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Published:March 4th, 2009 19:45 EST
Octomom Spawns Laws Regulating Fertility Clinics

Octomom Spawns Laws Regulating Fertility Clinics

By Robert Paul Reyes

"Nadya Suleman may have done one good thing by giving birth to 14 IVF babies.

She may have spawned new laws to stop other women from ending up in the same situation.

One month after Suleman, a single, unemployed  mom on food stamps from Whittier, Calif., gave birth to eight premature IVF babies, a California lawmaker has introduced a bill that will regulate California`s fertility clinics."

Everybody would agree that a single, unemployed mother of six on food stamps shouldn`t have six embryos implanted in her womb. Leaving aside Suleman`s dire financial situation, it`s impossible for her to physically look after 14 children, at least three of whom are mentally disabled.

But the pertinent question is should we leave it to the mother or the physician to make the decision of how many embryos, if any, should be implanted? If a mom is as clueless and mentally disturbed as Nadya, she will make the wrong decision. If a physician is motivated by greed instead of what`s best for the mother and the children, he will make the wrong decision.

If a mother living on welfare decides to have four or more embryos implanted, who will pay the price for her boneheaded choice? If all the embryos are viable and she gives birth to a litter, the taxpayer will be stuck with the bill.

In California fertility clinics operate without state supervision, Nadya`s doctor didn`t break any laws by implanting six embryos in her womb. Nobody likes to see the state or federal government play the role of Big Brother, but I think most people would agree that fertility clinics need to be regulated.

I realize that there are some folks who are vehemently opposed to any legislation regulating fertility clinics. This view is illustrated by one blogger who wrote:

"Suleman`s case is about as far from a typical IVF case as can possibly be and should NOT be used as an example to pen legislation. The vast majority of IVF patients will never conceive 14 children. We`d be lucky to conceive just one. We don`t need legislation getting in the way of choices we make in consultation with our doctors. We don`t need another obstacle to getting pregnant."

Then there are the conspiracy-minded who believe that regulating fertility clinics is only the first step in limiting how many children a person or a couple can have. They point to China where married couples are allowed to have only two children. They warn that when the US population increases another 100 million we may be facing similar limits on how many children we can have.

Is the government taking advantage of the public`s wrath against Octomom as an excuse to lead us down that path towards limiting the size of a family? I hope not, that`s why we must be very careful that the proposed legislation is very limited in its scope.

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