February 25, 2024

80 IVF mums abort children every year in UK

Fertility specialists surprised

After enduring months of stress and
discomfort to conceive a child with IVF, about 80 UK women abort their IVF
babies every year, according to UK abortion statistics obtained under freedom
of information legislation. Fertility specialists were  taken aback by the news. Prof Bill
Ledger, a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the UK’s
fertility watchdog, said: “I had no idea there were so many post-IVF
abortions and each one is a tragedy.”

There was no indication of the reasons for
the abortions, although they do include so-called selective reduction, or the
abortion of one or more foetuses in a multiple pregnancy to allow the survivor
or survivors to thrive. Since about half of the women were between 18 and 34,
who are less likely to have complications in their pregnancies or to have children
with genetic abnormalities, critics suggested that the abortions were done for
social reasons. Another possibility is that some women reluctantly undertook
IVF because of pressure from a partner and aborted the child after their
relationship fell apart.

Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative MP,
said that these statistics meant that some women were treating babies like
“designer goods”. However, Laura Riley, a spokesperson for the British
Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “Women and couples who have had donor
insemination or IVF to become pregnant are unfortunately no more immune from
the harsh vagaries of life than others who are lucky enough to be able to
conceive naturally. Any woman can experience overwhelming life difficulties,
such as intense relationship pressures or the diagnosis of a serious or lethal
fetal medical problem. These may mean that she feels unable to continue with
the pregnancy.” ~ BBC, June 7;
London Telegraph,
June 7

Michael Cook