Embryo Donation: Unresolved Legal Issues in the Transfer of Surplus Cryopreserved Embryos
70 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2006
The authors examine the manifold legal issues created by the practice of cryopreserving fertilized egg (embryos) as part of fertility treatments. Eggs are harvested, fertilized and frozen for future use. Several consequences follow from this procedure. In some cases the intended parents separate or are divorced before the embryos are implanted. In other cases one of the intended parents dies before use. Sometimes one intended parents wants to donate embryos for research, while the other objects. Issues can arise about parenthood when one or both of the gametes are donated, meaning that the intended parent(s) may have no genetic connection to the potential child. A movement has grown up to allow infertile couples to adopt embryos produced but not used by original intended parents. Issue of inheritance, medical malpractice, eugenic considerations, as well as public policy concerns about the ultimate choices to be made regarding embryos and the question of who should make them. The authors provide a comprehensive analysis of these and other problems resulting from the storage of hundreds of thousands of embryos.
Keywords: Embryo adoption, transfer of gametes, in vitro fertilization, human reproduction, embryo cryopreservation
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