What a great time we had at the ASRM conference in Denver this past October. This year’s theme is “Taking Reproductive Medicine to New Heights.” We met so many people face-to-face for the first time, reconnected with old friends too and attended some fascinating talks.
Of course we attended Ken Ryan Ethics Symposium – Cross-Border Care – where they discussed that “Medical Tourism” is increasing as patients seek care abroad that is unaffordable or unavailable for them at home. Infertility care is no exception to this trend. (We already knew that!) Fertility tourism (though we dislike that phrase) raises many ethical questions including: what is the quality of care that patients receive when they go abroad, should local REs counsel patients to go abroad (where they can save money on costs) or to stay here (knowing that these same patients cannot afford the American fees), and what are clinics’ obligation to treat patients when they return from doing ART procedures abroad. All very interesting questions and not ones with easy answers. As you can see this new field is creating a lot of discussion – and not just from the patients. What did impress us, is that the doctors are opening the dialogue, that they are aware that patients will be leaving to seek treatment internationally and they are interested in exploring the roles they can play in this treatment – whether before or after.
We also attended a lively conference discussing the issue of whether it is best to tell a child born via egg donor or sperm donor the origins of their conception. While the resounding evidence supports telling, there are studies that claim that children conceived this way have some issues to contend with – of course you always have to look at who is paying for and producing these studies. And no one doubts that children — no matter how they were conceived – will have issues as they grow into adulthood (particularly in adolescence!). Finally, the resounding evidence shows that honesty is the best policy (just what we’ve always thought, and what we practice ourselves).
Lastly, we attended an ASRM press conference that showed ASRM’s strong opposition to Colorado’s Amendment 62 giving legal rights to fertilized eggs. A similar bill was brought to voters in CO in 2008 and turned down and the good news is that Colorado voters stood strong and VOTED IT DOWN by a 3 to 1 margin.
Global IVF will continue to have a presence at important fertility/infertility conferences around the globe. And what we learn, we report back to you!