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Text Alternative: Meet Our Researchers: Dr. DeCherney on Ethical Issues Associated with IVF

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Meet Our Researchers

Dr. DeCherney describes some of the ethical issues associated with IVF

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo


GRAPHIC SLIDE: Alan DeCherney, M.D.

Dr. Alan DeCherney on camera

Dr. Alan DeCherney: There are so many issues with this. I mean, this is a whole new field of human endeavor. And it’s an area—the ethics of IVF is something that everyone deals with—everyone deals with reproduction. So the ethics of kidney transplant is not interesting to most people unless they’re having a transplant or a loved one is having a transplant. But reproduction, everybody is a participant, at least at some point in their lives. There are multiple issues here. You don’t know what the new challenge will be.

The challenge now, just to give you an example, for the sake of brevity, is freezing eggs in women that want to postpone their childbearing. So a woman comes in, she’s 30 years old, she doesn’t have anybody that she’s interested in having a child with at this time, and she’s very into her career. She’d like to freeze her eggs so at age 40, when she wants to have children, she’ll be using her healthy, 30-year-old eggs. Some people in society think this is fine. Others do not. A kind of a corollary to that are single women getting pregnant.

There are guidelines. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has guidelines. And I think it’s individual. I think probably there are doctors that say, “I’ll do anything, it’s okay.” And doctors who say that they’ll only do the very primitive and uncomplicated procedures.

Last Updated Date: 04/30/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 04/30/2013
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