"Octomom" Sparks Action
In the past few weeks, media coverage and public opinion has surrounded Nadya Suleman, who recently gave birth to octuplets, bringing her brood to a whopping 14 children.
While the celebrity gossip magazines have focused on Suleman's family's disapproval, past 911 calls and resemblance to Angelina Jolie, the fertility industry has honed in on the fact that Suleman's 14 children, including the octuplets, were conceived through in vitro fertilization.
According to the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS), Suleman's fertility doctor violated industry guidelines regarding how many embryos that should be transferred at a time. Limiting the number of embryos implanted during IVF is just one of many ethical issues surrounding the assisted reproduction industry.
In June, I wrote an article about donor-conceived children, in which Wendy Kramer, executive director and founder of The Donor Sibling Registry, lamented the lack of federal governance over sperm banks.
In the U.S., guidelines, established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, are not federally mandated and violators are not effectively sanctioned.
Now, in the wake of Suleman's story and the "designer baby" controversy (another leading fertility specialist has begun advertising genetic selection for physical attributes like hair and eye color), the CGS is calling for Congressional hearings to institute federal governance over the industry.
"We need carefully crafted policies that don't infringe on reproductive rights, and that bring responsible regulation to the baby business," said Marcy Darnovsky, CGS associate executive director.