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State-funded IVF will make us rich… or will it?

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  • i In fact, since the first draft of this paper was written, the HFEA has decided to allow women to receive subsidised fertility treatment in return for eggs donated for research. This seems to be a step along exactly the lines that I have criticised here, whereby the possibility of profiting from a patient’s resources in one context expedites medical treatment in another.

  • ii Levitt and Dubner6 argue that Ceausescu’s pronatalist policy in Romania had an unexpectedly detrimental effect on the country’s economic and social stability, as the children of women who are unable to procure abortion are, it is claimed, statistically more likely to become criminals. This claim is controversial; however, the point of interest remains whether or not one accepts this view—namely, that the results of addressing social or economic difficulties by means of a pronatalist policy are at best unpredictable, and at worst self-defeating.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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