In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process that allows for the creation of a human embryo outside the womb of its mother. The desire for children that drives IVF is understandable, but there is disagreement within Canada about the ethical use of IVF and the limits to what science may explore.
From the moment of fertilization, each embryo is a unique human being and should be treated with dignity and respect. IVF practices, however, ignore this in three key ways:
- By intentionally creating more embryos than necessary, which leads to aborting, freezing, discarding, or experimenting on “extra” embryos;
- Through technology that allows parents and doctors to identify and reject embryos with various genetic conditions, perpetuating ableism; and
- By accepting anonymous sperm and egg donations so that the children created by IVF are denied access to knowledge of their biological origins.
ARPA Canada’s recommendations focus on how the existing law can be amended to protect the weak and respect human dignity, putting the needs of children first. Children conceived through IVF can be better protected by prohibiting the destruction of embryos and ensuring that children are not created using anonymous donor gametes. ARPA’s recommendations are made to better apply the principle of non-commodification of human life and the best interests of the child.