Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Just What the World Needs…

Low-cost, in-vitro fertilization for African women, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. A spokesman for the group, Willem Ombelet, pointed out that "Infertility is taboo in Africa." The story led with this un-sourced comment that, "women are sometimes ostracized as witches or social outcasts if they cannot have children."

Unnamed experts helpfully explained:

Millions of dollars go into family planning projects and condom distribution to prevent pregnancies in Africa, but experts said that more than 30 percent of women on the continent are unable to have children. An estimated 80 million people in developing countries are infertile worldwide.

Does this seem passing strange to anyone else? Is it really true that 30% of African women are infertile? The only person I can think of who might think so, or have an explanation, is my friend Steve Mosher, over at the Population Research Institute. His book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits shows that 1. Many women in third world countries have been sterilized by their own governments and 2. Many women are sterile because of infections that are side effects of population control programs.

So now, what sounds like a private company wants to go to Africa to "help" the women by marketing new, untried, cheap processes on them.

At a media briefing yesterday at the society's annual conference in Barcelona, Ombelet said he and colleagues were deciding where to test the new procedure. A small number of women already have been treated in Khartoum, Sudan, and other projects are expected to start soon in South Africa and Tanzania.

The cheap version of IVF costs less than $200.

How to Win Friends and Influence People. Not!



Anonymous said...

Isn't infertility also linked to malnutrition? Wouldn't that be an easier thing to fix, besides providing side benefits such as better health.

John Howard said...

Yes, that would be better. But they don't just want to cure infertility, they ultimately want to genetically engineer people, so they need to get people used to and dependent on IVF.

Will Saletan wrote:

"Don't tell me those Nigerian babies aren't cognitively disadvantaged. Don't tell me it isn't genetic. Don't tell me it's God's will. And in the age of genetic modification, don't tell me we can't do anything about it."

"No, we are not created equal. But we are endowed by our Creator with the ideal of equality, and the intelligence to finish the job."

They are serious about this, and IVF is a necessary step.