News & Publications

Ethics and Assisted Reproductive Technology Is the Theme of January’s Virtual Mentor

January 10 , 2014
by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Bulletin Volume 16, Number 1

The current issue of Virtual Mentor, the on-line ethics journal of the American Medical Association, focuses on Ethics and Assisted Reproductive Technology. The issue’s authors and editors include members of ASRM’s Ethics Committee.
From the AMA,
“In 1978, the first successful use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) gave birth to Louise Joy Brown and to the field of medicine known as assisted reproductive technology (ART), allowing infertile couples, those who carry gene-related illness, single women, gay and lesbian couples, and others to become biological parents. ART also introduces a host of ethical concerns about which January’s Virtual Mentor ( authors deliberate. These range from requests for help in becoming pregnant after menopause and for conceiving a child who can donate tissue to a seriously ill sibling to proper remuneration for donated eggs and fertility clinics’ incentive to achieve high rates of pregnancy from IVF.
Some of the highlights in the January issue include:

  • ART and the Art of Medicine:The medical science of assisted reproduction presents many ethical questions, as does concern about regulating the commercial side of the enterprise. 
  • Are IVF Risk-Sharing Programs Ethical? Commentary by Leslie P. Francis, Ph.D., J.D. Patients seeking IVF are highly motivated to become parents and may wish to preserve financial resources for surrogacy or adoption should IVF not succeed, so risk sharing appeals to them, which makes its high cost especially problematic.
  • Fully Informed Consent for Prospective Egg Donors, by Naomi Cahn, J.D., and Jennifer Collins, J.D. Federal regulations governing egg donation fall into two categories: safety testing and truth in advertising. Neither deals directly with informed consent by, for example, specifying what information donors must be given.
  • Expanded Genetic Testing in Assisted Reproduction: Lessons Learned from Prenatal Testing, by Susan Klugman, M.D., and Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., MPH. Chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) reveals many gene variants of unknown significance. The uncertainty about these variants—might they be deleterious or are they benign?—complicates genetic counseling.
  • Who Pays? Mandated Insurance Coverage for Assisted Reproductive Technology. There is not a convincing case for the United States government to mandate insurance coverage for IVF. A medicine & society essay by Katie Falloon and Philip M. Rosoff, M.D., M.A.

The ASRM Bulletin is published by ASRM's Office of Public Affairs to inform Society members of important recent developments. Republication or any other use of the contents of the Bulletin without permission is prohibited. To request permission to quote or excerpt material from the Bulletin, contact Sean Tipton at   


Sean Tipton
Phone: 202-863-2494


View Details
Learn More | Join | Renew
Back to Top