Assisted reproduction

News

Illustration of egg and sperm

Weak Sperm Bank Regulations Cause Havoc for Some Users

July 25, 2016

Because frozen sperm is lightly regulated, some users have had their lives upended because of lost vials, misleading donor descriptions, misappropriation, and careless record keeping. An article in the New York Times describes some of the worse cases, in which women have been inseminated with sperm carrying highly heritable, serious illnesses without their knowledge or consent. Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, PhD (New York University) notes, “Even in New York, when they inspect [sperm banks], they’re looking at hygienic conditions not record-keeping. Nobody confirms that you have what you say you have. It’s absurd that we have these materials so valuable that people pay to store them, but we run it like a 19th-century grocery.” While the official position of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine is that no further regulation is needed, several lawsuits are moving forward, and the Donor Sibling Registry has become an crucial resource for families who used the same donor to connect and share information.  

Publication

Wolf SM, Lawrenz FP, Nelson CA, Kahn JP, Cho MK, Clayton EW, Fletcher JG, Georgieff MK, Hammerschmidt D, Hudson K, Illes J, Kapur V, Keane MA, Koenig BA, LeRoy BS, McFarland EG, Paradise J, Parker LS, Terry SF, Van Ness B, Wilfond BS. Managing Incidental Findings in Human Subjects Research: Analysis and Recommendations. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2008;36(2):219-248. Download PDF (415.08 KB)

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Research

In Vitro Fertilization

Cutting-Edge Policy Issues in Reprogenomics: Revamping the Law, Ethics & Policy Governing Genomic Biobanks and Assisted Reproductive Technology

This funding encompasses work on two related projects addressing cutting-edge issues posed by the latest advances in biomedical science in the linked domains of genomics and reproductive technologies. Both raise high-profile issues of immediate concern to federal and state government, scientists, and physicians. Both projects address how legal and ethical obligations to those who are most vulnerable (participants in genomic research and children produced using reproductive technologies) should fundamentally change policy and practice.

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