Assisted fertilization

Nobel for medicine to the inventor of the IVF technique

Robert Edwards , an 85-year-old British scientist, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

For the uninitiated, Robert Edwards developed the in vitro fertilization technique ( IVF ) with Steptoe. The first baby to be born with this technique was Louise Brown in the now distant 1978. Since then over 4 million babies have been born worldwide.

A medical technique that has brought joy to the hearts of all those parents who despaired of having a child of their own. Edwards himself has always said that “Having a child is one of the greatest joys that can be given to a couple”.

It is an award that has been enthusiastically received all over the world, more than deserved according to many. In Italy at the moment the situation is still very tangled.

In fact, we recall that the law on assisted fertilization requires that all the embryos obtained with in vitro fertilization be implanted in the woman’s uterus. In this way the woman will have to face a multiple pregnancy with all the risks that this entails. The reason is that law 40 aims to defend the rights of the embryo, which is not understood as mere biological material and consequently seeks to preserve its right to life.

The Church said she was against the awarding of this prize due to “the unacceptability of in vitro fertilization techniques, which involve the selection and suppression of human beings in the biological state of embryos”.

Clearly like any discovery, the good or bad that follows depends on the use we make of it. The basic problem always remains the same: what happens to all those cryo-frozen embryos that are not implanted in the uterus abroad? And those that are not produced with the aim of making and being born children? And those rejected by the pre-implantation diagnosis perhaps only because they are male or female?

In short, the ethical implications are many and a long debate could be opened on each one.

On one issue I absolutely disagree and it is a statement that I have heard in recent days which I quote verbatim: “children must be the result of an act of love, not a medical act”. I believe that even if a child is born “in test tube” from a couple of parents who cannot have children, it is not an inhuman act but a crowning of the love of this couple that they wanted a child more than anything else in the world .

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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