Every advance in medical science can bring new ethical dilemmas for the medical profession, and for society at large. The decision today that a woman cannot be made pregnant using frozen embryos without the father’s consent is heart-rending for everyone concerned.
But I believe that the right decision has been made. In some areas of pregnancy and parenting, the woman has de facto rights because she is the one carrying the child. A man cannot object to a woman having an abortion for this reason. This can be gut-wrenching for some men, who feel they must have some stake in the unborn life – and yet the decision is entirely taken away from them.
In this case, the man’s consent was required before pregnancy could be begun – and this must be the right principle. The man’s reason for withdrawing consent is not at issue.
I do feel sympathy for the woman whose disappointment must be heartbreaking for her – but to have decided in her favour would have been to deny the man any right to say whether or not he consented to the deliberate creation of a situation in which he would have been an ‘absent father’.