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IVF is the final frontier of capitalism?

Summary:
It is possible, we suppose - if you squint very hard and define yourself carefully - to insist that in-vitro fertilisation is indeed that final stage of capitalism. That's not the way we think this is being said:Kennedy recalled going in for treatment in a state of “blind panic and emotional chaos”, which she said was common for most people.“It is a very charged time and I came out of the experience feeling brutalised. It was nothing physical, it was the attitude of the private sector … It felt like it was all about money,” she said. “It is the privatisation of reproduction, the final frontier of capitalism.”We're really pretty certain that reproduction has been, over time, something of a private matter. In fact, the only time it has really been a public matter - in the sense of state

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It is possible, we suppose - if you squint very hard and define yourself carefully - to insist that in-vitro fertilisation is indeed that final stage of capitalism. That's not the way we think this is being said:

Kennedy recalled going in for treatment in a state of “blind panic and emotional chaos”, which she said was common for most people.

“It is a very charged time and I came out of the experience feeling brutalised. It was nothing physical, it was the attitude of the private sector … It felt like it was all about money,” she said. “It is the privatisation of reproduction, the final frontier of capitalism.”

We're really pretty certain that reproduction has been, over time, something of a private matter. In fact, the only time it has really been a public matter - in the sense of state governance of it, not social approval of different methods - has been when the eugenecists started to prevent the poor, feeble minded and generally, by their lights, undesirables from reproducing. Other than that we've all rather let people who wish to make the two backed beast get on with it, haven't we? Including the insistence that it is a private decision to bring any result to term or not.

We'd also, just because we enjoy being snide, note that the Medical Research Council refused to fund that research into IVF itself.

Reproduction as a private sector activity does seem to us to be fairly well established as the norm in human society.

But then we squint a bit and define ourselves carefully. Before 1978 those infertile - in some manners at least - had no chance of having children. Some parts of their current ability to do so have been, we'll agree, state funded and or provided. But it is only this roughly capitalist, roughly market based, socio-economic system which has led to a level of technology which provides that new found ability for them to be fecund. So if you want to call this, that the childless can become with child, a final frontier of capitalism we'll accept that. As long as you're using the same definitions we are.

What bliss it is in this dawn to be alive, eh? As some 5 million people born using the treatment are able to say.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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