Monday, 23 April 2012

IVF: is the treatment selfish, irresponsible and damaging?

I was alarmed at recent statistics released by the government this week that showed a huge rise in the number of single women and lesbian couples receiving fertility treatment, more commonly known as IVF.

According to the new figures by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, in 2010 1,571 women received the treatment, a quadruple rise in the number of mothers when compared to only 350 single women in 2007.

The number of lesbian women also seeking treatment has also doubled, from 178 to 417, compared to a rise of just 18% for heterosexual couples.

Without a doubt, IVF has made a huge difference to the many women who have tried and failed to conceive, with IVF giving women a lifeline in their quest for motherhood. It's expensive, but obviously the benefits are priceless when you're handed your new son or daughter some 9 months later.

But my problem isn't with the treatment, it's with the reasons behind it. With these figures in mind, it suggests that women are deliberately choosing the right to care for their child without any help from a 'father figure.'

For me, this is a completely selfish, damaging and irresponsible thing to even consider, let alone do. We've seen the documentaries on 'Broken Britain', we all know the facts that if a child is raised fatherless, they're likely to suffer in later life.

How would you feel, as a mother who was the sole parent of a child, if your 'baby' ended up a drug addict, with no job prospects, no qualifications and his own family to care for? Well, we've all seen it on Jeremy Kyle haven't we.

So what reasons could you have for wanting to bring up a child without a father? I sympathise with Lesbian couples, at least you're getting two role models for your child, but single mothers making the choice to bring up their child on their own, how can you justify your actions?

The fault, it seems, can be traced to the government. When the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 2008 removed the requirement for clinics to take into account the child's need for a father-like figure, it gave women a clear path to have babies on their own without the need for a father figure to be present in the household.

Single mothers now have as much right to a child as couples, and although this may seem fairer, undercover documentaries featured on Panorama have also shown that single couples are benefited by bigger benefit handouts by councils, for example.

Is the government creating a climate which promotes single parenting and condones the traditional family? It's fair to say we are a growing community of independent and ambitious individuals, but risking tradition in favour for a minute number of women to start their own single family seems damaging for all parties involved, particularly the child, who is more than likely to suffer.

With religious groups angry with the recent findings, maybe the government should think again at the disturbing trends in Britain towards a 'fatherless society'.

Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia

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