I was on the Seoige show on RTE1 last Wednesday (Wed 19 Nov – about 28 mins in).

Last Monday the Irish Independent reported that a Galway fertility clinic was refusing to treat unmarried couples. David Quinn of the Iona Institute was on to argue the case that married couples make better parents than unmarried ones and therefore should be the only recipients of fertility treatment and I was there to speak for normal people.

Infertility is a medical condition. It is not up to doctors to choose which patients they treat on the basis of their own religious beliefs or morals. If you think children’s lives are at risk from their parents’ marital status then outlaw it completely. Don’t pick on those with physical disabilities and make examples of them. Just cos you can.

Incidentally, these are the same doctors that won’t prescribe the morning after pill for women who don’t want a child, yet refuse treatment to those that are desperate for one. Guys, a little consistency is needed here if you want to be taken seriously.

22 Replies to “Seoige”

  1. Unfortunately I can’t view the show clip from outside Ireland, but I’ve tried to follow the story as much as possible from various pieces published and Dr Boyle’s official press statement.

    Being as objective as I possibly can, the argument for this decision is flimsy at best.

    Turning down committed non-married couples on the basis of not being married will surely lead to many of them getting civil registrations just so they can get the treatment they desperately want. I know I certainly would.
    Does that administrative act make them more deserving of treatment?

    Their policy most certainly does not serve the best interest of fathers who have limited parental rights due to not being married. Their best interests would be served by addressing any inequality in current legislation, and not trying to take advantage of the desire of decent men, and women, in order to further impose a moral rule on people who are by definition already vulnerable.

    What honestly scares me is where the lines will finally be drawn when it comes to decisions on suitability for medical treatment. How about we only only treat the sick children of married couples altogether?

    That’ll teach us deviants.

  2. The problem is that fertility clinics here are not bound by any legislation, they operate under Medical Council guidelines only. The 1985 guidelines suggested that clinics only treat married couples but that has long become outdated and all clinics bar the Napro one treat unmarried couples. There was a report published in 2005 which recommended that all people regardless of marital status or sexual orientation should have access to fertility treatment but so far no legislation has been drafted. Until then, I guess the clinics will operate as they wish. Thankfully I think we are moving in the direction of greater access…………but there’s always one!!!

    You’re right about parental rights of course – that is a problem of different legislation and it’s a stretch of the imagination bringing it up to support this case.

  3. I am attending the Galway clinic at the mo (following a couple of miscarriages – found out my progesterone was low etc). While the literature that explains the whole Nat Pro treatment is quite evangelical and was taken with quite a liberal pinch of salt from my point of view, I have to say I am shocked to see that they refuse to treat unmarried couples. If people are seeking fertility treatment, surely they want a child so much that they have already made that commitment to each other.

  4. Lorna – I also attended the clinic once last year. I knew the ethos (but not about refusing to treat unmarried couples) in advance but they didn’t dwell on it at all and I don’t remember being asked if I was married. Maybe I mentioned “my husband” and that was enough for them. Best of luck with your treatment.

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