Wednesday, August 30, 2006

BBC Fat Terror Alert Raised To “Beyond Ludicrous”

The British Fertility Society has produced a list of recommendations for NHS fertility treatment availability in England. The BBC has reported this under the headline: “Call for fertility ban for obese: Very obese women should be denied fertility treatment, experts say.”

From such a title, one may conclude that the experts’ recommendations exclusively focused on the obese, but no! The BBC article expands 1 paragraph from the British Fertility Society Press Release into an 11 paragraph indictment of obesity. Compare the first half of the BBC article to the recommendation from the BFS press release:

Women with a body mass index of [less than] 19 and [greater than] 29 should be referred for advice from a dietician, warned of the potential risks in pregnancy, if appropriate, provided with access to exercise advice and offered psychosocial support. NHS funding of their treatment should be deferred until they demonstrate response to these interventions. Assisted conception may be provided if the BMI is [less than] 36.

"But Wait!" you may say, "the BBC is just worried about the obese because they are at higher risk for disease and complication related to pregnancy according to the BFS."
Ah, but the BBC did not report therisk for very thin women did it (less than BMI 19)? And what about the other 10 recommendations made by the BFS? The most striking of which is this:

No treatment cycle should be started after female’s 40th birthday; no patient place on the waiting list within 6 months of the 40th birthday but treatment funded up until the 40th birthday of the female partner; no age limitation on the use of frozen embryos created during an NHS funded cycle carried out before the female partners’ 40th birthday.

How does the BBC explain and expand on this recommendation? It doesn’t reference that recommendation at all! Instead, it allows a BBC physician consultant to mention it off-handedly:
But Dr Lockwood said there were clinical factors which affected the success of IVF and, as well as weight concerns being over the age of 40 meant that "even very high-tech treatments like IVF are really very unsuccessful".

Now, let’s look at some of the other recommendations made by the British Fertility Society, just to see where their interests lie, and what the BBC failed to elaborate on, or in some cases to even report:

- Women who have had previous pregnancies should not be excluded.
But risk of birth defects and complications increases with multiple pregnancies!

- Paternal age does not matter for access to treatments.
But the risk of birth defects (such as dwarfism) increases with paternal age!

- Smokers should not be denied fertility treatment, but should be informed of the associated risks.
These associated risks of smoking include birth defects, pregnancy complications, and …. INFERTILITY!

- Same sex couples and single women should not be denied fertility treatment.
So, let’s get this straight – It is fine for a baby to have no father, but not a fat mother.

Or to sum up…It is ok for a baby to have a chain-smoking, lesbian mother who already has seven kids, and be made from an unknown 90-year-old’s sperm, but it is not ok for a baby to have a mother who is 5’10” tall who weighs 250 pounds (BMI=36). Now if the baby’s mother is 5’10” tall and weighs 243 pounds…no problem!

It seems we are not only dealing with the BBC’s obsession with promoting fear-of-fat (check my archives for proof) but also recommendations from the British Fertility Society that smack of social engineering.

And, what if it was found that women of African ancestry had higher risk pregnancies? What? They do? They have a much greater risk of complications than white women? Well, why not make race a criterion for denying fertility treatment?

And could we please see the evidence that women who were obese and lost weight (the magic seven pounds!) had normal-risk pregnancies? You don’t have any? In fact you didn’t even bother to cite the studies that prove obese women are at higher risk? Then how can we to critically evaluate either the BBC article or the BFS recommendations it is supposedly based on? Don’t you want us to do that, to reason rather than reflexively respond?

I have said it before and I will say it again: There is socio-economic motive for promoting fat-hatred as the new racism. In simpler terms, making you afraid of being fat drives you into a love-hate relationship with food forcing you to consume/spend and then purge/spend. The common factor is spending!

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