Running head: IN VITRO FERTILIZATION
Age and In Vitro Fertilization
Health Care Ethics
June 21, 2006
Advances in medical sciences are helping the infertile have children. These developments open up new ethical dilemmas about reproductive rights, parenthood, and the equity in the allocation of expensive medical resources that are very limited (de Melo-Martin, 1998). “According to the National Center of Health Statistics and the World Health Organization (WHO) between 8-10% of couples in the industrialized countries have reproductive problems (de Melo-Martin, 1998).” Many factors can cause infertility in women including: ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, and endometriosis. In approximately one half of the couples with reproductive disorders there is a contributing male factor. Most causes of infertility in men are a result of too few or abnormal sperm. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is attempted by 1.6% of couples seeking infertility treatment. In many cases the woman undergoing IVF provides her own eggs and her partner supplies the sperm. The process of IVF involves several stages. The first step consists of the stimulation of the woman’s ovaries with hormones to generate numerous oocytes. The second step involves removing the eggs form the woman’s ovaries. This can be done by laparoscopy or ultrasound-guided retrieval. Next, specialists fertilize the mature eggs with the sperm in a laboratory dish. If one or more normal looking embryos develop then the specialists place them in the woman’s womb to facilitate implantation and potential pregnancy. Usually between three and five embryos are placed to increase the chances of implantation and pregnancy (de Melo-Martin, 1998). Human IVF is an established clinical procedure in many countries. Attitudes have changed as it has been found that the babies born by use of IVF are healthy and have brought happiness to many families, so...
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