Ethical Concerns of Assisted Reproduction

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The advancement and continued developments of third-party assisted reproductive medical practices has allowed many prospective parents, regardless of their marital status, age, or sexual orientation, to have a new opportunity for genetically or biologically connected children. With these developments come a number of rather complex ethical issues and ongoing discussions regarding assisted reproduction within our society today. These issues include the use of reproductive drugs, gestational services such as surrogacy as well as the rights of those seeking these drugs and services and the responsibilities of the professionals who offer and practice these services.
One of these ethical issues is regarding the use of fertility drugs. These drugs such as Pergonal, can trigger ovulation and increase the production of eggs which will increase a woman’s chances of conception. Often, these fertility drugs escalate the chances of multiple births that can lead to possible risk for both the mother and fetuses. Possible risk for carrying more than one fetus includes premature birth; long periods of hospital stays after birth as well as a higher risk one or more of these children will have some kind of serious disability or brain damage. In Greg Pence’s essay “The McCaughey Septuplets: God’s Will or Human Choice?” Pence says “the human uterus did not emerge in evolution to bear litters and that large multiple births are unnatural” (87). Doctors often recommend “selective reduction” (88) of all but a couple of the embryos to reduce the risk to the mother and fetus however many mothers refuse instead believing that the end results are “God’s will”. He makes a good point saying if it were “God’s will” then there would be “no need for fertility...

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...s, and heterosexuals professions simply have the ethical obligation to treat everyone as equals regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Hanscombe sums up her debate brilliantly stating “Adult people have in their gift the right to dispose of their own reproductive potential as they themselves think suitable” (107).
Indeed, continued use of various reproductive technologies may be best left for individual choices but will sure to continue to be a matter of ongoing personal, professional and political debates.

Works Cited

Kuhse, H. and Singer, P. Bioethics: An Anthology. Malden, MA. Blackwell Publishing. 2006. Part II: Assisted Reproduction. Pence, G. The McCaughey Septuplets: God’s Will or Human Choice?, pages 87-88. Purdy, L. Surrogate Mothering: Exploitation or Empowerment?, pages 91-93. Hanscombe, G. The Right to Lesbian Parenthood, pages 104-107.
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