It’s a busy time to be a fertility ethics specialist. While the TV news, tabloids, and blog-pundits were still frothing about the mother of six who had given birth to octuplets*, word came from western Canada that 60-year-old Ranjit Hayer had had twins. (For what it’s worth, Hayer doesn’t hold a record. That may belong to Carmela Bousada, a Spaniard who had twins six days before her 67th birthday.) These stories may be at the sensational end of the fertility treatment spectrum, but the questions they bring up will probably last long after the national gaze has turned to other spectacles.
What regulations, if any, should limit fertility treatments? Should they be based on age? Or the number of implanted embryos? Or the potential parents’ ability to support their children? If you’re one of the millions of women who have sought infertility-related medical help, what has the last month looked like through the lens of your own experience?
*In a sign of the uncharted territory we’re entering, “octuplet” may be in our working vocabularies now but it’s not yet in our dictionaries. My American Heritage and the browser’s spell-checker both stop at “sextuplet” — two babies away.
- Marna Gatlin: Former infertility patient and founder of Parents Via Egg Donation
- Paula Amato: Associate professor and reproductive endocrinologist at OHSU and OHSU Fertility Consultants
- Patricia Backlar: Research associate professor of bioethics at Portland State University
- Shawn Vandor: An author currently working on a memoir about being the biological son of an anonymous sperm donor