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What Advances Will 2011 Hold?

In the past year several countries have made pretty significant changes to their legislation related to third party reproduction – particularly IVF with donor eggs or surrogacy.  Some have been progressive, and sadly, some made access to treatment more difficult in their own countries.   

Thankfully, the technology for these treatments has been steadily improving with amazing advances improving IVF success rates substantially from year to year. 

I wonder what 2011 will hold for us as this great new frontier offering options for family building expands and becomes more mainstream?

My hope is that rational minds will prevail and that these services (such as IVF, donor egg IVF, donor embryos, and surrogacy) will be more readily available to everyone – without discrimination based on marital status, country of origin, or other details dreamed up by ill informed politicians that frankly should not be anyone’s business except the people trying to have a family.

I think the trend towards fertility tourism (which means leaving your own country for treatment) may have a positive impact by helping provide more cost effective options for IVF.  

We can certainly be thankful that we live in a time that so many options are available to us (either in our own countries or abroad).  I look forward to a time when this is all so commonplace that society equally embraces all options for family building.   News of the recent surrogacy and donor IVF treatments that were used to conceive Elton John’s son and twins for Neil Patrick Harris put this technology in the mainstream media, and I happen to think that is a good thing.  For so long these treatments have been done in secret – so it is wonderful to see people starting to talk about it openly without shame or embarassment.  Conceiving a child through a donor just isn’t something to be ashamed about, it is something to be celebrated.  

So, congratulations to the celebrities for speaking out, and to all of the other couples in 2010 who conceived their children through IVF, donor IVF, surrogates or other fertility treatments and are willing to talk about it and decrease the stigma and secrecy.  Hurray!  We’re making baby steps in the right direction. 

And I, for one, can’t wait to see what new advances 2011 will hold for us.

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