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Arch Hellen Med, 33(4), July-August 2016, 680-688


Ethical issues in medically assisted reproduction

D. Fragkou,1 P. Galanis2
1Department of Economics, University of Pireus, Pireus,
2Department of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

The development of genetics, biotechnology and biomedicine has resulted in medically assisted reproduction which gives the possibility for persons with infertility problems to have a child. Medically assisted reproduction raises a va riety of ethical issues, leading to controversy among health professionals, counselors, sociologists and theologians. Specific such controversial ethical issues include the cut-off age of females as a criterion for parenting competence and the raising of children in families with a non-standard family structure, such as homosexual couples and one-parent families. One important ethical issue is the participation of a third person in the process of reproduction, such as in case of surrogate mothers and genetic material donation. Post-mortem sperm procurement, cryopreservation of embryos and the usage of such embryos for research, and after-death medically assisted reproduction all raise ethical dilemmas. The Orthodox Church accepts in vitro fertilization only under certain circumstances. Medically assisted reproduction depends on technological breakthroughs and in certain cases entails the creation of a human being taking place into laboratory, replacing the physiological reproduction procedure. The ethical issues concern only infertile persons, but also the health professionals, who have to deal with actions or omissions. For these reasons, it is necessary to create a legislative framework with respect to human freedom and rights in the field of reproduction.

Key words: Assisted reproduction, Cryopreservation of embryos, Ethical issues, Orthodox Church, Surrogate motherhood.

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