Question:

What are some of the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with IVF?

Ethical and Moral Issues Related to In Vitro Fertilization

The use of assistive reproductive technologies is more than just a question of medical treatment and conception. There are also ethical and moral dilemmas that can be a part of this process, which can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Fate of any stored embryos should a couple divorce - is the embryo property or a person. Who can claim the embryo or determine if it is to be destroyed or kept in frozen stasis?
  2. Rights of the sperm or egg donor - some States laws include that donors have no parental rights, however this is not as clearly delineated in other States.
  3. Destruction of residual embryos - are we, in fact, murdering children? Some religious beliefs feel that we are taking the life of a child, rather than a potential being.
  4. Selective reduction in the event of multiple successful implants - selective abortion of a fetus or more than one fetus, to promote a more successful outcome for the remaining fetuses, is viewed the same as the destruction of residual embryos. Some believe that a child begins at conception rather than at birth.
  5. Religious morality regarding the use of assistive reproductive technologies (ART)- the Catholic tenets specifically restrict the use of ART such as IVF. The Donum Vitae states that intrusion of someone other than a man and his spouse in the making of a child is immoral, which rules out donor sperm and eggs, and fertility treatments to promote conception.
Beyond the physical aspects of the in vitro fertilization, there are also the social and moral aspects that some feel must be considered when making the determination to create a child using a test tube

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