IVF & Surrogacy
USA – Fertility clinics are being taken over by profit-driven companies selling false hope
Rachel Strodel, a first year med student describes how the fertility industry is dangerously glossing over what science tells us these treatments can and can’t offer. “Assisted reproductive technology is a potent tool for empowerment for some, and can bring a peace of mind that we should not take lightly. Yet the industry is increasingly exploiting anxieties about reproduction without addressing the urgent inequities, unfounded promises and disregard for medical best practices in the field.” Rachel feels that it’s time to establish an independent government body that can regulate industry practices and ensure women get the information they need to make fertility decisions that are right for them.
the American Society for Reproductive Medicine lifted the experimental label in 2013, a move that normalized the use of egg freezing as part of infertility treatment. However, they did not recommend the procedure’s use for delaying childbearing. There wasn’t enough evidence, the committee wrote, that the benefits of this type of egg freezing outweighed potential financial and emotional risks, and it warned that “marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing may give women false hope.”
“Nonetheless, companies like Facebook and Apple began offering egg freezing as a perk to their employees. This and a host of other factors — the increase in the average age of marriage and childbearing, technological advancements in egg freezing and the legalization of same sex marriage — have pricked the ears of venture capital funds and private equity firms eager to cash in.”
Today, fertility companies and standalone egg-freezing centers cater to people who “aren’t necessarily infertile but want the ability to decide when to have children without worrying about declining fecundity (ability to have babies). Doctors know that while the uterus doesn’t age, eggs do. — a leading reason why females over the age of 35 often have trouble getting pregnant. Egg freezing allows people to keep their eggs young while they get older.”
Fertility start-ups in the USA were giving “free hormone tests that indicate how many eggs a woman has left, but not her overall fertility. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists doesn’t endorse this test as a reliable predictor of reproductive ability in people who are fertile. But the fact that their directive is being ignored is a sign that some level of additional oversight is needed, because self-regulation isn’t cutting it.” Bottom line, the U.S. would be wise to follow the UK’s example to establish an analogous agency to body regulate the all aspects of assisted reproductive technology. It could also require that clients be educated on the effectiveness of tests and procedures offered at these centers — and even ensure that clinics follow standards of care. More