Creating “monsters” and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f203 (Published 15 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f203

The “creation of monsters” is the argument against in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in Poland. The Catholic Church in Poland seeks to criminalise IVF, and has at the heart of its campaign the claim that children created by IVF are embodiments of “the other,” just like Frankenstein’s monster (Reproductive Health Matters 2012;20:30-7, doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(12)40647-4). Monstrosity is attributed to IVF children in several ways: the physical (potential deformities), psychological (survivor syndrome or identity crises), social (loneliness, uncertain place within families), and ethical (lives burdened by the deaths of many embryos).

Courage is a much needed commodity in medicine, and few have shown it with such persistence as Peter Wilmshurst. Always ready to speak out against wrongdoing whatever the personal cost, he endured a lengthy lawsuit after highlighting research misconduct at the company whose device he was evaluating (BMJ 2011;342:d2646, doi:10.1136/bmj.d2646; BMJ 2012;344:e2226, doi:10.1136/bmj.e2226). Last year he emerged triumphant, and Minerva is pleased to …

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