The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Is In Vitro Fertilization ethical?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,726 times Debate No: 53852
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Before we begin the debate I have to say that this is my first one so my level of debate may not be up to the standard, or level, you desire as your opponent, but I ask that you do not hold back on your arguments as long as they are logical ones. What is the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? IVF is the process where an egg is taken out of the mother and a sperm out of the father and the two are mixed. The newly formed embryo is placed back into the mother. The mother then goes through the maternal process and has her baby the "natural" way. To start, I think the process of In Vitro Fertilization is very ethical and that it would not be in the best interest for us to deny potential mothers the option to have a baby when they originally could not



I wish welcome Machiavelli101 to DDO and I wish to thank him for this interesting topic. As per Pro's instructions in the comments I will begin my arguments here in round 1.


Human Being : any individual of the genus Homo, esp. a member of the species Homo sapiens. [0]

Opening Arguments


The Process of in-vitro fertilization is dependent on the scientific fact that new human life comes into being at fertilization. Normally, the woman takes hormones to excite her ovaries and produce multiple mature eggs during ovulation. These eggs are then harvested and combined with sperm from the father. These new humans, that are between the zygote and blastocyst stages of development, are then either placed back in the mother's womb or frozen and stored for future treatments. [1]

1. Life is a Gift / Slavery

Pro has argued that life comes about in the natural way by using this technique; but nothing could be further from the truth.

New life is a gift and a product of the union of a man and woman. If you create life outside of this union, you have abused the sexual process and made the claim that you have a right to a child; instead of parental guardianship of the child being a gift to the parents. If you have a right to a child, then the child is essentially reduced to property. The child came into existence through a transaction, and is thus a commodity like a manufactured good. If a human life is a commodity then it is by definition a slave - a condition children conceived naturally are never subject to.

2. Death of Siblings

The process of IVF further involves the deliberate destruction of embryos. The IVF process selects the embryos it believes are the healthiest for the process and long term storage and intentionally kills the rest. Thus, in the process of creating the life of a select few children, many more are intentionally killed.

In fact, the laws in England and Australia demand the destruction of unused frozen embryos after 5-10 years. [2]

And then there is the additional problem of all the parents who wanted children, but reserved other fertilized eggs. As of 2004, the number of frozen embryos in the US totaled approximately 400,000 [3] or roughly the population of Oakland [4]. These are the brothers and sisters of those who were given the opportunity to live out their lives. These forgotten lives were never given the opportunity to live out their life in, as Pro refers to it, the "natural way, precisely because it is unnatural and unethical.

3. Medical Issues

There are a variety of medical issues [5] surrounding IVF:

Ectopic Pregnancy (1-11% IVF - 0.2-1.4% Natural)
Preterm Delivery ( 24-30% IFV - 6-7% Natural)
Small Birth Rate (1.2% IVF - 0.6% Natural)
Perinatal Death (2.7% IVF - 1.0% Natural)
Congenital Abnormalities (1.0-5.4% IVF- 0.8-4.5% Natural)
Caesarean Section (33-58% IVF - 10-25% Natural)
Pulmonary Embolism (0.42% IVF vs 0.25% Natural)
Autism (0.136% IVF - 0.029% Natural)


In the opening round I have shown 3 reasons that IVF is not ethical:

1. It reduces life to a commodity that we have the right to force instead of a gift that we are to treasure.

2. It results in the death of numerous other human beings who were the siblings of those born through IVF while leaving many of their siblings frozen in time and parents in an ethical quandary with what to do with them.

3. An increase in health problems associated with children conceived through IVF.

I look forward to Pro's arguments.

Debate Round No. 1


The opponent says that life starts at conception therefore the embryos left over that are destroyed are being murdered. It is true that a pile of cells is life, but is it a human? I say no, although it has the potential to be one it is not. Also to say that life starts at conception for humans is technically incorrect also. The topic of when life starts has been debated upon for years in the scientific community. Some say it begins at conception like the side of con, others say that it starts at heartbeat because without it we would be dead, others say it starts at brain activity. Finally many believe that life starts at viable life, so when the infant is able to survive on its own then it is living. All of these view points are a opinions including conception and they cannot be used as fact, therefore the case that we are killing these embryos is an invalid argument because it is opinionated and therefore wrong to many people all over the world, including myself.
The opponent also said that the creation of one baby using IVF leads to the destruction of others. It is true that IVF uses multiple embryos so they can have the perfect effect but the argument that the embryos are always destroyed is incorrect. Some of the embryos are frozen and put up with adoption. Others can be used for stem cell research. The research done using these embryos could potentially perform miracles on a god'-like scale such as restoring sight to the blind or regrowing lost arms or fingers. The embryos not only bring the mother happiness but they can also bring people who are unrelated to the IVF process joy that they have never known before. How would it feel to be able to see after years of blindness? It's a amazing thing what these embryos can do and it would be truly inhumane for humans to deny our own kind happiness.
The opponent also said that the so-called siblings did not have a chance to live out their lives because they may not ever be used. The embryos never had a chance to live anyway because the only reason the potential mother went to go through the IVF process is because they could not give birth the normal way, so it actually increases their chance of life. So IVF not only gives mothers joy but it also gives these embryos a better chance of life too. Also the opponent says that the future child is a slave because it is property. These children are no different from you and me. Saying that these are slaves because they are conceived differently is inhumane; they are human, are they not? If these children are slaves then are we not also slaves because, according to the opponent, we are technically owned by our parents.



I thank Pro for his spirited efforts.


1. When Does Life Begin

Pro's contention is that the unborn are not human and adds a bunch of times that it may become human - conception, heartbeat, brain activity, viability. Let's look at these objectively.

Embryo: An organism in its early stages of development, especially before it has reached a distinctively recognizable form. [1]

Thus, terms like zygote, embryo, and fetus are all identifiers of development of the same organism. If I go back second by second through your life I will find that you are the very same organism now all the way back through childhood, through being a fetus, to an embryo, to a zygote. The only time that you were not the same organism is before the sperm and egg joined. Scientifically there is no doubt that a new human being comes into existence at fertilization.

This can be proved with fish. Fish also reproduce using sexual reproduction. The male fish inseminates the eggs in the water after they are expelled from the female body. The parents have no further interaction with the eggs, and yet they develop into adult fish. Thus they must be alive and unique members of the species at the moment of fertilization.

As humans also reproduce sexually we also become living members of the species at fertilization. It is just that we are mammals who protect their young within the mother for the first few months of life in order to protect and nurture our young longer. This allows mammals to be more advanced than other types of animals.

Pro is simply making an argument by discrimination. Under his argument you have to be human AND in order to be a real human being.

You have to be human AND white - justification for slavery
You have to be human AND not Jewish - justification for the holocaust

In fact a cow is superior to a newborn baby in every way. It is more self sufficient, more able to problem solve, etc... Thus, since I can eat a hamburger without there being any moral or ethical conundrum, I should be justified in killing a newborn unless there is something special about being a member of the human race. If that is true, then by simply being a member of the human species, is the sole determining factor to consider. Everything else is simply a form of discrimination of the strong over the weak.

2. Multiple Embryos

Pro argues that embryos are not always destroyed in the IVF process. As shown in the last round, it is standard to discard embryos considered not healthy enough for long term storage. And it has been shown that in Australia and England that embryos are also destroyed after a set period of time.

Pro further argues that embryos can be used for scientific research. What Pro fails to address is that this kills the embryo. As proved above, the embryo is a young member of the human race and thus you have killed a human being in order to conduct research. Pro argues that this could save lives. While there have been no successes using embryonic stem cells (and with new technology embryonic stem cells are no longer necessary), this is a false argument.

I could take Pro, harvest his organs and save the lives or 7 more people. This would be a practical guarantee given modern science. So because I could achieve (as Pro stated) "God-like" miracles for many people on their death bed does not give me the right to end Pro's life to achieve those outcomes.

Pro asks, "How would it feel to be able to see after years of blindness?...and it would be truly inhumane for humans to deny our own kind happiness."

What would Pro say if those eyes were harvested from an inmate in a Chinese prison? Would he claim that it is inhumane to deny the person those eyes? Of course he would, because that one human would benefit unjustly from the injustice to another human. Yet we've already established that the unborn are also members of the human race. Con's argument in this section is an extension of his discrimination identified in the section above.

3. Chance at Life

As previously noted, biology and embryology have shown that embryo's are members of the human race. So an embryo, that has been frozen and will die in this state, has never had the opportunity to live the life that has been given.

4. Slavery

Con completely failed to address my argument on slavery. IVF children come into existence through a transaction, and is thus a commodity like a manufactured good. Pro further claims that my argument is that naturally conceived children are owned by their parents. This is exactly the opposite of my argument. Parents are the natural Guardians of their children. They have been gifted with the care of a child and are charged with teaching and protecting their children, they do not own their children. However, under IVF it is impossible to avoid ownership.

5. Medical Issues

Pro completely dropped this argument.


It has been shown that embryos are members of the human race and that Pro's arguments are based solely on discrimination.

Debate Round No. 2


Machiavelli101 forfeited this round.



Sadly Pro has chosen to forfeit the last round.

I thank Pro for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Geogeer 7 years ago
My thanks to CSO for his vote on this debate so quickly after its conclusion. I didn't expect anyone to have followed it!
Posted by Machiavelli101 7 years ago
Posted by Geogeer 7 years ago
Am I supposed to begin debating in the first round?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Comrade_Silly_Otter 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Though I agree with the topic, con did very well. Much better conduct, not a single blob of a paragraph. Con was the only one to list sources.

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