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Women Restrictions in accessing Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) - Essay Example

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Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are a group of medical processes that are used in order to assist a woman to get pregnant. There are many procedures used today like in vitro fertilization, gamete intra-fallopian transfer, artificial insemination, reproductive surgery and others, but most commonly assisted reproductive technology is associated with in vitro fertilization…
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Women Restrictions in accessing Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)
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Women Restrictions in accessing Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)

The need for ART in Australia is rising over the years. In Australia and New Zeeland in 2008 there were 61929 assisted reproductive cycles which is 9% incensement from 2007 and 47% increase from 2004 (Yueping et al. 2010). As we can see, the trends of these procedures rise over the years which in the same time are a source of a debate over the public expends over these procedures. This is actually the source of the initiative to restrict the access for ART for women above the age of 40 years along with some other criteria. This however produces many ethical and social questions and some of them we will try to explore in this text. First topic In a study conducted by Georgina et al. 2005 it was found that average costs of chosen assisted reproductive technique for a live birth of a baby in Australia was 32 903 dollars, however these number are much different when compared within age groups. They found that in women below age of 30 years ART costs for a live birth event was approximately 24809 dollars and in the same time ART costs for live birth event in women above age of 40 was 97884 dollars. As we can see the differences are significant. The fact that ART services in year 2004 costs around 79 million dollars (less than 1% of total health expenses), however the constant rise of the trends for using of ART raised questions about ways to reduce the costs for these procedures. As we can see from the above example ART in women above the age of 40 at average costs significantly more when compared in women below the age of 30 years. In the same time the efficacy of ART in women above the age of 40 years is significantly smaller when compared with younger women. Only 6 percents of ART in women above 40 years old result in live birth compared to above 25 percents in women below the age of 30 years. In the same time pregnancies in women above age of 40 years are more prone to complications and risks for the mother and the health if the child as well. (Gilbert et al. 1999) (Bryant et al. 2005). This is why there are initiatives to limit the availability of ART procedures to women below the age of 40 years old. As we can see from above, finances and risk of complications are the main reasons for the initiative for restriction of ART in women above 40 years. There are several principles in the theory of ethics that are affected by the restriction of ART to women older than 40 years. One of them is the principle of beneficence which in the ethics is defined as a priority of “good” (Tassano 1999). At a first glance we can conclude that this restriction will deprive the younger patients from ART treatment by spending money and resources that can be used by the younger women. However as we have seen the expenses are small and doesn’t affect the quality of ART service for younger women, nor the quality of general health services in Australia. So in essence this restriction will not cause significant benefit for younger women or the general population. However it will reduce the grow-rate in Australia, which is already one of the lowest in the world. We can conclude therefore that this decision in essence is “bad” and in direct opposition with the principle of beneficence. From the standpoint of the individual women the above restriction is a restriction of their right as individuals to choose to have a child. In the same time by denying this right the above restric ... Read More
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