Regulating Reproduction: A Bioethical Approach
Over the last 10 years, across the globe, there has been a steady increase in the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) reports the highest uptake in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden where more than 3.0 percent of all babies born in 2010 were conceived by ARTs (ESHRE 2010). In Australia the figure from 2008 data is as high as 3.3 percent of Australian babies, having risen by 10 percent per year over the previous five years (Wang et al. 2010: viii). In the U.K. the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) reports that, in 2010, 2 percent of babies were born using in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures (HFEA 2013: 39). The figure is lower in the U.S. (approximately 1 percent) (ESHRE 2010), however the number is still significant given the high cost of this developing technology and the comparative lack of public health funding for these procedures in the U.S. It is not surprising, then, that many countries have introduced laws dealing with ARTs and IVF that attempt to impose limits on their use.