IVF babies aborted 'after women change their minds about becoming a mother'

IVF babies aborted 'after women change their minds about becoming a mother'

Dozens of women are aborting babies conceived by IVF because they have changed their minds about motherhood, figures suggest. Many are in their teens, twenties and early thirties, implying that numerous abortions were carried out for social reasons, rather than on health grounds. Relationship breakdowns, fears about motherhood and simple changes of heart are all likely to have played a part in the terminations.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority statistics, released by the IVF watchdog through the Freedom of Information Act, have angered family campaigners who accuse the women of treating babies like 'designer goods'. The revelation has also surprised fertility doctors who generally lose contact with patients after they become pregnant. Professor-Bill Ledger, a leading fertility doctor and member of the HFEA, said: 'I had no idea there were so many post-IVF abortions - and each one is a tragedy.'

He added: 'These women can't be surprised to be pregnant. You can't have an IVF pregnancy by accident.' The statistics show that an average of 80 abortions are carried out in England and Wales each year following IVF treatment. In 2007, the figure was as high as 97 - with almost a third of the women aged between 18 and 34.

Some of them would have had IVF on the NHS, while others would have paid thousands of pounds to private clinics. One woman told how she had an abortion after being pressurised into starting a family by her husband. Another opted to abort her much-wanted IVF baby when it became clear her marriage was breaking up.

Family planning experts estimate that every abortion doctor sees at least one patient a year requesting a termination after IVF treatment. Mohamed Taranissi, an IVF doctor whose clinic has the highest success rate in Britain, said: 'It is a matter that needs to be looked at. The HFEA should be more open with the data they have.' Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory minister, said that women who ended pregnancies for non-medical reasons were treating their babies like 'designer goods'.

She said: 'If the law was applied properly, people wouldn't be able to get an abortion just because they changed their minds.' Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said the welfare of the child should take precedence over the wishes of the prospective parents.

But Ann Furedi, head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said that some women could become so caught up in the IVF process that the realities of motherhood did not hit until they conceived. She said: 'For infertile people, overcoming the problem becomes a goal in itself. 'Sometimes it is only when women get pregnant that they can allow themselves to ask the question about whether it is what they really want or not.'

The HFEA said that it does not regulate abortions but that the figures represent less than 1 per cent of IVF pregnancies each year.A spokesman added: 'All patients who undergo IVF are assessed, as are the implications for any child that might be born, in advance of the decision to treat.' He added that figures showing how many of the abortions were carried out for medical reasons will be released later this week.

Article: 7th June 2010 www.dailymail.co.uk

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Posted: 07/06/2010 09:49:55


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