Denying LGBTQ access to future reproductive technology
While reproductive technology has made some advances, it’s starting to look like the businesses controlling the technology may not be open to LGBTQ people benefiting from it.
For example, the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC)– which had recently helped a baby be born in Tennessee last November 2017 from a 24-year-old embryo– only provide help to married heterosexual couples.
Which leads us to the question: will the LGBTQ community be denied a future once the reproductive technology becomes available to everyone?
Gatekeepers of reproductive technology
In an article in Futurism, Claudia Geib wondered that with the advances in reproductive technology, who gets to decide who gets access to it?
As mentioned earlier, the NEDC will focus on providing embryos to married, heterosexual couples, and they will not consider single women and non-heterosexual couples as eligible.
Geib further said that while this policy could be considered discriminatory, this is legal in the US because the country doesn’t have formal regulations or ethical requirements for fertility medicine.
Because of this, service providers have the power to provide or deny reproductive services to anyone. Given the expense, only those who can afford the service can receive it– and only if the companies like you.
Jeffrey Keenan, NEDC’s medical director, told Futurism that: “[Our policy is] looking at the biological reality of a family and how God created conception.”
“So why just because we can have someone act as a surrogate, or because we can donate into a [gay] woman, why does that make it right? It doesn’t, not in and of itself,” Keenan said.
The battle for reproductive technology
Fortunately, LGBTQ rights and civil rights groups are not taking this sitting down and are taking it to court.
“Medical care available to some people should be available to all, not based on sexual orientation or other factors,” Jenny Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal, told Futurism.
Pizer added: “It’s an important priority for our movement, to allow more members of this community to live full lives who they really are, openly and honestly, and bring their whole selves into those family roles.”
Cases have already been brought to court, including several in Florida and New Jersey.
However, the Trump administration has continually been offering protection to those who oppose patient lifestyles, ranging from religious freedom bills to an office that advises health workers that refuse treatment based on religious beliefs.
“The larger dynamic here is, if the government is putting out the message that people can refuse to do their job based on religious grounds, that encourages people to refuse,” Pizer said.
Reproductive technology: Hope for LGBTQ
Reproductive technology and the advances in this area are particularly important for women couples who want to have child together.
In particular, the process of Reciprocal IVF (in vitro fertilization) will have one partner assume the role of egg donor. Meanwhile, the other partner will be the gestational carrier.
Reciprocal IVF– also known as co-maternity or shared maternity– has given new opportunities for lesbian couples and pre-transition trans men to have children.
However, while fertility clinics offer this service in the US, some refuse service to same-sex couples.
Likewise, due to restrictive guidelines of the insurance coverage for fertility treatments, Reciprocal IVF can be costly.