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 website at www.asrm.org/EthicsReports.
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.
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, think about what you want done
with them in the case of death, divorce, or separation, and also what you want done
with the eggs if the clinic is
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.
December 7, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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