Synthetic and Chemistry; two chosen words by Dolce and Gabbana Fashion moguls to describe babies born through In Vitro Fertilization during a recent interview.
Their controversial statements have spawned an uproar across the globe, resulting in a vast public backlash. Since having two children through In Vitro Fertilization,(IVF) Elton John immediately took to the media with his response to the fashion moguls, describing their way of thinking as, ‘archaic’ and, ‘out of step with the times.’ Sir Elton John vowed to boycott Dolce and Gabbana, and motivated other celebrities and advocates to do the same.
In a later interview, Dolce and Gabbana defended their statement describing their views as personal and expressing their belief in a, ‘traditional family.’ This statement alone and the opinions of Dolce and Gabbana raise a number of questions regarding Assisted Reproduction Technology, and how the population views families conceived through IVF.
If a family conceived through IVF is not a, ‘traditional family,’ then what are they? Non-traditional family, new family, modern family, these are just a few labels associated with families achieved through Assisted Reproductive Technology, but aren’t they simply a family like any other? There are people all over the world struggling with infertility, with dreams of being able to conceive on their own with out the help of IVF and other Assisted Reproductive Technologies. The harsh reality is some are left with their dreams slowly diminishing, and that they cannot conceive without the help of a fertility specialist. IVF, among other Fertility specialties, offers a greater opportunity for a person or couple to have the family they have always dreamed of.
Although the conception of babies through IVF is unnatural, the eggs, the sperm, the embryo, they are all natural. Once implanted, the human body naturally receives the embryo and carries a pregnancy the same way a natural conception would, it just took some assistance along the way to achieve conception. Since rates of stillbirths and premature deliveries have fallen, a new major study at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark researched to show that Fertility treatment is as safe as natural conception. The University took a look at the health of 92,000 babies born through fertility treatment between 1988 and 2007 and compared them with approximately 500,000 children that were conceived naturally during the same time frame. Their findings reflected no greater risk of having a stillborn baby through IVF than through a natural conception. This outcome is primary due to the advances is Fertility treatment with respect to regulations on embryo transfer numbers and the ability to select the most viable embryo through PGD, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, a test to determine if an embryo has genetic or chromosomal disorders. These recent improvements in fertility treatments have given intended parents an increase in success rates and the opportunity for a viable pregnancy through assisted reproductive technology
Regardless of the method of conception, Dolce and Gabbana’s label of a non-traditional family has no merit. Family labels are most commonly tied to the social aspects rather than the journey of how the family was achieved. Socially speaking, there is no characteristic of a family that is affected by achieving pregnancy through IVF. IVF babies are born just like naturally conceived babies. The choice to conceive through IVF does not carry over into the dynamic of a family unit simply because the conception is unnatural.
Now more than ever before, IVF is becoming more commonly recognized. Breakthrough technologies such as PGD and record rates have proven assisted technology to produce healthy babies and offering people the opportunity to have a family with the result no different than a natural conception. Their children are no different and their family, no different.