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stran1540
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Caitlyn.Day
Con (against)
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IVF Debate

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 432 times Debate No: 73928
Debate Rounds (5)
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stran1540

Pro

The basic benefits of IVF is to open the door of pregnancy to those who can't. Not only that, couples who have genetic diseases that could possibly pass on to their children can get the zygote screened before the implantation. (1) The both of the parent suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that could pass on to their offspring. Though with the help of IVF, they were able to give birth to a normal offspring. This method is better than natural implantation, then undergo the screening. By then, if the zygote is unhealthy, the fetus must be aborted, risking the safety of the mother's safety. With the screening before the zygote is implanted, the healthy zygote can be implanted the first time, therefore, guaranteeing the success of the baby's health. This is not the only reason the couple might want to undergo IVF. This method can give those who are not fertile a chance at pregnancy. They can bypass the normal ovulation that the body needs to prepare itself for the pregnancy. Infertility affects 1 in 7 couples, about 3.5 million people, with many as 44,000 couple undergo IVF with resulted in 11,000 IVF babies. 1/4 chances might not seems like a great chance, but these people had no other option. The thought of adoption would seem unfamiliar to them because they ultimately want to experience the joy of pregnancy, raising someone else's child would defeat the purpose. The procedure is not cheap, so it's only available to those who are committed and have no other option, but it ultimately give them a chance at a parenthood that would guarantee them a healthy child despite of their illnesses or fertility that could never happen.
Caitlyn.Day

Con

While IVF is beneficial in the sense that it may give those who cannot conceive a baby naturally a chance to, it can be harmful as well. From the New England Journal of Medicine, it explains that infants that are conceived through IVF have twice the chance of developing a major birth defect than those who are naturally conceived. While a person may be preventing the possibility of passing down their genetic disease, as you say, they are also increasing the likelihood that their child with have a birth defect. Because of this, a person cannot necessarily guarantee the health of their baby. Not only does IVF put the baby at risk for health defects, it also puts the mother's physical health in jeopardy as well. The IVF procedure can cause injury to the organs in close proximity to the ovaries, including the bladder, bowel, or any blood vessels. There is also a risk for pelvic infection due to the egg retrieval and ovarian hyper-stimulation disorder. This disorder can not only postpone the implantation by 2 to 4 weeks, it also causes pain to the mother and can result in life-threatening fluid build-up around the heart and lungs. This procedure can also cause emotional harm to the mother and father both. There is about a 30-40% (varies) that IVF will be successful in women 34 years or younger. After about 35 the rate of success declines with little chance of success at age 40. The parents have to deal with the anticipation and anxiety of waiting for successful implantation and then the disappointment when it does not succeed. Not only does IVF have physical and emotional effects, it also is very costly as you mentioned. One cycle of IVF costs anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000. Some couples only have one shot at IVF since it is so expensive. There are other options that are much safer, such as adoption, that allows couples to have their own children. Parents end up taking in adopted children as if they were their own which allows them to experience the joy of raising their own children.
Debate Round No. 1
stran1540

Pro

As with any procedures, there are associated risks, and the parents undergoing IVF knows that. According to The Guardian "These are often professional, streetwise women who know the physical, mental and financial dangers, but who are prepared to take any risk if it offers even a sliver of hope they might end up with a baby". They fully understands the risks, but their desire of conceiving their own children and raising their family far outweighs the risks to the mother. As for the birth defects, the problems actually comes from the parents, instead of the method. The New England Journal of Medicine have done a study to see if the birth defects were from the procedure or the parents, the results were shown that " A history of infertility, either with or without assisted conception, was also significantly associated with birth defects," IVF only help the parents a shot at conceiving their own child, but the growth of the child in the womb is up to the mother. Other reason aside from the infertility could have be in play to cause the birth defect of the child, IVF is not the sole reason for it. IVF can help these infertile woman to have a chance at conceiving by only speeding up the process through injections of hormones that would be naturally produced by the body. Then the eggs are retrieved using the state of the art technology to limit the harm that it would cause to the mother. This is why the procedure is so expensive, not only the patient require constant monitoring, the process requires vast resources. Though the cost of the procedure might lower with the advancement in technology and making it more affordable for everyone.

Sources:
http://www.nejm.org...
http://www.theguardian.com...
Caitlyn.Day

Con

Just because there is an advancement in technology concerning something does not mean that it is necessarily a good advancement. Advances in IVF technology create several ethical dilemmas despite the benefits it may offer. Improving the technology may make the procedure faster with less risk but it also creates more problems as well. One ethical dilemma created due to the technology of IVF is the creation of designer babies. These babies are babies "whose genetic makeup has been selected in order to eradicate a particular defect, or to ensure that a particular gene is present". People have the ability to choose the traits and genes that appear, or don't appear, in their child through IVF. Even people who are not infertile or have genetic disorders are using this advancement to create their children the way they want them to be. This raises the ethical issue of whether this is acting like "God" and if we as humans have the power to do this. Some people may argue that an embryo that young is not yet a human, however, this does not eliminate the ethical dilemmas for those who are religious or believe that the embryo is a living human. For those who do not believe in God but evolution instead, this still creates ethical problems as well. Darwin has a theory of "the survival of the fittest". By genetically engineering humans to be without flaws or illness, this essentially gets rid of the theory that so much of science is based off of. If the costs are lowered for this procedure like you say, more people will be able to obtain this procedure, meaning more people will have the ability to modify their genes. This creates the potential issue "of transmission of undesired alterations in the germline". With more people genetically engineering, the higher the chance there is for new mutations and allergies. This gives light to the ethical dilemma of risking the health of the public for a "perfect" baby. The human genome is a complex subject and when we start to play with it, there are unknown and unprecedented consequences that we cannot prepare for.

http://occupytheory.org...
http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org...
Debate Round No. 2
stran1540

Pro

We are not yet at a stage in which a "perfect" baby is yet viable, or yet it will happen soon in the future. The fact that genetic screening only screen for a specific known gene for known diseases, it only help the life of the child when it's born. Take the parents with Cystic Fibrosis for example, with genetic screening, they were able to give birth to a child without Cystic Fibrosis (1). Isn't this what's evolution is all about? To those who believe in "natural selection", the fact that mankind is able to alter their own gene and further increase their chance of survival all part of "natural section". To those who believed that mankind shouldn't play god, isn't that's how we advance in science as a creature? We have to defy conventional means to further technology and science. Just as before it was blasphemy to think that the Earth was round, isn't this the same argument. Though this thought of everyone being able to alter their gene to be "perfect" is still a bit far-fetched. Only a few parents only have access to the procedure due to its costs and complication. Also, the genetic screening only screen the available gene that is already present, it can not add new gene nor remove what's already there. It's a way of avoiding life threatening disease later on, not a way to determine a trait. With genetic screening, parents will be able to save money down the road with a "normal" child. They don't have to pay an extreme amount of money because of their kid's illness that they have so much trouble conceiving. Genetic screening isn't a method of creating "perfect" baby, but rather select a "normal" zygote so that it would have a better chance of survival with all of the odds stacked against it.

(1) http://www.nejm.org...
Caitlyn.Day

Con

Genetic screening and genetic engineering are two difference things. Screening allows a person to see what health problems they may have whereas engineering is the actual modification and alteration of those genes. While genetic screening may then see harmless because it does not have a direct affect on the genes, it can be just as harmful. For those who have genetic diseases, genetic screening can be used to identify these, like you mentioned. The problem with this is that it may prove to be beneficial to those embryos that do not have genetic diseases or other issues, but what about those who do? What happens to these embryos that are "defective" and not fit to be used? There are several options that the parents can choose as the fate for their extra embryos. The first one is to dispose of them. This requires that the embryos be thawed and then incinerated to dispose of them. Just this reason alone has many problems surrounding it. There are people that see embryos as living and even a little person so, to them, disposing of the embryos is killing potential life. There is also the question of whether disposing of these unused embryos is violating that future person's rights and liberties. Who are we to decide who gets life and who doesn't? This is a very prevalent situation as in 2012 it was concluded that only about 7% of viable embryos are actually used. This means that 93% of these embryos, about 1.7 million at the time, are having their future decided by others. There is also the option to donate these unused embryos to medical research which can also relate to the problem of seeing these embryos as potential life. The parents can also decide to keep the embryos frozen in storage. There is both a financial and ethical problem surrounding this option. Embryo freezing costs about $10,00 per cycle and then $500 to $1,000 per year to keep them in storage. This is all on top of the already expensive procedure. The ethical side of the problem is freezing life. Some people do not believe that life should be frozen, or paused, even in embryonic form. Genetic screening may help give life to a healthy children but it also lowers the chances for those "less fit" to have life as well.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
http://www.genome.gov...
http://openscholarship.wustl.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
stran1540

Pro

If it wasn't through the process of IVF, those embryos would probably never get a chance at developing in a womb. Even if the parents would to go through all the available embryos, chances are that the one that didn't get the genetic screening would not be able to see it through to conception. " 60% of embryos are abnormal in women by age 35, 85% by age 40, and 95% by age 42" (Dr. Ernest Zeringue, founder of the California IVF Fertility Center). Most woman undergo IVF at ages 35 or above, therefore increasing the chances of creating an abnormal embryo. Whether or not it is ethical for the parents to freeze the embryos or even destroy them is all depended on the persons personal believes and preferences. The parents of the extra embryos can decide to donate their unused embryos to a fertility clinic, giving someone else a chance at conceiving their own child. This is no different than giving up your child to adoption, if the embryos are living. It's ultimately up to the parent whether or not they want to keep them for future use, or to dispose of them, it wouldn't have been possible without IVF anyway.

http://bkultrasound.com...
Caitlyn.Day

Con

What happens to the unused embryos is only part of the problem. The many embryos that are placed in the mother's uterus for implantation can result in multiple births. The chances of having more than one embryo implant is about 20 to 40 percent depending on the amount of embryos placed in there. In a study in the UK, about 46% of the IVF procedures resulted in multiple births. Multiple births pose several different problems. From an article from the NYTimes, it states, "Carrying twins or higher-order multiples raises the risk of preterm births; low-birth-weight babies, with the possibility of death in very premature infants; long-term health problems; and pregnancy complications, including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and Caesarean section." Loss of the entire pregnancy is more likely as the number of implanted embryos increases. Because multiple births may result in premature birth of babies, this can leads to problems with brain development and cerebral palsy, or impaired muscle movement. Multiple births also increase the blood pressure of the mother. The actual birthing is extremely hard on the mother as well as the births take way longer than single births are often require suction or forceps for the babies after.

http://www.babycenter.com...
https://www.asrm.org...
http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 4
stran1540

Pro

IVF at this point isn't clearly for everyone, the process is complicated with many uncertainties, but keep in mind that the reason that IVF exist is for those small fraction of people, the one who are infertile, financially stable, yet willing to take risks at conceiving their own children. The procedures include taking many hormone substitute that causes super-ovulation, then those eggs are received and then inseminated outside of the body. The embryo is then implanted in the mother's uterus and the pregnancy start as if it's by natural means. More than one embryo might be implanted to ensure success, though it can cause more than one birth as you mentioned. However, there are more precautions that a clinic can do to ensure that wouldn't happen. For example, the clinic can grow the embryos for five days instead of the conventional three, to ensure the single one picked is the healthiest. When this combined with genetic screening, increase the chances of the survival of the embryo. In the United State, nearly 1% of the baby nowadays is being born with IVF and continue to rise. As technology increases, and the procedure becomes safer, infertile couples can now have a chance at starting their own family. IVF provide an option for those who can't, an alternative for those who are willing to take risks.

http://americanpregnancy.org...
http://www.resolve.org...
Caitlyn.Day

Con

These risks, as you call them, have legal issues attached to them that many people do not realize before starting the IVF process. Today, there is a massive debate over who receives ownership of the frozen embryos in the event of a divorce or a death of a parent. Often times there is a "custody" battle between the two parents. To figure this out, first the court much choose whether they label the embryos as "people". In this case they use parens patriae, or "best interest of child", in which they must analyze which parent is better suited to take on these embryos as would normally happen in a custody case. However, there is also the chance that the courts will decide that the embryos are not people but property. The embryos would then go to the rightful owner, which is hard to discern since it is made up of both parents. There is also the possibility that the court will decide that the embryos are not people nor property but something in the middle. In this situation, the court has a legal and ethical dilemma. The constitution protects the peoples' right to reproduce but in this case, they have to choose between who's right is more important. This brings the situation of one parent not wanting to have children to care for but the other one wanting to. Is that person's right to reproduce more important then the other person's right not to reproduce? While IVF does provide life for those who cannot otherwise produce it, it also denies potential life of many embryos with many repercussions in many areas such as legally, health-wise, and financially. IVF is not the only choice as there are approximately 397,122 children in the foster care system who need families. It is not the same as giving birth to the child but in a way it does give life to those children who do not have families.

http://www.ccainstitute.org...
http://scholarship.law.edu...
Debate Round No. 5
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