Infertility: Ethical and Legal Concerns - Topic Overview
Reproductive research and treatment raise numerous ethical and legal
concerns. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has issued a number of
statements about ethics and responsibility, which you can review on its Web
site at http://www.asrm.org/Media/Ethics/ethicsmain.html.
Transferring several fertilized eggs during assisted fertilization
techniques (as for
in vitro fertilization) increases the likelihood that
you will conceive two or more fetuses at once. Multiple pregnancy increases the
risk of prematurity, low birth weight, mother and infant health complications,
and disability of one or more children. Talk to your doctor about how you can
increase your chances of conception while decreasing the probability of having
a multiple pregnancy.
Today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is practically a household word. But not so long ago, it was a mysterious procedure for infertility that produced what were then known as "test-tube babies." Louise Brown, born in England in 1978, was the first such baby to be conceived outside her mother's womb.
Unlike the simpler process of artificial insemination -- in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception precedes otherwise normally -- IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in...
If you are planning to use
assisted reproductive technology to conceive, your
clinic may offer to freeze (cryopreserve) extra fertilized eggs for future
conception attempts. Whether or not your clinic asks you to sign a consent
form, be sure to provide written instructions for the handling of any
fertilized eggs that you don't use. As you do so, consider what you want done
with them in the case of death, divorce, or separation, or should the clinic be
unable to contact you in the future.
If you are planning to use eggs or sperm from someone you know, or
to have a woman carry your fetus until birth, talk to your clinic or an
attorney experienced in this area. Draw up a contractual agreement that defines
the extent and limits of all parties' rights and responsibilities to the future
child and your family.