SUMMARY OF POLICY NOTE
A policy note from the WCRX-LP Human Rights Activist describing the obligation of treating-physicians to pay child support when in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures result in multiple births.”
Household budgets are dramatically impacted by multiple births following IVF.
Public welfare costs are impacted by multiple births following IVF.
Enforcement of the legal duty of support and maintenance owed by treating-physicians who advise IVF and implement the IVF procedure that result in multiple births.
The duty may be recognized by legislative enactment or common law decision.
AN EXAMPLE OF MULTIPLE BIRTHS AND PHYSICIAN COMMENTARY.
In late January, 2009 newspapers reported that eight babies were born to a single mother in southern California.
The mother Nadya Suleman was reported to be doing well and the condition of the eight babies was reported as stable and that the newborns were doing well.
The six boys and two girls were delivered at the Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Centre in Los Angeles. A team of 46 medical staff delivered the octuplets.
The babies, born nine weeks prematurely, weighed between 1lb, 8oz (680 grams) and 3lb, 4oz (1.47 kilograms).
From previous IVF procedures, the mother already had six children. She declined the medical option of reducing the number of embryos she was carrying last year.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, IVF AND MULTIPLE BIRTHS
Physicians recognize procedures that reduce the risk of multiple births specifically triplets or more.
Medical practitioners reduce the likelihood of multiple births by limiting the number of embryos per embryo transfer to one or two. This procedure decreases the risks for the mother and infants.
Doctors say they are not in the business of regulating family size. But they try everything to avoid higher-order pregnancies to prevent health problems for mothers and infants.
National guidelines suggest that doctors limit the number of embryos implanted to avoid multiple births. Women are also counseled about the risk of multiple births when too many eggs have budded during the use of fertility drugs.
Dr. James Grifo, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the NYU School of Medicine, said: "I don't think it's our job to tell them how many babies they're allowed to have. I am not a policeman for reproduction in the United States. My role is to educate patients."
UNDER UNITED NATIONS AUTHORITIES, SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN IS “THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MOTHER AND FATHER.”
NONE THE LESS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENFORCE THE SECONDARY OBLIGATION EXPRESSED IN UN AUTHORITIES THAT TREATING-PHYSICIANS ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO PAY SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE IN THE CASE OF MULTIPLE BIRTHS FOLLOWING IN VITRO FERTILIZATION.
The right to child support and the responsibilities of parents to provide such support have been internationally recognized. The 1992 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a binding convention signed by every member nation of the United Nations and formally ratified by all but two, (United States and Somalia) declares that the upbringing and development of children and a standard of living adequate for the children's development is a common responsibility of both parents and a fundamental human right for children. This United Nations Convention asserts that the primary responsibility to provide such for the children rests with their parents.
Beyond that primary responsibility, the United Nations Convention also recognize that others in addition to the parents have responsibility for child support and maintenance.
For example, Article 3, Section 2. recognizes secondary sources who owe support and maintenance to children:
States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
Because of their advice and treatment procedures in the case of multiple births, treating physicians are clearly responsible for the support and maintenance of these children. This responsibility is in addition to the parental duty. And it is obvious in the text of Article 3, Section 2 that IVF treating-physicians are included in the phrase "other individuals legally responsible for [the children in multiple-births].
Other Articles of the Convention establish the same obligation of IVF-treating physicians as members of the community with responsibility to provide support and maintenance to children in the case of multiple births.
A copy of the full report (23 pages) by the WCRX-LP Human Rights Activist is available for $25.00, postage paid from Bexley Public Radio.
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