Aug 10, 2009

IVF and other property crimes

On Monday, 20 June, 2005, one Professor Ledger ("a leading UK fertility expert"), via the BBC, warned of a "reproductive time bomb" threatening the UK if women continued to put off having children until their late 30's or early 40's.

Last Sunday, he proclaimed the bomb detonated from the front page of the
Observer. A staggering, frightening, threatening, unsustainable number of women were forced to resort to IVF.

What do you mean, exactly how many? This is a newspaper front page article, people. It's not in the business of reporting actual information.

Anyway, you don't really need to know the numbers[1]. You can tell that this is a serious problem by the seriousness of the solutions Prof. Ledger proposes for it. Four years ago, he was entertaining such wishy-washy ideas as career breaks and financial incentives to enable women to have children earlier in life without jeopardizing their financial futures. Now, however, the situation is so much more severe that the advice of the good doctor is to subject women to an MOT.

An MOT is for cars, not people, you say? Well, where did you get the radical notion that women are people from? What are you, some kind of feminist?

[1] Oh, all right. Here they are:

35 thousand women are estimated to receive IVF treatment each year. That is 0.1 percent of the women in the UK. Obviously, a calamity of epic proportions that is going to overwhelm the NHS despite the fact that 80% of these women pay for it privately. Whatevs, numbers, right?

1.43% of babies are born as a result of IVF. Clearly if we don't do something about to reduce our reliance on it, the population decline will wipe Great Britain off the map and Britannia will no longer rule the clammy North Atlantic waves. If that sounds a little faux-jingoistic to you, then I'm sorry but I don't know how else to treat such patently preposterous alarmism about the fertility rates at the same time as banging the drum for immigration control.

The birth rate in Britain women is just over 2.0 children per woman. That's a pretty respectable replacement rate. At a time when we are being warned of unsustainable population growth through "migration", keeping the population more or less stable sounds like a pretty good idea, no?

What's this I hear you say? Women are machines for making nice white middle class babies? Surely not! Next you'll be suggesting that we limit their rights to terminate pregnancies and generally decide when and how to have children for themselves...
Oh, wait.

The birth rate has been steadily increasing in the last 20 years. It is currently at its highest rate since the early seventies. So is, however, anxiety about the loss of mass control over the female population, and manufactured panic about the decline of "Britishness". Coincidence? You decide.

32.5% of couples with fertility issues have those because there's something wrong with the man. It's the exact same number - 32.5% - for women. In other words, the medical problems are pretty evenly spread across both sexes. But men are not exhorted to submit themselves to the sort of invasion of privacy that women should put up with. Because human rights are for humans, not females. Duh.


As an aside and a general comment on the state of print media, most of the above numbers were present in a graphic side-bar accompanying the print version of the article. So the Observer staff were running a front page that expressly contradicted their own research. That this journalistic FAIL involved a) science and b) women is exactly no surprise to me whatsoever in any way shape or form.

That this appalling piece of regurgitated misogynist propaganda make the inside pages of
The Sheffield Telegraph is, in some ways, almost comfortingly predictable. But the front page of the (self confessed) most liberal Sunday newspaper in the land? "MOTs for women"? You shittin' me, or are all of your brain-enabled editors currently sunning themselves in Tuscany? Fuckwits.