Infertility and the ‘logic of profit’

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An illustration depicts an early stage human embryo following the union of an egg cell and a sperm cell. (CNS illustration/Emily Thompson)

A powerful op-ed is in today’s New York Times on some of the human costs of the $4-billion-a-year assisted fertility industry.

The authors do not mention the countless embryonic human lives lost to these practices, but they draw attention to the “millions of women and men who have engaged in a debilitating, Sisyphus-like battle with themselves and their infertility, involving daily injections, drugs, hormones, countless blood tests and other procedures” — with a 77 percent failure rate.

“It’s hard to miss the marketing and advertisements associated with fertility clinics and service providers that are understandably eager to do what any business does best: sell to prospective customers,” write the authors, both of them former patients. “But what they’re selling is packaged in hope and sold to customers who are at their wits’ end, desperate and vulnerable.”

At a Vatican conference last year, Pope Benedict XVI warned that “scientism and the logic of profit today seem to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation, reaching a point where it also limits many other areas of research.”

As other conference participants explained, the fertility industry emphasizes expensive high-tech approaches over research and treatments that actually address root causes of infertility in the population at large.

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