We pay homage and respect to the ultimate pillar of humanity of our times, Nelson Mandela. As millions and possibly billions who have been inspired by him, we continue the fight for equal human rights for all including innocent, defenseless, voiceless IVF children.
In each struggle, numbers count. Sadly, thats our system. Too often as humans in a democracy, we feel we are just a “statistic”. Then there is the IVFhood. The IVFhood consists of a large IVF ecosystem including the IVF child, donors, surrogates, intended parents, doctors, staff, etc. IVFhood is like being in a marathon where everyone is cheering you on but only the runner knows the truth and has the courage to get to the finish line. Most people do not even know what IVF families go through and what it takes to be part of the IVFhood. All IVF parents are very strong, persistent and determined possibly overcoming several personal, emotional, financial, legal and other struggles. Some who are lucky are blessed with an IVF child, some are not as lucky. Every IVF journey is unique and every IVF parent has an unique story on how they got there and got through with or without an IVF child. We are not just a “statistic”, we are real people with real needs and concerns. We are not asking the government to give every human being a child, we are asking for equal rights so that every IVF child is EQUAL. As an IVF parent, it is one thing to be discriminated against their reproductive rights but to use biology and/or gender of a parent to discriminate against an innocent IVF child takes it to whole another level. It is one thing to stand by quietly when an adult is discriminated and abused but can any parent standby quietly when it is their child being discriminated and abused? We need education and spreading awareness, not secrecy and lies. Let us go through some statistics.
- As per CDC, 1 in 6 couples (about 15%) experience fertility issues. This does not account for singles or LGBTI couples where 100% need some sort of fertility assistance.
- As per CDC, about 1% of child births were through IVF. As of 2013, in about 35 years since IVF’s inception, 5 million babies have been delivered via IVF. This number is expected to grow widely in the coming years especially now that “same-sex” marriages are being legalized.
- With better IVF techniques and increasing demand, the IVF “success ratio” will be optimized resulting in birth of more IVF children and the “numbers” will grow in size.
- With increasing medical tourism and affordability being a significant factor in IVF rather than just infertility or dysfertility, more IVF children may be born internationally requiring appropriate immigration laws.
The current laws for immigration simply do not go far enough and inadvertently puts innocent IVF children in legal limbo. Why? Are they not human beings who deserve “basic human dignity and respect” if not equal rights?
- When an innocent child has no legal identity due to no fault of theirs other than to be born via IVF, is it discrimination based on “birth type”? Its the inadvertent effect of lack of laws and is this the kind of society at we want to leave our children with?
- What are the rights of an IVF child and surrogate when a divorce occurs during an ongoing IVF pregnancy? Does the “intent” of having an IVF child have any significance?
- If its a crime to abandon an infant, should it be a crime to abandon an IVF child with no accountability or responsibility for the IVF child?
- When human errors occur due to accidents where samples get swapped and resulting in a DNA mismatch leading to lack of immigration laws for the IVF child, should the IVF child be abandoned, forced to be given up for adoption, or should the intended parents be forced to live in exile outside their home country because their IVF child cannot immigrate with them or should they break the laws and get the IVF child illegally to their resident country?
- Does a child in legal limbo have any legal rights? Is there a difference when a child is placed in this situation due to no one’s fault Vs. deliberate actions of another human being.
- The basic question is why are we creating IVF children without proper protection and ensuring their basic human rights if not equal rights? Every human being deserves the right to have a child – fertile or dysfertile or infertile, straight, gay, lesbian, intersex, single – but are the laws reflective of this?
“Innovation can only occur when you can breathe free, challenge the government, challenge your teachers, challenge religious leaders” said US Vice President Joe Biden.
A parent who is poor loves their child just as dearly even though they may not be able to afford education, or a parent who is gay or lesbian loves their child just as dearly even thought they may need to legally adopt or go for IVF or an immigrant parent loves their child just as dearly who may be separated from their child due to immigration laws or an IVF parent loves their IVF child just as dearly, then why SPLIT them in certain cases? We do not need the government to show a parent how to love, we need the government to have laws so that there is an equal playing field. The lack of laws is creating such a desperate situation where IVF parents are forced to just ask for BASIC rights to respect their IVF child as a human being and not even EQUAL rights. It is reminescent of past social justice revolutions like women suffrage, civil rights, apartheid, gay rights where initially one asks for basic human respect and dignity and then equality.