Breakthroughs in fertility treatment have opened up a world of opportunity and delivered for wannabe parents in many countries over the past few decades.
Whether it is heterosexual couples unable to conceive or struggling to carry a baby to term in the "traditional" manner, het women whose issue may be health, age or the absence of a male sexual partner, or LGBTQIA individuals or couples wanting to create their own modern family, it is thanks to rapid advances in assisted reproductive technology (not to mention the generosity of male sperm donors, female egg donors and surrogates) that the main barrier to experiencing the joys of parenthood is now sometimes only money.
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There is, for some of course, also the issue of morality. Often it seems our ability to create outpaces our ability to legislate, as we struggle to fully comprehend and consider the scope and the implications of our quite remarkable technical achievements across various fields.
There can be little doubt the brave new reproductive world comes with complex legal, ethical, cultural and religious considerations. The latest proposed changes to our laws on the matter are likely to give cause for much debate, involving as they do the prospect of "posthumous parenting".
The current legislation - the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 - is deemed no longer fit for purpose, given the rapid changes in the area, and the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology is preparing new guidelines for consideration.
As reported by the Weekend Herald , new rules could enable embryos to be developed from eggs previously harvested from women who have subsequently died. It is, in actual effect, a change to "balance" the ledger (given the consented posthumous use of sperm donated before a man's dead can already be approved) and fill the legislation "gap" (technology didn't previously allow for the safe storing of harvested eggs - or embryos - so couldn't be legislated for, whereas that capacity now exists).
There are other significant changes being considered, including areas such as the posthumous (pre-consented) retrieval of sperm and eggs and the use of stored embryos after the death of one or both of the gamete donors.
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There will be those who have grave concerns about the proposals, who feel no amount of "playing God" is right. Those with no experience may be quick to judge. But for those who have walked the heartbreaking infertility "journey", and yes, perhaps partners who have lost a loved one before they were able to parent together or add to their family, changes to technology are a godsend.
As technology further evolves, there will be more to grapple with. Certainly, safeguards around consent and dignity are always paramount. The potential impact on ART children - as the "products" of these gigantic steps for humankind - should be front and centre of consideration, too. Are we doing as much as possible to secure information about the emotional and psychological impacts on the children of ART over time, for example?
But we live in a fast-changing world. Children are already being conceived and growing up in less "mainstream" ways. In fact, the non-nuclear household is surely the new normal. There is certainly no guarantee that children born or brought up more "conventionally" will not experience any of life's pitfalls or be better off in any way than those created with the help of ART.
And those born through ART will - hopefully - be brought up knowing the loving extremes their parents undertook to give them life - sometimes even from beyond the grave.