According to a recent New York Times report, Israel maintains its status as the capital of in vitro fertilization due to a unique treatment policy, which provides free and unlimited IVF procedures for women up to 45.
In the United States, IVF numbers tend to remain low, presumably due to the high costs associated with the procedure. Israel, on the other hand, has prioritized IVF treatment as one of their main public health expenditures in order to promote and support the institution of family, and as current critics would argue, "counterbalance the the high fertility rates of families in Palestinian territories" (source: Huffington Post). Israel's policy has also inspired an ethical debate for those who believe the government's policy places pressure on women to have children as the accessibility of IVF treatment is promoted, with others who believe the approach turns the process of child-bearing into a commodity. These ethical questions are prominent within the field of fertility care around the globe, with other such discussions arising from UK's upcoming IVF lottery.
Whether or not Israel's IVF policy is a religious and political issue remains to be seen; however, the idea that IVF coverage exists undoubtedly sparks the interest of those individuals who would otherwise seek IVF treatment if coverage and cost were not such an issue.
At New Hope Fertility Center, we strive to make IVF more accessible with our low medication protocols, which lower overall treatment costs and decrease discomfort. You can read more about our Natural cycle and Mini-IVF™ treatments here.
In recent Forbes article, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Todd Essig examines the controversial topic of donor rights, examining a new law to take effect in Washington State this month that will require sperm and egg donors to provide fertility clinics with "identifying information and medical history" (source: BioNews).
Our resident clinical psychologist Dr. Allison Rosen makes some interesting points alongside Essig concerning the state laws failure to consider the other important parties involved in the assisted reproduction and donor process: the parents of donor conceived children. As the two mental health experts notably point out, there are suggested guidelines provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) that strongly encourage "pretreatment counseling sessions to help individuals make informed decisions about when and how to discuss donor origins with their child/ren." Rosen continues to illustrate the need to further protect the parents of donor offspring, "Parents want to do what they believe is in the best interest of their child. Donors' needs and the needs of their children must also be protected" (source: Rosen via Forbes).
Laws pertaining to donor anonymity currently vary from state to state, as the fertility environment in the United States remains mostly self-regulated. The notion that governing bodies may start to enact laws that suggest egg and sperm donors may be compared or considered biological parents like those who put children up for adoption clearly blurs the line between law and what Essig and Rosen understand to be an intimate family decision. For now, it seems leaving the choice of donor disclosure up to the raising parents is more favorable than allowing local governments to force such a choice upon parents who already struggle with some difficult decisions concerning their donor children and their own reproductive health rights.
You can read the full story here.
As news in the fertility treatment world reveal stories of doctors losing licenses and other couples continuing to have multiple births, discussions are arising among governments concerning the regulatory environment of fertility care.
Up until now, the fertility sector in the US has developed mostly under self-regulated standards; however, cases like that of the Octomom doctor, who recently had his license revoked, shine a light on the increased awareness of governments concerning the fragility of fertility treatment and patient protection.
The UK has dealt with fertility care quite differently than the US, with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) currently overseeing fertility clinics across the country. With the understanding of the risk multiple births carry, the authority has enforced a single embryo transfer policy since 2007. In other words, if the Octomom doctor was practicing in the UK, he would not have transferred 12 embryos in the first place. The policy has proven effective in decreasing the occurrence of multiple births, with the IVF multiple birth rate falling from 23.6 percent to 22 percent between 2008 and 2009. The agency isn't stopping there: a new HFEA goal aims to drop the multiple birth rate to 15 percent by spring of 2012 (source: BioNews).
The regulatory environments of the US and UK highlight some interesting differences. With the rising popularity of fertility care (from IVF to surrogacy), the shift towards minimally evasive fertility protocols (including Mini-IVF™ techniques), and a trend among experts towards customizing care, it remains to be seen if this type of intervention will become commonplace in the United States.