Tag: single persons

Bioethics Blogs

Reflections on the Federal Budget & LGBT Families

Sophia Fantus argues that the expansion of a tax credit to LGBT individuals who use assisted reproduction helps to legitimize and include the perspectives, needs, and experiences of LGBT families.

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Assisted reproduction is associated with high out-of-pocket expenditures as services often cost tens of thousands of dollars. For the past ten years in Canada, heterosexual couples diagnosed with medical infertility have been able to claim the cost of assisted reproduction as part of their medical expense tax credit. Recently, the Canadian Government approved a new federal budget that allows LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and single persons to also receive a tax credit for assisted reproduction. That tax credit is retroactive for up to ten years.

The World Health Organization defines infertility as a disease in which there is a failure to achieve a pregnancy after at least 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Accordingly, assisted reproduction has been conceptualized as a biomedical intervention to resolve a diagnosed medical condition. The new retroactive tax credit signifies the adoption of broader definitions of infertility that include LGBT experiences.

The Rainbow by Robert Delaunay, 1913

The use of assisted reproduction by LGBT families separates heterosexuality and heterosexual sex from procreation, and yields novel routes to parenthood for LGBT individuals. In contrast to the typical heterosexual experience, the use of assisted reproduction by LGBT individuals is often the primary (and desired) choice for pursuing parenthood. By including the experiences of LGBT families in the federal budget, the Government is indirectly supporting a broader understanding of infertility from a medical model to a social and structural model that recognizes  single women and men, as well as LGBT couples, who require a third-party to procreate.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Are Single Men in the UK Entitled to have a Baby using Fertility Treatment?

Guest post by Atina Krajewska, Rachel Cahill-O’Callaghan, and Melanie Fellowes

The World Health Organisation is currently considering a change in the definition of infertility according to which, it has been reported, “single men and women without medical issues [would] be classed as ‘infertile’, if they do not have children but want to become a parent.”  Although the WHO has not to date officially confirmed these reports, the possible changes have been considered controversial and provoked heated responses in other UK media.  One of the main points of contention was the possibility of opening fertility treatment to single men.  Before we engage in discussions about the new WHO standards concerning fertility treatment, which – it should be stressed – have not yet been officially announced or adopted, it is important to shed some light on the legal situation of single men in the UK, who wish to become single fathers using fertility treatment.   This entry is aiming to exactly that.  (In respect of single women, see this.)

 

A single man wishing to have a child will have to use a surrogate and will either use the surrogate’s ovum and his sperm, or she will carry an embryo created by his sperm and a donated egg.  The HFE Act 1990 (as amended by the HFEA 2008) and the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 will therefore be the two most relevant pieces of legislation governing the area.  Neither of these Acts expressly mentions single men as a separate class of patients.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 has never prevented single persons from accessing ARTs.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Assisted Procreation in Quebec: What To Expect?

Marie-France Bureau raises concerns about access to, and funding and regulation of assisted reproductive treatments.

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Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is expected to introduce new legislation on in vitro fertilization. The costs of the existing program, established in 2010, have skyrocketed to about $70 million annually. Although allocating public funds to reproductive treatments is hard to justify given the burden of health spending in the overall government budget, rumours indicate that Quebec will keep funding some treatments. The bill is expected to limit coverage to medical infertility through a tax credit mechanism.

Provinces are not obligated to implement any fertility program, but once a province has decided to offer a service, it has to offer it in a way that does not discriminate illegally between groups of people. It is unsure whether limiting coverage to “medical infertility” would pass the constitutional test, given the controversial meaning of infertility in our democratic and egalitarian society. Would gay, lesbian and single persons automatically be excluded? Would two fertile persons unable to sexually conceive a child together be excluded, be they in a heterosexual couple? Such questions show that it will be hard to draw lines between medical, social or biological definitions of infertility.

IVF Impact Ethics

Setting up limits to access in order to contain costs is a legitimate objective, but it should not serve as an excuse to exclude people on the basis of stereotypes and prejudice. If Quebec chooses to cover infertility, it should implement limits that are rationally linked to the objectives of the program (helping Quebecers make babies) and that cut across all population groups.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.