I knew as soon as I saw it that I would have to write a blog about it. The headline read: ‘Sex will be just for fun by 2050 as we all switch to IVF’.
It’s one of those statements that makes you gasp. The suggestion that anyone would choose IVF over the natural way of making babies is unthinkable. Just ask any woman who has been through it (successfully or unsuccessfully).
I don’t want to be a sexist but it is interesting that it’s a man who said it – Professor Carl Djerassi who was instrumental in the development of the contraceptive pill. His theory is that by the middle of this century more IVF fertilisations will occur amongst fertile women than those experiencing infertility. First, he says, there will be the growth of women choosing to freeze their eggs in their twenties in order to circumvent the biological clock. Added to this will be advances in genetic screening that will, he says, make IVF a normal non-coital method of having children.
I have already written about my views on egg freezing in my blog entitled ITRAGTFWATW? And Miriam Zoll, who I referenced in that post, has just written another article on the subject which is one of the best pieces of fertility journalism I’ve read all year. It ends with the following statement which has been rattling round my head ever since:
‘We must ask why women who want to have children fear that, for professional or personal reasons, they will be unable to do so during their safest and most fertile years. If we fail to ask that question, we inevitably endorse a world in which the very real forces that create this fear and reality are not held to account.’
For me, right now, this is one of the fundamental questions of our time.
But as I read more of that article about Professor Djerassi, I found a new question was involuntarily formulating in my mind. If the science worked and if we could be sure of no adverse health effects (and admittedly those are two very big ifs) could he, in fact, be right? Maybe I am a sexist in criticising his male perspective on making babies because maybe he is the harbinger of ultimate equality. Perhaps in 2050, IVF will be the best way to ensure that women can have it all (or at least as much as men).
Terrifying but true.