Here’s one of the first pieces of legislation to come down the pike. For the most part it looks like straight-forward effort to avoid the octuplet problem by restricting the number of embryos that can be implanted transferred. Even in those terms, the wisdom of this sort of legislation is debatable, I gather, as the comments from the doctors make clear. There may be instances where implanting transferring more than the specified number of embryos is medically advisable even if you’re not seeking multiple births.
But note that the legislation isn’t only aimed at restricting the number of embryos. There’s a second provision to the legislation. It bars producing more than the number of embryos you’ll be using. That restriction is driven by the contention of Georgia Right to Life (which helped draft the legislation) that embryos deserve protection as “living human beings.” That’s a very controversial stance at odds with a lot of the practice of ART. And it is totally unrelated to the octuplet problem.
This illustrates the concerns I’ve tried to raise in my earlier posts. The widely shared outrage over the octuplets fuels efforts at regulation that are than shaped by other ideological concerns. And those ideological concerns lead to broader restrictions on ART. For instance, I’d hazard a guess that Georgia Right to Life would like to restrict access to ART, excluding single women and lesbians, were they the ones making the rules.
It’s not that one cannot contemplate regulation to prevent recurrences of the octuplet problem. I just think you have to look at these proposals pretty carefully to see what else is being carried along.