The technology of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been developed and studied for 40 years. At present, more than 4 million children are born through in-vitro fertilization, and most of the parents are unable to give birth normally. However, there is still a huge ethical controversy about the application of in vitro fertilization.
Positive Ethical Impacts
Test-tube baby technology can prevent babies from having genetic diseases. According to data from WHO, there are more than 10000 kinds of monogenic diseases we already found, affects about 10 of every 1,000 births worldwide. The centers for disease control and prevention in US found, about 6,000 babies are born with down’s syndrome in the United States each year, and the risk of developing the disease increases as mother’s age. Genetic diseases have become one of the biggest health hazards to newborn. Babies cannot express their wishes, but I believe that no one wants to come to the world with pain, and we have a moral obligation to help them avoid that risk.
Test-tube baby technology can improve a global issue about the rate of fertility nowadays. The fertility rate has already declined significantly in the whole world since 1965. From 1965 to 1970, per woman gave birth to 4.9 children in the average of the world. However, the average of per woman was only delivered of 2.6 children all over the world between 2005 and 2010. One factor of the many reasons for this subject is infertility because environmental pollution has become more and more serious. In addition, the pressure on working life of people has also increased which resulting in endocrine disorders and the fertility rate reduces. On the other hand, due to the development of technology, electronic products and mobile phones are more and more popular, there is almost everyone has an electronic device. Therefore, people are persecuted more and more easily by the radiation (X-ray). Some experts even pointed out that 70% of females and 50% of males of infertility are caused by bad habits of daily life. These proofs are also making a growing number of the infertility rate. To resolving the current problem, test tube baby has already turned into a mature technique to solve this matter. The skill of in vitro fertilization can also satisfy the dream of homosexuals having kids.
This technology can break the physical barriers to have the reproductive right. According to Proclamation of Teheran, which proposes: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children”.
In addition, Lincoln said, ” The law is revealed moral, and morality is the hidden law.” Test-tube baby technology has been legalized in many countries (Britain, Germany etc.), which means most people agreed to use the technology, it’s positive role in moral is far outweigh the negative effects. To sum up, artificial fertilization not only solves the obstacle of infertility but also increases the fertility rate. Test-tube baby technology can also help prevent genetic diseases in infants and improve global medical conditions.
Negative Ethical Impacts
The test-tube baby technology has brought many benefits for the whole society, but there are also many negative impacts. Although people can screen for genetic diseases of the embryo through test-tube baby, but it is unfair for those embryos which are abandoned. If those embryos are recognized as a human being with the basic rights normally connected with personhood, arresting their future development will be viewed as an wrong act which constitutes of murder. They still have the right to live, but they have been killed before that, which is highly disrespect of human lives and human dignity and violent for the original rules of parturition.
The second option, people in some regions have the preference of boys to girls, if they have the opportunities to choose the gender of embryos, this may also lead to the gender imbalance of the whole society.
Apart from that, how to store the embryos indefinitely in a moral way has also raised many concerns. In many cases, couples don’t realize their ambiguous attitudes toward their leftover embryos, so they are probably instinctively consider that disposing of an embryo is not equivalent to the disposing of property that is owned. And if a couple have freeze their embryo for later transplantation, but they died in a plane crash, how to deal with the embryo and determine his legal status will become a severe problem.
In some religions, the follower will share a same belief that every fertilized egg is a real live who should be respected. The test-tube baby interferes with the belief that only God can create children’s religious ideas. Therefore, Puritan may believes that the concept of test-tube baby is unacceptable and contrary to the traditional concepts. In addition, reproduction is a major issue for all religions and ethnic groups. This ambiguity may cause parade protests and even greater violent conflicts.
Meanwhile, this technology still brings a serious problem to family ethical relationship. When a couple decide to have a baby and they need a sperm or ovum from a third person, the baby will have three parents which will be confused that who is the real parent? This will have an impact on family education, parenthood, and quality of life, and will also place an even greater burden on society. In addition, the number of the women of advanced reproductive age is increasing due to this technology which will bring more problems to the family and society.
Although, test-tube baby technology is a mature biotechnology nowadays, there are still so many arguments around it and need to be fixed by improving the laws and regulations, ensuring that the parents who use test-tube baby technology have sufficient knowledge, information and related regulations about it, providing ethics consultation for the families who have ethical relationship problems, thus increasing the morality of people and perfecting the technology to reduce the negative impact.