Age-discriminated IVF Access and Evidence-based Ageism : Is There a Better Way?

Cavaliere, G. and Fletcher, J.R. (2022) Age-discriminated IVF Access and Evidence-based Ageism : Is There a Better Way? Science, Technology, and Human Values, 47 (5). pp. 986-1010. ISSN 0162-2439

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Access to state-funded fertility treatments is age-restricted in many countries based on epidemiological evidence showing age-associated fertility decline and aimed at administering scarce resources. In this article, we consider whether age-related restrictions can be considered ageist and what this entails for a normative appraisal of access criteria. We use the UK as a case study due to the state-funded and centrally regulated nature of in vitro fertilization (IVF) provision. We begin by reviewing concepts of ageism and age discrimination in gerontological scholarship and contend that it is analytically useful to differentiate between them when considering age-restricted health services. We then argue that criteria to access IVF could be considered indirectly ageist so far as they rely on an age-related evidence base that manifests ageist categorizations of persons. Lastly, we examine whether there could be more normatively desirable alternatives to devise criteria to access fertility treatment, considering “lifestyle” as a potential candidate. We conclude, however, that lifestyle-based discrimination is problematic because, unlike age-based discrimination, it risks exacerbating existing socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities. © The Author(s) 2021.

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Journal Article
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Science, Technology, and Human Values
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Science, Technology, & Human Values, 47 (5), 2022, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2021 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Science, Technology, & Human Values page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? ageingassisted conceptionepidemiologyfertilitygerontologyreproductioneconomics and econometricssocial sciences (miscellaneous)philosophysociology and political scienceengineering(all)anthropologyhuman-computer interaction ??
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10 Feb 2022 14:40
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 00:47