AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2014, Volume 16, Number 1.

Ethics Poll

Assisting in Reproduction

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has set $4,800 as a guideline cap for payment to women who provide eggs for use in in vitro fertilization (IVF). Which of the following best expresses what you think about this cap?
It’s good because it keeps people from treating body parts or traits like commodities.
It’s good because it keeps payments from becoming so high that women who need money are induced to participate in egg donation, which entails discomfort and some risk, when they should not.
It’s good because it helps control the price of treatments for infertility.
It’s bad because egg donors deserve more money for the discomfort and risk they experience.
It’s bad because it cuts down on the number of eggs available for IVF.
It’s bad because it does not effectively control the price of treatment for infertility.

Read about a current legal challenge to these caps in this month’s policy forum section.

It is possible for a postmenopausal woman to have an egg provided by a younger woman and fertilized by her husband’s sperm implanted so that she can carry the fetus to term and deliver the baby. What do you think about this practice? Select one answer.
There is no reason why a woman should not be able to use this method of assisted reproduction if she wants to become pregnant and can afford the services.
I don’t see a problem; women this age have been taking care of their grandchildren for centuries.
It should not be allowed because is riskier for the woman and her fetus.
It should not be allowed because women’s anatomy and physiology have evolved so that there is a natural limit on childbearing years.
It should not be allowed because the child’s mother might die when the child is still young.

Find out what two infertility experts say about this practice in this month’s ethics case 1.

Should health insurance pay for assisted reproductive technology?
Don’t know.