"Modern fertility treatments became the focus of much media attention in 1993 after the widely publicised case in which a 59 year old woman was enabled to give birth to twins by means of in vitro fertilisation with donated eggs and her partner's sperm. Fertility treatments raise a wide range of ethical and social issues" (Koch, 1993, p.143). Such factors as the potential child's welfare and interests are critical reasons for refusing to provide a couple with fertility treatment.
In spite of the fact that the issue of conception is foremost in the present discussion, I would like to exemplify the situation with the process of child adoption. Even though it differs from conception, because the child already exists, authorities have established a number of criteria for adoption: parents' welfare, their personal qualities, health status and other information should be taken into account. These criteria are partially determined by supply and demand: for instance, potential parents are forced to compete with each other, because the number of infertile families is larger that the number of orphans who are to be adopted.
Similarly, in vitro fertilization, associated with conception, poses following question: (bluntly speaking) will the child benefit from being born to these parents or would it be better if he/she never existed The likelihood of the particular potential child being born to another couple simply does not exist, and conception therefore is dissimilar to adoption in this sense. Naturally, it is hard to determine when it would be more preferable if the potential child didn't exist; the fundamental worth of an individual's life cannot be either measured or quantified, least of all if this life hasn't been started yet. It is possible to say, however, that the level of parents' responsibility would be rather low for it to be more favorable not to be born. Society's unwillingness to take care of a child excepting the most traumatic circumstances of horrible parenting proves this (Koch, 1993).
Using the example of the 59-year old woman who gave birth to twins, a most important obstruction is that the mother will probably die when they are still at the stage of childhood, i.e. not having brought them up. "No doubt, other things being equal, it is preferable to have a mother who survives well into one's own adulthood. But to put this forward as a sufficient reason for denying fertility treatment is tantamount to claiming that it is better never to have existed than for one's mother to have died when one is still quite young" (Brindsen, 1992,p.280).
In addition, in the case of in vitro fertilization, the interests of society are masqueraded as the potential child's interests. The procedure of selecting couples for the fertilization itself looks like the other official procedures that involve difficulties in distributing resources. There are two major hazards in failing to differentiate between the interests of the certain potential child and those of the potential children who might be born if resources were used to help other prospective parents instead. The first risk is that medical specialists may wrongly withhold the fertilization of the certain couple even if refusal to help them is not likely to bring benefit to other couples. The second hazard is that society may fail to support the process of