Views on embryo donation for reproductive purposes among couples with experience of cryopreserved embryos : A literature review

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för folkhälso- och vårdvetenskap

Abstract: Background: Involuntary childlessness and infertility affect a large group of people and WHO calls it a global public health issue. Donated gametes can be used when a pregnancy is not achieved. Embryo donation involves the full genetic material of the donating couple and embryo donation for reproductive purposes are often associated with many emotional, ethical, legal and psychosocial aspects. Aim: The aim of the study was to examine views on embryo donation for reproductive purposes among couples with experience of cryopreserved embryos. Methods: A literature review was conducted in order to answer the aim. Two databases (PubMed and Web of Science) were used to identify relevant qualitative literature. A smaller search on Google Scholar was also included. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were pre-determined in order to limit which studies to include. Results: A total of 20 studies were included in the results. The results show that there are different views towards the status of the human embryo, views towards the genetic link, information sharing and screening, views towards the selection of recipients, views towards the contact and relationship between donors, recipients and offspring, and views towards the decision-making and whether to donate surplus embryos or not. Conclusion: The multiple understandings of the status of the human embryo emphasizes the complex nature of human embryos and may explain couples’ views on embryo donation for reproductive purposes. It has also the potential to explain what couples decide to do with their surplus embryos. The interests of the receiving couple, the donors, the future child, and the society should continuously be assessed and balanced when society regulates ART and embryo donation.

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