What Women Need to Control In-Vitro Fertilization

By Menzies, Heather | Herizons, Spring 1994 | Go to article overview

What Women Need to Control In-Vitro Fertilization


Menzies, Heather, Herizons


What women need to control in-vitro fertilization.

If women can get the help and support they need to control IVF technologies available today, there might be more hope of controlling other, more `high tech' NRTs in the future.

Here's what's needed, at a minimum, for potential consumers of IVF to control IVF:

1 Women need to be guaranteed sovereignty over their bodies, including those parts which are removed for in-vitro fertilization. Women's reproductive autonomy must be clearly established in law. (This was recommended to the Royal Commission by the Coalition for Reproductive Choice in Winnipeg, the Canadian Labour Congress and Carleton University law professor Brettel Dawson). With such a law in place, anyone using a woman's eggs or fertilized embryos without permission, including precise limitations on that use, would be committing a crime.

2 Because of its low (less than 10 per cent) success rate and the lack of long-term studies on various aspects of the technology used, IVF must be clearly identified as an "experimental treatment." This was recommended by a number of women's groups: NAC, The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) and the YWCA of Yellowknife. All the World Health Organization guidelines concerning human experiment subjects would have to apply: No private-profit clinics, and complete disclosure of all information about all aspects of the treatment and the associated hazards.

3 Women need information about the long-term effects of the IVF technologies. Many women are ready and eager to cooperate in long-term follow-ups, both of themselves and any children born as a result. But they cannot do it alone. IVF must be mandated by government policy, and supported by it as well. This was recommended by NAC, the University Women's Club of North York and the DES Action Canada.

4 Women also need to inform themselves about the technology on their own terms, not on terms dictated by a doctor or clinic who may or may not accept them for treatment. …

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