Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Public Debate on Infertility

Inhorn and van Balen maintain that infertility is related to some of the most hotly contested political, bioethical, and moral issues of out-time including: disposition of genetic material, "entitlement" to children, payment for expensive, high-tech infertility treatments, and the power of the media to shape reproductive expectations and
desires especially when reproductive "miracles" become the focus of media attention. Few areas pose so many social and ethical questions or attract as much public attention as infertility and assisted reproductive technologies. Society needs public dialogue on these new technologies and the issues which they stimulate; public health professionals should be active in informing and initiating these debates.

Of particular public interest is gamete donation or "third party reproduction" which presents multiple challenges to the concept of family and parenthood. Oocytes, sperm, embryos, and through gestational surrogacy, wombs can all be donated. The complexities of resulting relationships are staggering given the range and combination of assisted reproductive techniques. Few statutes address parental rights and responsibilities in third party reproduction and society as a whole has a vital interest in debating the many ethical, social and policy issues raised by ARTs.

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