Intended for healthcare professionals


Hypothetically speaking

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 12 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:458
  1. Abi Berger
  1. BMJ

    Hypotheticals, BBC2, 28, 29, and 30 August, 11 20 pm

    Jenny and Jack want to have a baby but have problems conceiving. After many months they are referred to an infertility clinic to be considered for in vitro fertilisation. So far so good. It then turns out that Jenny has already had a child by a previous partner, but the child is now in care because the father was violent.

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    Should this fact be brought to bear on the clinician's decision to offer assisted conception to Jenny and Jack? Why has Jenny left the child in care, and is she a competent mother? According to the law, the whole situation—including the past—should be assessed if a couple is seeking help with fertility. Yet none of these questions arises for a couple conceiving a child by conventional means. …

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