<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 25, Issue 3, September 2017

Rom J Leg Med25(3)317-321(2017)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

The ethical aspects regarding cryopreserved embryos

D. Mihai, E. Brătilă, C. Mehedințu, C. Berceanu, S. M. Pițuru

Abstract: The development of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) has given millions of infertile couples worldwide hope to accomplish their dream: having children. In most cases, however, more than one embryo results. By the means of cryopreservation techniques, the excess number of embryos are kept until the family has completed the number of children they wished for. The ethical major issues arise when deciding what will happen with the surplus embryos, that have remained cryopreserved. The couple can either opt for disposing of the embryos by thawing them or engage in compassionate transfer, donate them for other couples or give them for “adoption”, otherwise donate them for research. Some couples simply “abandon” the embryos. This is a very sensitive subject, as embryos are not only transplant tissue, but they have the potential to generate the life of a new human being. The principles of bioethics must be taken into account in every of the above decisions mentioned: respect for autonomy (the respect for the capacity of the person to choose), non-maleficence (avoiding harming), beneficence (the care for the well-being of the person), and justice (the equitable distribution of benefits and costs). There are specific laws that must be respected as well as in making the decision, laws stipulated by the Societies of Human Reproduction and Embryology, by the Declaration of Human Rights and by different Civil and Penal Codes available, that differ from country and state worldwide. The Christian Religion beliefs are surrounding this controversial field as well, while the medical researchers emphasize on the tremendous potential the embryo stem cells have on curing disease such as cancer, genetic disorders and infertility. This article presents all these aspects compassing human cryopreserved embryos and give a full picture over this subject, that one finds extremely thrilling, meanwhile some find it disturbing.
Keywords: cryopreserved embryos, bioethics, embryo donation, embryo stem cell research, destroying abandoned embryos.

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