So what is the problem with Dominico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana commenting on their feelings regarding IVF? After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion aren't they?
As a specialist fertility acupuncturist who has treated hundreds of couples, gay and straight as well as single women, I can empathise completely with people who have been stung by the fashion duo's comments.
There are two things going on here. The first is that Dolce and Gabanna called babies conceived through assisted means 'synthetic' and the second is that they have also said that they oppose gay adoptions.
In the first instance, I think there is a misunderstanding stemming from the idea that people are choosing assisted reproduction over natural conception. That it's some sort of lifestyle choice. In fact, the reality is that every couple would rather opt for some great, un-pressurised sex and a natural pregnancy every time. Out of all the people I have treated, there has only been one couple who pro-actively chose IVF over natural conception and that was because the man involved travelled so much with his work that he was never around at the right time.
Of course, there are levels of intervention from chemicals to bring on ovulation to egg or sperm donation and surrogacy. Most couples hope for the least medical help possible and move slowly along the list of available procedures until they at last have a successful pregnancy. Most are highly frustrated at needing any 'help' at all and search out alternatives or adjuncts such as acupuncture and nutrition.
So here's a question, if a man increases his intake of selenium to improve his sperm does that also lead to a 'synthetic' child? Would this also be altering the 'natural flow of life', as Dolce & Gabbana put it, any less than taking an egg and sperm and uniting them in a petri dish?
No one actively chooses IVF over natural conception, they 'choose' it over not having any kids at all. They 'choose' it when there are no other options left to them. So to then find that their fought for and desperately desired children are referred to as 'synthetic', after the battles, tears, heartbreak and disappointments, is like sticking a knife in and then giving it a good twist.
The second case - of same sex adoption may not be born of ignorance - Dolce and Gabanna being a gay themselves and possibly having considered their options on children in the past. Who knows? I'm not going to pronounce. I just think it's wonderful that the option is there for all couples to adopt if they can and want to, whether they're gay or straight couple or a single parent.
I once had a patient who was worried that her child, conceived through IVF, would be teased about it in the playground - an idea that I heartily dismissed at the time. Dolce and Gabanna's words bring this mother's fears more to the fore. Let's hope their comments are born of ignorance and misunderstanding rather than considered opinion.