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Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technologies include diverse treatments developed and applied for the purpose of overcoming infertility, whose causes may be hormonal or structural (e.g., the absence of a uterus), medical (genetic or other diseases that make it difficult to conceive or to carry a pregnancy to term), or social (single parents or same-sex couples). They include artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), surrogacy, various medical and hormonal treatments, and more.

Selected ethical issues:


  • Fetus selection and genetic enhancement.
  • Social pressure to conceive, physical harm caused to the woman’s body and psychological burden on parents.
  • Commercialization of reproductive cells and organs (sperm, eggs, uterus).
  • Surplus embryos (donation for reproduction / donation for research / destruction).
  • Undermining the traditional family structure.
  • Objectification and exploitation of a woman’s body to realize someone else’s aspiration to be a parent (surrogacy).
  • (In)justice – (un)equal access to assisted reproductive technology, in view of high costs and social discrimination (e.g., against same-sex couples).