IVF expansion (letter)

IVF expansion (letter)

Brian A. Coman

IVF is barely a tick old on the evolutionary clock yet already we have seen an alarming array of unacceptable demands upon it and, we are told, some 70,000 individual souls suspended in ice around our nation. God alone knows how many others languish in similar suspense around the world.

Few subjects can have greater importance for our future than the miracle by which new life is brought into existence - the miracle which used to be called procreation but nowadays is referred to in unromantic laboratory terms like fertilisation. As I understand it, what happens at fertilisation, or conception, can be observed by us but not really understood let alone replicated. The miracle of new life remains as deep a mystery today as it ever was.

The new age technology of In Vitro Fertilisation means, literally, fertilisation in glass or, more commonly, fertilisation outside of the woman's body in an artificial environment such as a petri dish.

It is not an improvement on the miracle of fertilisation, but a relocation from the warmth and sanctity of the human body to the laboratory where the technicians can pursue their objectives to the limit of what our man-made laws will allow.

We should all stop here and think a while. Is this what we really want? Do we really want to entrench a process that has the potential to spread and even supplant the natural processes? To my mind, IVF technology is manipulation rather than science; and you can bet your bottom dollar that the manipulation will not stop soon, particularly while the big money continues to flow freely around it.

The latest demand on IVF seeks to take advantage of an unintended consequence of federal anti-discrimination law, a law which is not even remotely related to the act of procreation. As has been noted by others, our High Court judges were not asked to adjudicate on the rights of children but only on an apparent contradiction in the laws as written.

One would have to ask whether the law has any business at all in so basic a human function as procreation. The fact that it is so involved is just another consequence of IVF.

Mordialloc, Vic

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