Firstly, in the UK, IVF is already legsilated, preventing the implantation of more than two embryos at a time unless the doctor deems the woman to have a very slim chance of conceiving. If it's likely that one embryo will take, why risk multiple births? However, that number was reduced from three to two at a time, and the proposal would reduce the standard number of embryos implanted in women under the age of 40 to 1 - unless she has a low chance of the embryo 'taking'.
Secondly, talking about lowering the number of multiple births as taking away choices from women is ridiculous. A multiple birth increases the risk to both mother and baby with no obvious benefit. Yes, she'll have two babies instead of one - but the chances of both babies, and the mother, suffering damage or even dying, is greatly increased. Given the choice, women would choose to have one healthy baby that they will enjoy carrying, rather than two sickly babies that may not survive. And what about the risk to the mother? Even if it's only twisn rather than five or six infants, greater risk of blood pressure trouble, diabetes or heart disease are just some of the risks the mother will face.
Additionally, this will not affect women who have little chance at conception, as they will be able to have two embryos implanted. It will simply stop multiple embryo implantation as a matter of rote. However, the efficacy of this procedure is dependent upon the number of attempts. In Sweden, they have completed this trade-off in a successful manner.
There are two issues we must consider that stem from this, rather than the perceived lack of choice for women:
1) the NHS will only cover up to three IVF attempts, and it varies by region. Many women only get one attempt, hence the drive for multiple embryos. Increasing the attempts but lowering the number of embryos is safer for the woman and the baby, but more expensive.
2) however, caring for premature infants is incredibly costly. In the long-run, increasing the number of IVF attempts while lowering the risk of multiple births will ultimately result in a smaller drain on scarce NHS resources.
All of the above, however, ignores one major point (as does the initial article - shame on so-called 'feminists' for not even considering it!): what is the role of IVF in today's society and how does it relate to feminism?
IVF is a procedure designed to correct a perceived lack in women - it helps them overcome their reproductive shortcomings. Let's read that again: a woman who does not conceive a child with a specific man has a shortcoming. Women's fertility is one of the most complicated and little-known human functions. A woman could be perfectly healthy and ovulating just fine, and yet still not become pregnant. The reason is not that she has fertility issues, but that she might not necessarily be biologically compatible with the man she wants to have a child with. She could sleep with someone else just the once, and instantly fall pregnant. It's not a question of fertility, but a question of biological compatibility.
Yet this is not something that IVF takes into account. It will force the woman's body to accept the child by pumping her full of drugs that seriously affect her mental and physical health. And all because of a perceived shortcoming on her part. After all, if the man is producing sperm, it must be the woman's fault. Newspapers are peppered with instances of women having 'miracle' babies where nature has failed - because a woman's 'natural' place is, it appears, barefoot and pregnant with her husband's baby. Never mind that she's had to turn herself into a pharmacy in the mean time. Never mind that there is a large chance that her body, and that of the baby, will suffer damage. No. Instead of a sperm donation, having someone else's child or adopting, she will have her husband's baby. And succeed at being a woman.
Now, I myself want a child one day. I do not, however, think that I will resort to IVF unless it is the very last option, as there are simply more appealing alternatives out there. Parenthood is not defined by genes, despite what fertility doctors would like us to believe. Nor is restricting the abuses of the 'fertility' business as it aims to fulfil society's demands for babies necessarily anything other than doctors attempting to protect their patients.