Kiwi Polemicist

February 8, 2009

• Octuplets result of IVF: what are the ethical issues?

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Stuff is reporting that Nadya Suleman or Octo-Mom according to some papers (groan) had six embryos implanted during her in vitro fertilisation and that this resulted in octuplets (eight babies born). As a classical liberalist believe that no one should be imposing morality upon other people, but I do want to look at the ethics of this case and the ethics of IVF in general:

1) The ethics of this case:

  • Suleman is a single mother and single parents cannot provide the male and female input that a child needs. For more on that see Pure evil: social workers give children to gay couple for adoption despite wishes of parents. These children will almost certainly not have a healthy, balanced upbringing.
  • Suleman had six babies (embryos) implanted, and multiple births on that scale clearly disadvantage the children, quite possibly resulting in life-long disabilities. These ones were born 9½ weeks early.
  • Suleman appears to have a selfish desire for children that she wants to fulfill regardless of the cost to those children. This is from Stuff:

“I feel as though I’ve been under the microscope because I’ve chosen this unconventional kind of life,” Suleman told NBC News. “I didn’t intend on it being unconventional. It just turned out to be. All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That’s all I ever wanted in my life.”

(To which I would say, if you don’t want to be under the microscope don’t talk to NBC or any other news organisations. This is speculation, but my gut feeling is that Suleman is also seeking fame and fortune: this is the modern version of a freak show)

2) The ethics of IVF in general:

  • I believe that life begins at conception, and therefore any killing post-conception is killing a human being, i.e. murder. I do not have the time to debate this with commenters: if you want to read a good debate about this go to Samuel Dennis (normally I’m happy to debate issues, but debates such as this are usually time-consuming and fruitless. Besides which, Samuel has spoken well and there’s no point in reinventing the wheel).
  • IVF creates “spare” babies/embryos: I have seen an unsubstantiated claim that there are 500,000 such babies in the USA. What happens to them? Some are frozen, some are killed. IVF results in murder.

I believe that Suleman should be free to make the choices that she has made: I also believe that the choices she has made are repugnant and immoral.

What do you think about the choices that Suleman has made and the points that I have raised?

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If you found this post interesting have a look at these ones:

Nurses find late term abortions difficult

Abortion: is an unwanted baby a trespasser?

Hat tip: Kiwiblog

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4 Comments »

  1. This is unfortunate. The choice to have children without a father in the picture is ridicules.

    Comment by Jaci Struwe — February 8, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  2. Nadya Suleman went on workers compensation disability back in 1999 (at age 23) due to a work-related back injury (in which she filed 2 different workers compensation claims, one of which netted her $168,000). For the past 10 years though she’s been receiving disability payments and unable to work, she’s been able to undergo several IVF treatments and have 14 children. Since disability payments generally aren’t counted as income (or taxed), she’s also likely been able to receive welfare for each of her 6 children.

    This woman has been living off the system for most of her adult life and will continue to do so at taxpayer’s expense.

    Comment by lucca — February 8, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    • lucca: are you able to supply a link to the source of that information please?

      Comment by kiwipolemicist — February 8, 2009 @ 8:14 pm


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