Ethical obligation for restricting the number of embryos transferred to women: combating the multiple-birth epidemic from in vitro fertilization
NLM Title Abbreviation
Semin Reprod Med
Seminars in reproductive medicine
DOI of Published Version
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an increasingly effective and popular means of achieving pregnancy for infertile women, but contributes to a growing incidence of risky twin pregnancies. Despite studies demonstrating cost-effective means to achieve IVF pregnancy while strictly limiting the number of embryos transferred, multiple-embryo transfer remains the most common practice in the United States, and twin pregnancies continue to increase. IVF providers resist restricting these practices, arguing that this is counter to principles of procreative liberty, patient and professional autonomy, and free-market economics. We counter that physicians have a professional fiduciary responsibility to weigh issues of nonmaleficence to patients and just use of health care resources with patient desires. With oversight from professional organizations, providers should follow strict but medically appropriate restrictions on embryo transfer practices and work toward safer means of optimizing IVF outcomes than multiple-embryo transfer.
Embryo Transfer/ethics/methods/statistics & numerical data, Epidemics/prevention & control, Female, Fertilization in Vitro/ethics/legislation & jurisprudence/methods/statistics & numerical data, Humans, Moral Obligations, Personal Autonomy, Physician's Practice Patterns/ethics/legislation & jurisprudence, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Multiple/statistics & numerical data
Published Article/Book Citation
Seminars in reproductive medicine, 28:4 (2010) pp.287-294.