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Undergoing expensive and invasive fertility treatments, in many cases after struggling with years of infertility, and then having an abortion is something that must shock even the most staunch pro-choicers. Yet it does happen sometimes. Abortions after IVF take place least 80 times a year in the United Kingdom, a new reports says. Why?

When I opened the news report, my first though was that this was about selective reduction a controversial practice that eliminates one of more unborn babies from the uterus after IVF with twin or higher multiple pregnancies. Selective reduction is essentially the abortion of one child, to increase chances that the remaining child or children will be viable, and to avoid high-risk pregnancies. In my opinion, this is the result of implanting too many embryos in the first place. While I find selective reduction after IVF shocking, the new research from the UK is not about this. It is about simply having an abortion after first undergoing IVF treatment. Again why? Not for medical, but for social reasons, according to the report from the British Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.

One woman who opted to have an abortion after IVF treatment told the Times that her marriage was on its last legs: I couldn't cope with bringing up a child on my own and I didn't want any link that would force me to stay in touch with my husband. While I understand her wish not to be linked to a man she no longer loved for the rest of my life, I am sure nobody needs reminding that life is unpredictable. Just what would this woman have done if she and her husband had decided to get a divorce after the birth of their IVF child? If her marriage was shaky, why did she try to conceive through IVF at all?

I am not anti-choice, but decisions like this shock me, and make me think that anyone wanting IVF should go through extensive counseling before being approved for the procedure. Just this once, I find myself agreeing with the quirky Conservative former member of the British parliament Ann Widdecombe, who said to be outraged by people treating their unborn children as designer goods, and said that people would not be able to have abortions simply because they had changed their mind, if laws were appropriately enforced.

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