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Assisted reproduction in the contemporary world has received a lot of attention with great developments in the field of medicine. As a matter of fact, this has led to many ethical issues that surround it. When the term assisted reproduction is mentioned in this context brings about the issues of surrogacy and the donation of egg and/or sperm. In this sense, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) involves the removal of an egg or eggs from a woman, the donation of sperm from a man, and the combination of them ex utero in order to produce one or more multi-cell human zygotes or embryos which may be frozen for implantation or may be immediately implanted into uterus of the woman who wants to bear a child or children (Wardle & Nolan, 2002, p.276.).
Although the technology involved is too expensive records of Centers for Disease Control have shown larger numbers of children born of surrogate mothers. Research has shown that there are several ethical dilemmas that surround the whole issue. In essence, surrogacy involves a woman who the surrogate conceiving by means of artificial insemination is using an egg from another woman who may be termed as a gestational surrogacy (Wardle & Nolan, 2002). In line with this, it may be the using of the surrogate’s own donated egg which is best termed as donor surrogacy and the sperm of a donor and bearing the child for another person or couple. In reality, the surrogate acts for a married couple in which the wife is infertile and the sperm used in the insemination usually comes from the husband of the woman for whom she is bearing the child. This is the kind that is used to bear children for single men, women and the same –sex gay couples.
Due to the increased number of children born of surrogate mothers, there have been some regulations in some states that oversee surrogacy. Owing to the increased IVF contracts, several ethical dilemmas have been brought into the context. Bearing in mind the fact that surrogate mothers are paid, the practice has been surrounded with issues of exploitation of the poor mothers. In the United States, the surrogate mothers are paid an amount that is at $ 4,000 whereas in India the amount paid to a surrogate mother is at $12,000. As a result, the poor mothers in India have been exploited in India for quest to safe money from those that do it with the main aim of gaining without using so much money (Shenfield & Sureau, 1997).
As such, doctors are given a fee for locating a surrogate mother along with the fact that the amount being too much, the only cheap ones can be achieved by using the poor Indian surrogate mothers as they can take any amount. This is immoral and unethical as it is a form of exploitation of the poor owing to their state of economy. Due to the high cost of fertility treatments, doctors often place multiple eggs back into the womb. Following this point, selective abortion is made application of. This is to suggest that some of the eggs that lead to premature infants are aborted (Walter & Shannon, 1990). Such a resolution is immoral and in actuality unethical as it is like taking an infants life. Also, if doctors put back to the womb several eggs, why then do they have to put many of them if they intent to carry out selective abortion. This is like giving life to the infants and then denying them. It is basically wrong and unethical as human life should be treated with sanctity.
In connection to this, selective abortion although intended to safe the parents from high costs of treatment and bringing up of such children who are born premature, it is immoral in some cases (Walter & Shannon, 1990). Nonetheless, there are cases which make selective abortion a moral act. If the parents are allowed to give birth to multiple children, this becomes the society’s responsibility to help families with multiples who are born premature with defects or who are mentally retarded. This occurs as the society is obliged to provide medical care and facilities for such families as some of the genetical defects may be too costly.
Again in this context, death of infants which is a loss to the society may greatly increase the responsibility of the society to care for such families. Such children may also not contribute so much to society’s development and as such, this may be a burden to the society (Shenfield & Sureau, 1997). In this case, if parents decide to give birth to all multiple children, this becomes a society’s obligation to care and help such families as they have to medically provide for them and give them moral support as well.
If premature infants are allowed to live, supporting the life of extremely premature infants may prove to be too much demanding and a challenge to the medical care. This brings about the ethical dilemma of whether the premature infants should be saved at all costs. This is a great ethical dilemma in the sense that it may be within the desire of the medical care community to safe the infants but the costs may be too much that it can only result to too much straining. Extremely premature infants may prove to have high costs of medication and to the parents it may cause emotional trauma which may limit their contribution to the society (Shenfield & Sureau, 1997).
Therefore, extremely premature infants should not be saved at all costs as it makes the society to be burdened along with the fact that it may limit the society’s resources and development. The question of who should make the decision for treatment when a baby is born extremely premature has been raised in connection to this. This question has proved to be hard as it becomes more complicated when dealing with human life (Shenfield & Sureau, 1997). Arguably, the decision in this case cannot be absolutely left into the hands of the parents but this should be decided by the society as whole. The society in this case takes into consideration the medical care community, the parents, the justice system and the community as whole.
Despite the many ethical issues that are interlinked with assisted reproduction, it should be taken into consideration that reproduction is all about dealing with life. In this context, human life is taken as scared and therefore it should be treated with great care and sanctity (Walter & Shannon, 1990). Therefore whatever the dimension that assisted reproduction may take be it selected abortion, IVF or treatment of extremely premature infants, it is all in actuality some kind of killing. Hence, ethical considerations in assisted reproduction should be taken into account while dealing with the life of the infants in spite of their defects.