Ethics of the Donation and Reproductive Use of Frozen Embryos
I received today in the snailmail Volume 1 Number 1 issue of the "Embryo Connection", a publication of the National Embryo Donation Center which received a 2 year federal grant from the United States Dept. of Health and Human Services "to provide an evidence-based asssessment of embryo donation and adoption." The results of their beginning data base can be found at their website:
To my recollection, I don't think we have previously discussed on this blog the ethical issues involved in the utilization of the frozen excess embryos of IVF through the donation by one couple to be nurtured thru pregnancy to birth by another couple and the resultant child parented by that second couple. (IVF,In Vitro Fertilization is, as you may know, the fertilization of the eggs by the sperm of a couple and allowing for an embryonic forms to develop some of them may be implanted into the uterus of a woman for development and birth or the excess embryos stored in a frozen state for later use or to be discarded.)
Some of the ethical and legal issues I see are:
Are the frozen embryo use analogous to organ donations by a living or deceased donor to the benefit of the recipient?
Beyond the donor couple giving permission to use the embryo, should there be monitary compensation for that use?
Should the donor couple have any say in the final outcome of the child after birth, such as the recipient couple deciding later to give the child up for adoption?
How much medical and genetic information should the receiving couple obtain about the donor couple before decision for embryo use?
Should both couples share experience with the born child?
When the child is born to the second couple, who is the legal mother? Is legal adoption of the child necessary?
Does the recipient couple have the responsibiltiy to inform the child, at some age, that the child was originally a frozen embryo created by IVF by another couple?
Is preserving excess embryos for later implantation and birth really the right thing to do in a world with increasing population and poverty, hunger and poor health care for some thoughout the world including the United States?
Any more that I missed? And what do you think the answers should be regarding the ones I thought of above? ..Maurice.