Ethical implications of new techniques for fertility preservation

Ethische implicaties van nieuwe technieken voor vruchtbaarheidsbehoud
Start - End 
2012 - 2014 (completed)
Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Research group(s) 
Research Focus 



Fertility preservation is a recent branch of reproductive medicine that is increasingly gaining importance. In the most general terms it incorporates the removal, storage and/or transplantation of gametes, embryos and reproductive tissue for people whose reproductive potential is threatened by disease, medical treatments, age or other factors. The proposed research project aims to grasp the ethical issues that arise in this arena through literature research.

Examples of specific ethical and philosophical questions are the following. What are the limits of reproductive freedom given the possibilities of posthumous reproduction and egg freezing for social reasons? Are the limits of preventive medicine being pushed too far when surgical procedures are performedwhile the chances of possible benefits are limited or yet unknown? How can informed consent be obtained in a field that is susceptible to therapeutic misconceptions, the technological imperative and anticipated decision regret? How can minors’ anticipated autonomy rights be protected while they are themselves incompetent to consent to invasive or uncomfortable procedures at an already difficult time in their lives? Should the application of promising but experimental techniques and procedures be encouraged or restrained? How does the language that is used to describe fertility preservation influence the ethical debate?