IVF stands for “In Vitro Fertilization.” It is a process of assisted reproductive technology that involves fertilization of an egg performed inside a glass container such as a tube or petri dish. The fertilized egg is then implanted into the uterus, which leads to high success rates of pregnancy. This method of assisted reproduction has been around since 1978 and has allowed many infertile women to become pregnant. In vitro type of fertilization is also used during a surrogate pregnancy. This procedure is considered very safe and has a higher success rate in mature women, as well as those who were previously pregnant (Refaat et al. 30).
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However, live birth rates are higher for women below 35 years old (McLernon et al. 573). However, ethical concerns are involved in this process. They are separated into two types. The first type is concerned with the philosophical implications of this kind of fertilization. Some countries have already banned the practice due to its non-traditional method of pregnancy induction and the possibility of surrogate pregnancy. Partially, this issue is tied to confusion around the procedure, as the term “test-tube babies” evokes images of genetic engineering and eugenics. In Vitro Fertilization does not involve any manipulation of genes.
Nevertheless, in some parts of the world, this procedure is still very controversial. The second type of ethical issue is tied to the possibility that IVF can lead to an increased occurrence rate of breast cancer, as well as instances of multiple births (Chambers et al. 279; Krul et al. 117). It is very important to inform the patient about these risks, as well as about the possible emotional trauma caused by failed birth attempts. This procedure can be extremely beneficial to women who are unable to become pregnant naturally, but it also has very serious issues that need to be considered before undergoing it.
Chambers, Anne, et al. “Premature and Multiple Births in IVF Are Associated with Pretreatment Circulating LH/HCG Receptor Concentration.” Human Fertility, vol. 20, no. 4, 2017, pp. 279–284.
Krul, I. M., et al. “Increased Breast Cancer Risk in Vitro Fertilisation Treated Women with a Multiple Pregnancy: A New Hypothesis Based on Historical in Vitro Fertilisation Treatment Data.” European Journal of Cancer, vol. 51, no. 1, 2015, pp. 112–120.
McLernon, David J., et al. “Predicting the Chances of a Live Birth after One or More Complete Cycles of in Vitro Fertilisation: Population-Based Study of Linked Cycle Data from 113 873 Women.” BMJ, vol. 355, 2016, pp. 573–576.
Refaat, Bassem, et al. “Ectopic Pregnancy Secondary to in Vitro Fertilisation-Embryo Transfer: Pathogenic Mechanisms and Management Strategies.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, vol. 13, 2015, p. 30.