Infertility: Ethical and Legal Concerns

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Topic Overview

Reproductive research and treatment raise many ethical and legal concerns. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has issued a number of statements about these issues. You can review these statements on its website at www.asrm.org/EthicsReports.

Multiple pregnancy

Transferring several fertilized eggs during assisted fertilization techniques (as for in vitro fertilization) increases the chances that you will conceive two or more fetuses at once. Multiple pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, mother and infant health problems, and disability of one or more children. Talk to your doctor about how you can increase your chances of conception while decreasing the chances of having a multiple pregnancy.

Embryos

If you are planning to use assisted reproductive technology, your clinic may offer to freeze extra fertilized eggs for future conception attempts. Whether or not your clinic asks you to sign a consent form, be sure to give written instructions for what to do with any eggs that you don't use. Think about what you want done with them in the case of death or divorce. Also think about what you want done with the eggs if the clinic is not able to contact you in the future.

Donor eggs or sperm, or surrogate mother

You may be planning to use eggs or sperm from someone you know or to have a woman carry your fetus until birth. If so, talk to your clinic or an attorney experienced in this area. Draw up a contract that defines what rights and responsibilities each party has to the future child and your family.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofSeptember 30, 2014