IVF’s Dark Side

The negative side of IVF birth defects may finally be getting some publicity. IVF clinics are aware that there is a higher incidence of birth defects among children conceived through IVF. However, consumer awareness is low.

But last week’s news that birth defects are 37% higher is dramatic. “That is a huge number,” writes Art Caplan, of New York University. He is probably the most quoted bioethicist in the US, and possibly the world, so attitudes could change. He writes in a column for msnbc.com:

“the large risk factor now on the table needs to be a key part of how everyone thinks about making babies in medical settings. The authors of the study say they do not know why the risk is so large. And it has taken far too long for this question to get asked. We need to be sure that long-term monitoring of children born by means of infertility treatment is routine and that more research is done into the causes of health problems for kids who cannot make choices about facing risk.

“Infertility treatments have brought a great deal of joy to many.  But, the price is high — so high that we need to be sure it is a key element in thinking about using these treatments.”

Michael Cook


Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Cgjewett

    One only has to look to veterinary medicine’s experience in utilizing IVF and the rest of the myriad of techniques to manipulate fertility to see that when you “mess with Mother Nature”, i.e. what God has put in place to continue the creatures on this earth, unexpected results do occur. Sex selection of embryos began in the veterinary world, specifically in the dairy industry, because only females could provide milk. Cloning began in the veterinary world, and has on occasion been “successful”, but with many failures.  As a veterinarian, it has troubled me that my profession, which began as a helping profession, meaning a profession who dealt with keeping healthy our animal counterparts who worked with us, or ultimately provided sustenance for us, has turned into experimental models or subjects to allow or promote the manipulation by humankind the God given biological basis of life. The people in the profession who do this work are brilliant but in many ways misguided. Those who do it in human medicine are totally lost. It is eugenics cloaked as a mission of mercy. It is a way to make money, it is a way to attempt to usurp God as the Maker and Creator. And most people do not have a clue what is going on. Forgive me if I imply that I think that at some point in time, and maybe not so far in the future, God is going to let us know that what we as humans, His children, are doing, is not what He wants us to be doing.
    Peace and God Bless,