Defining Abuse in Assisted Reproductive Technology
Abuse is a strong word. A formal definition of abuse is to “treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.”
Mistreatment is one synonym.
Linking Abuse with IVF
I will travel from the U.S. to London later this week. Once there I will collaborate with clinicians, bioethicists, social scientists, historians, patient advocates, and human rights lawyers. Our workshop goal is to work out how professionals and the public can use the idea of ‘abuse in ART’ to question, critique and understand the worst excesses of the IVF industry. The Institute of Medical Ethics funded this initiative.
I’ve been invited to participate based on years of research. Furthermore, many readers, former IVF and ART patients, have shared their stories of mistreatment. Some even volunteered to share them on ReproTechTruths (ping me at ptsigdinos (@) yahoo [dot] com if you’d like to share your story).
So, how did this workshop come about? Co-organizers Dr Nathan Hodson (University of Leicester) and Susan Bewley, Kings College London Professor Complex Obstetrics and Women’s Health, recently performed a systematic review of abuse in ART. They aimed to summarize mistreatment across the entire field. They were surprised to discover a marked reluctance to name ‘abuse’ – hence the workshop. You can learn more on the event website.
I’ll share some of my observations and parts of my talk in the coming days. As a thought starter, I’ll leave you with one of my slides. Would love to hear your answer to this question.