A young woman I work with, and her husband, have been trying unsucessfully for three years to conceive a child. She first took fertility drugs and then went for artificial insemination. Those methods have failed and now they are proceeding with in-vitro. They have spent, or will spend, over $10,000 on trying to become pregnant.
Her situation points out more than a few moral dilemmas, in my opinion, and I'd like to hear your comments. (Usually, I reserve my opinions, but in this case I'll state mine up front.)
Moral issues: In-vitro quite often produces more than one fertilized egg for implantation. Do you freeze or dispose of the "extras"? If a few are implanted and several survive the process, it is likely a multiple pregancy will be unhealthy. How do you decide which embryos to "remove"? How does a couple justify spending thousands of dollars to produce a new life when so many infants and children are without parents and need homes? Why not adopt an already existing life?
From my personal view: I like this woman very much. She has confided in me several times and I feel close to her. She has needed to take several absences from work, and when it comes time for reviews, she may well lose her job. While I sympathize with her, I also can see (from management's perspective) why she would be less valuable than an employee who is not inconveniencing others because of her personal family priorities. Dispassionately stated, she is placing a burden on those who must carry her work load while she is away. While I respect her right to reproduce a child who looks like her and her husband, I wonder why they could not become parents to a child who is already alive and needs a loving home.
My questions to you: What are your views of taking extraordinary means to conceive a child? Is it worth the risks, moral choices, financial costs??
Medical ethics are a tricky area. Think of the Duke University transplant fiasco - two sets of organs now garbage while a young woman has died. I'm very grateful to have had two children without needing such heroic measures, but I wonder if any of you have faced these choices.