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ASRM Prez: Regulating Treatment is "Bad Medicine"

Washington Times,  Mar 8, 2009

In a column in the Washington Times this weekend, R. Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, speaks out against the need to further regulate the fertility industry.

Denouncing the claim that assisted reproduction is "not regulated," McClure says, "like all forms of medicine, reproductive medicine is regulated through a complex patchwork of federal, state and professional self-regulation." In addition, "Professional societies set standards and credential individual physicians, and physicians who cannot meet those standards or do not abide by established guidelines are subject to disciplinary procedures." McClure points out that clinicians are licensed to practice by the state and those licenses can be limited or removed and that, at the federal level, "reproductive medicine is subject to more rigorous federal regulations than any other kind of medicine."

What hasn't been regulated, McClure points out, "are decisions about who gets to become a parent and, how, when or why," because in this country "we consider these to be private decisions." And this is how it should be, according to McClure. "Patients suffering from the disease of infertility are already burdened enough, and they should not face additional hurdles to building their families just because they must seek the help of a physician."

McClure believes that the "determination of the precise number of embryos to be transferred is a highly personalized decision made between patients and their physicians," one that is made individually for "each patient each time she seeks treatment." It simply does not lend itself to blanket regulations for all patients in all circumstances.

Because the "vast majority of U.S. physicians performing IVF have acted with the best interests of their patients and babies in mind, seeking to maximize the chance of success while reducing risks associated with multiple pregnancy," McClure concludes, "a government mandate dictating the same treatment for all women in all circumstances would be bad medicine and an unprecedented intrusion into the patient-physician relationship."

You can read McClure's full statement here:

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