Reproductive research and treatment raise many ethical and legal
concerns. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has issued a number of
statements about these issues. You can review these statements on its website at www.asrm.org/EthicsReports.
Transferring several fertilized eggs during assisted fertilization
techniques (as for in vitro fertilization) increases the chances that
you will conceive two or more fetuses at once. Multiple pregnancy increases the
risk of premature birth, low birth weight, mother and infant health problems,
and disability of one or more children. Talk to your doctor about how you can
increase your chances of conception while decreasing the chances of having
a multiple pregnancy.
If you are planning to use assisted reproductive technology, your
clinic may offer to freeze extra fertilized eggs for future
conception attempts. Whether or not your clinic asks you to sign a consent
form, be sure to give written instructions for what to do with any
eggs that you don’t use. Think about what you want done
with them in the case of death or divorce. Also think about what you want done
with the eggs if the clinic is
not able to contact you in the future.
Donor eggs or sperm, or surrogate mother
You may be planning to use eggs or sperm from someone you know or
to have a woman carry your fetus until birth. If so, talk to your clinic or an
attorney experienced in this area. Draw up a contract that defines
what rights and responsibilities each party has to the future
child and your family.