IVF. Do you think it should be used for anything other than infertility? To fall pregnant after a husband’s death, for example, using his frozen sperm?
That’s what Katie Elfar did, after her husband, Karim, passed away from terminal cancer. His diagnosis, two weeks after the birth of their first child, wasn’t only awful in itself – it also shattered their dreams of a big family. So they made the decision to try IVF, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally after all the treatments.
Let’s be clear here: IVF is not something I agree with anyway. But this particular situation raises even more questions than usual. Is it fair to wilfully bring a child into the world who would never know their biological father? Whose father was already dead at the time of conception? It just doesn’t seem right.
Also, there’s the IVF process. As much as the media tends to paint it in an ever-successful light, that’s just not the reality. Katie’s case is evidence of this – her first fertility treatments were while Karim was really sick, a grueling process that she had to navigate alone. She discovered she was pregnant after her husband had passed away but lost the baby at 23 weeks, facing the trauma of burying another family member within months. Is it okay to allow a woman to go through this kind of suffering alone?
And as with any other moral dilemma, it opens up a slippery-slope of bizarre possibilities. I can already imagine the headlines of celebrities selling their sperm to be used after their death, of crazily obsessive women sneakily gaining access to the sperm of their unrequited love…It’s a little scary, but people are marrying cardboard cut-outs of themselves these days. Who knows what could happen next!
The legalities at this point state that sperm cannot be used in a reproductive treatment after a man has died, unless he had consented before death (as was the case for Katie’s husband). I feel like there’s a reason for this law, wouldn’t it be best to maintain it? Sure, it’s hard to think rationally when there’s this gloss of emotion, associated with Katie getting to have a second child to her beloved husband. But that just doesn’t alter the ethical questions at hand.
What do you think?
Image taken from dailylife.com.au