009. Assisted reproduction

A discussion for the bravest in the new world

Questions to ponder

Developed in partnership with Professor Ariella Shikanov. Check out her lab’s research which makes many of these types of questions both askable and answerable.

  1. Is infertility a disease? Should it be treated as such? Should it be covered by insurance? Should it be included in universal healthcare programs (that is, should its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention be funded via tax payer money)?

  2. What role should the age of potential parents play in weighing decisions of assisted reproduction? Should those past their “reproductive primes” get lesser priority, greater or the same as their younger counterparts?

  3. Does in vitro fertilization cause a negative externality to society in suppressing the impetus adopt children? Put differently, what is the correlation between adoption and assisted reproduction and does it come with any moral obligations?

  4. During in vitro fertilization, many embryos will be fertilized but only a few will be implanted. May we test on the non-implanted embryos? Who should bear the cost of sustaining frozen embryos?

  5. Assisted reproduction is increasingly used by same-sex couples to have children. In some cases of lesbian couples, one mother is the biological mother (providing the fertilized embryo) and one is the birth mother (carrying the baby to term). Should one of these mothers enjoy a preference under the law (such as is currently the case for mothers v. fathers in custody cases)?

  6. Often babies conceived through assisted reproductive means have co-morbidities, that is, they will often have lower birth weights, are susceptible to birth abnormalities/defects, and are at a significantly higher risk of having future health problems. To what degree should such future costs be factored into the initial decision-making process of going through with assisted reproduction?

  7. What does it mean to “play god”?

Essays of possible interest

  1. The ethics of uterus transplantation
  2. Assisted reproduction in same sex couples
  3. Multiple gestation and damaged babies