidation of the Defence of Marriage Act in 2013 led to the demand for fertility services in the US for same sex couples. In addition, with the legalization of same-sex marriages in June 2015, many couples in the future are expected to use fertility services. The use of sperm donors by same-sex female couples has also increased from 15% before legalization, to 20% after legalization of same-sex marriages. This trend is expected to hugely impact the future of the fertility market in the US.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

There were over 187,000 ART (Artificial Reproductive Technology) procedures covered by Medicare last financial year in Australia, at a cost of over 242 million dollars. Officially, Medicare doesn't cover IVF for homosexual couples - (Victoria appears to be the exception). But if a woman in a lesbian relationship has enough unsuccessful IVF cycles, she may then be classed as 'infertile' and covered under Medicare. It also appears to be common practice for referring GPs to assume the infertility of their lesbian patients. According to some online parenting forums, a number of lesbians have received a Medicare rebate after accessing IVF. Others have not, so it's very much a case of 'don't ask, don't tell' and the taxpayer will help fund your rainbow baby.     Readers may be interested to note that Medicare has also paid out for women's fertility-related services for men. For example, the screenshot above explains that item 13212 relates to egg-retrieval.  During the last financial year, item 13212 was claimed by 37, 838 Australian women, and by 13 men. The mind boggles. Your hard-earned tax-dollars are paying for biological women who identify as men to have their eggs harvested. Incidentally, as this report into same-sex parented families shows, the welfare of children in transgender families doesn't appear to be on their parents' radar. Instead, the dominant concern in transgender families is how well-accepted the trans parent feels. While the success of lesbian and gay parents is assessed on the basis of their parenting skills, time spent with children, conflict resolution and so on, transgender parents are preoccupied with their own acceptance by their peers and family members. In the study mentioned, the experience of children in these families barely rates a mention. But I suppose only a bigot would notice something like that. 

Babies? There's an App for That

The popularity of ART has spawned a range of alternative services, including some do-it-yourself options such as using social media to find sperm donors. There are also some higher-tech alternatives. The Just A Baby app was launched at the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras and is another avenue same sex couples (or hetero ones) can use to obtain a child. It offers both simpler alternatives to in vitro fertilisation as well as shortcuts for the official process. Although these new methods of conception obviously rely on several elements of the traditional one, (ie, female ova, male sperm and a female uterus), they potentially dispense with some extraneous elements such as the right of children to know both of their biological parents, and their right to know their cultural heritage. After all, as the name suggests, it's 'just a baby.'   From the website:

Just a Baby was created to help meet the need for alternative conception pathways. The traditional approach to starting a family isn’t for everyone. And while same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world, and we’re seeing a boom in surrogacy and IVF clinics, having a baby is still challenging for many people. Just a Baby aims to fill this gap by providing a platform for people seeking alternative ways to making a baby.

The site features an online shop selling ovulation predictors, natural fertility enhancers, and - believe it or not - turkey basters.  

Commercial Manufacture of Humans

As Patrick Macauley asked in 2016, ‘Should we as a society endorse the commercial manufacturing of human beings?' For what else can we call a process that begins with harvesting sperm and eggs, moves on to manipulating them in a laboratory, has the resulting embryos grown in a culture - with weak ones eugenically screened out and discarded - then finishes with the artificial impregnation of a host womb, other than a manufacturing process? What else can we call a single sperm donor fathering dozens of children for Adelaide's lesbians than mass production? Is this commercial manufacture of tiny human beings just a creative example of rainbow entrepreneurship? Or is the IVF industry's embracing of same-sex marriage yet another case of parasitic opportunism? With costs of ARTs increasingly steadily while success rates remain stable - and low - I think it's fair to say it's the latter.  

Kathy Clubb

Founder and Editor of The Freedoms Project

Kathy has been active in pro-life work for 6 years and was involved in a constitutional challenge to Victoria’s exclusion-zone laws. She is the Melbourne co-ordinator for Family Life International and is a member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Kathy began writing about pro-life and Catholic issues at Light up the but broadened her range of topics as she came to learn more about the many threats to freedom which are common to all Christians.

Kathy home-educates her youngest 6 children and considers her family to be her most important pro-life work.