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Reproductive Ethics


Reproductive Ethics. 3/15/04. Schedule. Papers. Understanding the Technology. Ethical Issues ... bonus, additional ethical issues are raised.) Ethical Questions ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Reproductive Ethics

Reproductive Ethics
  • 3/15/04

  • Papers
  • Understanding the Technology
  • Ethical Issues

Reflection 3
Reproductive Technology
  • Artificial Insemination
  • In Vitro Fertilization
  • Surrogacy
  • Freezing Sperm
  • Freezing Embryos
  • Freezing Eggs
  • (Cloning)

Artificial Insemination
  • Essentially, sperm (either from the husband or
    some other donor) is injected into the
    reproductive tract of the intended mother.
  • Used most commonly when there are concerns about
    male infertility.
  • The sperm can be washed first to ensure that
    there is a high concentration of sperm.

Artificial Insemination
  • Actually a general term, not a specific
  • The most common procedure is intrauterine
    insemination (IUI), where the sperm is inserted
    directly into the uterus, so as to avoid possible
    problems with the cervix.

Artificial Insemination
  • IUI has a success rate of about 15-20, and is
    fairly quick.
  • A major disadvantage is that the doctor cannot
    tell if insemination has been successful because
    it occurs in the body.

Artificial Insemination
  • Another procedure, intracytoplasmic sperm
    injection (ICSI) involves injecting a single
    sperm by pipette into an egg.
  • ICSI allows men with very low sperm counts to
  • Can be done in utero, but is becoming more common
    in vitro.

In Vitro Fertilization
  • In these processes, sperm and eggs are combined
    outside the body, and reinserted after it is
    clear that insemination has occurred.
  • The most common sign that insemination is
    successful is when the egg has divided into an
    eight-celled organism. This is the point that
    the egg(s) are reinserted.

In Vitro Fertilization
  • Depending on the procedure used, can cost between
    5,000 and 12,000 an attempt.
  • The rate of success for IVF varies from clinic to
    clinic, and procedure to procedure, but the
    national average is about 34 (measured in terms
    of babies per egg retrieval.)

  • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a hybrid
    of IVF and AI.
  • Eggs and sperm are both retrieved from the
    potential parents, and screened for problems.
  • The sperm and eggs are then placed in a catheter
    together and inserted directly into one the
    womans fallopian tubes.

  • Since the eggs are withdrawn from the body first,
    GIFT is similar to in vitro, but since the
    fertilization occurs in the body it is like AI.
  • Some find this preferable to traditional IVF,
    because there is no question about what to do
    with excess embryos.

  • Surrogacy is when the potential parents have
    someone other than the eventual mother carry the
    child to term.
  • This can be done with AI, or IVF, and can utilize
    either the eventual mothers eggs, the
    surrogate's eggs, or eggs from a donor.

  • Surrogates generally fall into two camps Close
    relatives or hired surrogates.
  • In either case it is routine to sign a contract
    stating what compensation (if any) will be done,
    concerns about how the surrogate will handle
    health issues during pregnancy, and a waiver of
    the surrogates parental rights.

Freezing Sperm
  • A.K.A. Sperm Banks
  • Sperm is collected via masturbation and is stored
    in a frozen manner. The sperm can be later
    thawed, and used in various reproductive

Freezing Sperm
  • While people who sell their sperm gets the most
    media attention, many men have some sperm frozen
    if they are going to be undergoing various
    procedures that could affect future fertility.

Freezing Embryos
  • After fertilization, embryos can be frozen for
    later implantation via IVF.
  • Most common with the excess embryos from IVF
    attempts and women who will be undergoing
    procedures that could effect future fertility.

Freezing Embryos
  • A problem with this approach is that embryos
    require both the egg and the sperm.
  • Women who do not know for sure if they want to
    have children with Father X, but wish to save
    embryos cannot use this procedure.

Freezing Eggs
  • Problematic for a long time because in the
    freezing process ice crystals could form, harming
    the eggs.
  • Involves removing ovarian tissue, and freezing
    it. After the tissue is thawed it is
    transplanted into a host. Mature eggs are
    removed, inseminated, and implanted into the
    birth mother.

Freezing Eggs
  • The technology is still evolving, and many
    caution that there may be lingering side-effects
    from the freezing of the eggs.
  • Allows women who want to preserve fertility, but
    not commit to having a child with any particular
    person to do so.

Cloning Technologies
  • We will be looking into these next week, but many
    of the same ethical issues that rise with these
    technologies are also raised. (But as a bonus,
    additional ethical issues are raised.)

Ethical Questions
  • What concerns do you have about these
  • Has technology outpaced law?

More Questions
  • Who has access to these technologies?
  • Given problems with overpopulation, should we
    continue to look into advanced in reproductive
  • Is reproduction without sex moral?

Even More Questions
  • What should happen to eggs/sperm/embryos that
    have been stored when the donors have died?
  • Do you own your genetic material? Can you
    bequeath it?

The Big Question
  • What is to be done with excess embryos?

For Next Time
  • Finkel, David. What Kind of Choice is That?
    Sciences War on Infertility Can Deliver Painful
    Decisions (Progdata)
  • Weiss, Rick. Iowa Septuplets Multiply Critics of
    Fertility Therapy. (Progdata)
  • Steinbock, Bonnie. The McCaughey Septuplets
    Medical Miracle or Gambling with Fertility
  • Charles, Sonya Shivas, Tricha. Mothers in the
    Media Blamed and Celebrated - An Examination of
    Drug Abuse and Multiple Births.  (Progdata)