Dear Jezebel, Thanks for Damaging Public Perception of Three-Person IVF
Do you know what isn’t funny? Taking a very serious topic and joking about it for several paragraphs at the expense of an emotional group BEFORE you say, “just kidding, this scientific breakthrough could potentially change the lives of many people!” Thanks, Jezebel, for taking the subject of three-person IVF, a breakthrough that many potential parents who cannot have children without assistance — namely those who are carriers of certain mitochondrial illnesses — have been holding their breath over while debates rage on across the world, and putting forth every stereotype about people who need to resort to assisted conception; all in one article with an incendiary headline:
You Could One Day Have Your Very Own Designer Baby
We’re not talking Vera Wang babies. Child boutiques where parents will order up their perfect offspring. We’re talking about a very invasive, very expensive, potentially life-threatening procedure that the vast majority of the world would utilize only as a last resort. If people truly knew what went into an IVF cycle, what it costs emotionally and physically (not to mention, financially), they would not live in fear that people would abuse this scientific breakthrough. There is no real fear of designer babies; there is only hope offered up to people who — unlike the fear-mongering authors — are faced with the dilemma of potentially passing along a life-threatening illness if they want to build their family using their own genetic material.
[A side note: the first person who offers up adoption as a solution to family building while being a carrier of a genetic illness gets my foot up their ass. Unless you truly understand the logistics of adoption; understand the financial and emotional costs to all members of the triad; AND have a clear understanding of the potential parent’s inner psyche, please don’t suggest adoption. Everyone knows about adoption. If they didn’t choose adoption, please know that there is probably a very good reason, even if you aren’t privy to it. And that reason should be respected vs. cavalierly used as a tool of judgment.]
On the other end of the spectrum is The Beast’s coverage of three-person IVF, which cautions why we shouldn’t be freaking out about three-person IVF (thank you!):
Along with the Food and Drug Administration’s two-day meeting this week to discuss “three-person IVF” came the usual freak-outs about slippery slopes, designer babies, and other science-fiction fantasies (or nightmares) coming to life—magnified by the strange thought of three people creating a healthy baby instead of the good ol’ two.
See, Jezebel, that is a way to report on a serious topic without offending your readership or doing damage to the public’s view of a topic they’re struggling to wrap their mind around.
Responsibility: let’s bring some back to the media.