Author(s): Dondorp WJ, De Wert GM
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Abstract There is currently much debate about cryopreservation of ovarian tissue or oocytes as a possible means of fertility preservation for women urgently needing potentially sterilizing medical treatment. Although both techniques are still experimental, some centres have started offering them also to healthy women who want to postpone childbearing until after they may have lost their natural reproductive capacity, or fear that they may not before that time find a partner with whom to raise a family. This article explores and discusses the ethical issues raised by this practice. We argue that there are no convincing a priori moral reasons why cryopreservation of ovarian tissue or oocytes should not also be available for healthy women. However, this is on the assumption of established techniques, also in terms of the efficient and safe use of any frozen reserve. The fact that there is still uncertainty about these aspects is rightly seen as a reason for only offering cryopreservation of ovarian tissue or oocytes in an experimental setting. But does that also mean that these techniques should presently only be available for a medical reason, i.e. for women facing iatrogenic fertility loss? We argue against this conclusion.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics