Author(s): Benshushan A, Schenker JG
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Abstract The latest remarkable technological advances in assisted reproduction, which enable cryopreservation of spermatozoa, embryos and ovarian tissue, raise difficult and debatable legal, social, ethical and moral issues concerning the right to posthumous reproduction. Furthermore, reports on the attitudes of the general public and of centres licensed for infertility treatment in the United Kingdom found that the majority of women and centres support the idea of posthumous reproduction. In this paper we review the data published on this issue, and after considering the various aspects, we conclude that each case should be discussed and authorized by a multidisciplinary committee that includes physicians, clergy, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and other appropriate parties. In our opinion, the main principles that should guide this committee would allow posthumous reproduction in the context of marriage when a prior consent exists. For unmarried persons, post-mortem donation of gametes should be done only anonymously, if they are in agreement with existing laws concerning infertility treatments in every country and after appropriate consent and proper counselling. Moreover, any case which involves consanguinity or a possibility of incest should be forbidden, both for ethical and genetic reasons. In a case of pre-existing siblings, they should be consulted and their informed consent should be granted in advance so as to avoid legal problems in the inheritance of property.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics