Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More Thoughts from Homework

I also had to write on a presidential election issue. Since I am interested in embryo adoption/donation, guess which one I picked? Here's a little of what I wrote:

“As campaign issues go, this one couldn't present a starker contrast. The supposedly pro-life GOP candidates want to turn [them] into criminals. . . . . The Democrats want to help them pay for it,” writes Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones1. What is this issue? In vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF creates embryos in a petri dish after extracting eggs and sperm from the donors/parents. As someone interested in embryo adoption, many of the blogs that I am reading are claiming that a vote for Romney is a vote against IVF.
If that were true, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, would be one of the greatest of hypocrites. Why? Because without assisted reproduction, Romney would have fewer grandchildren. You see, three of Romney’s sons have struggled with infertility issues and used assisted reproduction to conceive according to Ron Scott, a distant cousin of the Romneys2. Romney’s son Tag, in fact, used both IVF and a surrogate in order to have his three children3. So  why would people think that Romney is opposed to IVF? It isn’t Romney at all. It is Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, who has stirred up this fear in those struggling with infertility. Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act and many fear that the bill’s definition of human life will make the process of IVF illegal4. Many similar bills that are being introduced at the state level are known as personhood amendments.
To state that the personhood amendments will outlaw assisted reproduction is not factual, but it isn’t completely without merit either. Reproductive endocrinologists fear that the amendments would place many restrictions on how their work is done. For example, when the sperm and the egg meet in the petri dish, according to many of the amendments, those newly created embryos are human life. The number of embryos created from an IVF cycle often number in the teens. All of the embryos cannot be implanted into the recipient. We would have many Nadia Sulemann “octomom” cases. Usually one to four embryos (depending on the quality) are implanted and any remaining healthy embryos are cryogenically preserved for future use. Two issues arise in that process. First, not all the embryos survive the freezing process. Will these doctors then face abortion charges? Secondly, what about the embryos that aren’t healthy, that obviously won’t survive the freezing process but likely won’t create a healthy baby either? As infertility is rarely covered by health insurance, payment is usually required at time of service and paid solely by the recipient. It is certain that these fears would make the cost of IVF, which already will easily cost $10,000 for just one cycle to skyrocket because doctors will have to factor in expected lawsuit costs. Sean Tipton, spokesman for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine explained, “If . . . a physician or lab tech drops an embryo on the floor, have they just committed homicide? Manslaughter? This law won't ban IVF, but it will ban (doctors) from doing it right."3
Mencimer claims that Democrats want to help infertile couples pay for treatment. She is referencing incumbent President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for one fertility issue- birth control- opens the door for other fertility issues. The president of Healthcare Advocates, Kevin Flynn, said, “Someone is going to make the argument now you’re going to have to cover fertility.” Dr. Jamie Grifo, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the NYU School of Medicine, agrees, “If you’re going to mandate coverage for fertility controls, that includes both conception as well as prevention.”5

As much as I would love to see infertility costs picked up by insurance, I've always said that my right to my way of life ends when it infringes on someone else's right to life. While it is possible that I may encounter some exceptions to that rule along my road of life, this isn't one of them. Much as I don't want to vote for Romney, he is the only pro-life candidate that has a prayer of winning the vote. I do worry though, what changes in the law may have come about by the time I can afford to actually seek out embryos to adopt. Right now they are considered property. While I consider them life, having them legally designated as property makes the donation much easier. Legal adoption is difficult, expensive, and can take years. I don't really have "years" left. Just thinking about being pregnant at 40 makes me feel tired. I'm trying to remind myself that I won't be working two jobs and going to school then and if my debt is payed off-- or at least way down since I'll probably pick some back up while trying to conceive-- I'll feel much less stressed. And I just saw a little girl with the cutest brown eyes. . .

1 Mencimer, S. (2012, August 14). Ryan Sponsored Abortion Bill That Would Make Romney's Kids Criminals. Retrieved from Mother Jones:
2 Goodman, L.-A. (2012, August 14). Would Ryan's Anti-Abortion, Anti-IVF Bill Criminalize Romney's Son? Retrieved from The Canadian Press:
3 Kounang, N. (2012, August 30). Could 'personhood' bills outlaw IVF? Retrieved from CNN:
4 UltraViolet. (2012, August 16). Women's group says Paul Ryan would "outlaw in vitro fertilization". Retrieved from Tampa Bay Times PolitiFact:
5 Marte, J. (2012, February 10). Will Obama Deal Lead to Free IVF? Retrieved from SmartMoney:

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