Use of in vitro fertilization—ethical issues
This report is an ethical analysis based on both facts and values. In in vitro fertilization (IVF), there is an intricate interaction between rapid scientific development and changing societal values. In most countries, the ethical discussion is no longer on whether or not IVF in itself is ethically justifiable. Therefore, in this review, I discuss other ethical aspects that have emerged since IVF was first introduced, such as upper age limits, ‘ownership’ of gametes and embryos, IVF in single women and same-sex couples, preimplantatory genetic testing, social egg freezing, commercialization, public funding, and prioritization of IVF. Despite secularization, since religion still plays an important role in regulation and practices of IVF in many countries, positions on IVF among the world religions are summarized. Decision-making concerning IVF cannot be based only on clinical and economic considerations; these cannot be disentangled from ethical principles. Many concerns regarding the costs, effects, and safety of IVF subtly transcend into more complex questions about what it means to society to bear and give birth to children.
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