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Infertilitysince time immemorial has meant a serious challenge to couples,especially women. The existence of infertility issues has seen therise of efforts to offer treatment for the challenges. The efforts totreat infertility are generally referred to as assisted reproduction.This paper is developed to explain what is meant by the term‘assisted reproduction’, the different types of assistedreproduction, and the legal measures to ensure that the practice issafe for all the parties involved including the couples, donors, andthe born and unborn children. Whatis assisted reproduction?Assistedreproduction refers to the applied technology in the attainment ofreproduction. The technology involves various procedures such asthose of invitro fertilization, fertility medication, surrogacy andartificial insemination. The technologies are fundamentally appliedin the treatment of infertility, and are thus, sometimes referred toas infertility treatment. The assisted production may be applied tothe fertile couples for genetics-based reasons. It may also beapplied to the partners who due to certain communicable diseases suchas HIV are discordant. This is to reduce the risks of infection whenthe couples desire pregnancy.Theregulations on Assisted ReproductionAsa result of issues based on ethics and safety of mother and child,various regulations have been enacted at the state and federal levelsto ensure that the procedures are both safe and ethical. Some of theprocedures are also harmful and may cause both physical andpsychological harm. They are, therefore, regulated to ensure that theparticipants are adequately prepared both physically and mentally. Thestate regulations on assisted reproduction include the medicallicensing requirements, continuing medical education requirements,and the discipline for misconduct of physicians. The regulations atthe federal level include Fertility Clinic Success Rate andCertification Act, regular reporting of data on ART cycle to the CDC(Center for Disease Control), and the Clinical Laboratory ImprovementAct, among other regulations. There is also other professionalself-regulation that the physicians are required to exercise. Typesof Assisted ReproductionAshighlighted, the basic types of assisted reproduction comprisesurrogacy, in vitro fertilization, and artificial insemination.Artificial insemination refers to the placement of the sperm in thecervix or uterus of the female through the use of artificial meansinstead of sexual intercourse. The artificial placement of the malesperms in the uterus is referred to as intrauterine while theartificial placement of the sperm in the cervix is referred to asintracervical. InVitro FertilizationInvitro fertilization, which is considered as the first method that wasoffered in the United States in 1981, is maybe the well-acknowledgedmethods of assisted reproduction. The method resulted in thesuccessful birth of more than 500,000 babies between the years1985-2006.Invitro fertilization refers to the procedure of letting thefertilization of male sperm and female egg gametes to take placeoutside the body of the female. In vitro fertilization, it entailstwo techniques of embryo transfer and transvaginal ovum retrieval.Embryo transfer refers to the placement of one or more embryos intothe female’s uterus with the goal of establishing a pregnancy.Transvaginal ovum retrieval refers to the process of insertion of aneedle through the back of the vagina into the follicles of theovaries through the use of the ultrasound for the collection of thefluid containing the egg.Invitro involves five basic steps: prescription of fertility medicationfor stimulation of egg production retrieval of eggs through minorsurgical procedures production of a sperm sample by the male and thepreparation of the sperm for combination with the egg mixing of thesperm and the egg through insemination, and storage of thecombination in a laboratory for fertilization and the transfer ofthe embryo into the uterus of the woman.SurrogacySurrogacyrefers to the act of a woman agreeing to conceive and deliver a babyfor a contracted party. The baby may be the contracted party’s owngenetic child the baby may be conceived through naturalinsemination, embryo transfer or in vitro fertilization using the ovaof another woman. The surrogacy becomes an alternative when themedical condition of a patient prevents a safe pregnancy, or as aresult of previous surgical removal or congenital absence whereby thepatient has ovaries, but lacks uterus and where the patient may haveovaries but is unable to carry a pregnancy to its full term.Surrogacyis the process in which a woman carries a pregnancy with an intentionof bearing a baby to the intended parents. The parents may beheterosexual, but with infertility issues, thereby unable tonaturally conceive and bring forth a child of their own. The parentsmay also be same-sex that is the gay and lesbian parents, who arenaturally unable to conceive, therefore, have to contract anotherperson to do it for them. It may also be an option for the singleparents. Surrogacyis thought as the earliest form of assisted reproduction to solvecertain forms of childlessness over the centuries. As an early formof assisted reproduction it largely involved natural insemination,whereby the man engaged in sexual intercourse with another woman tobear his real partner a child. The Bible in the Old Testament citeshow Sarai at the age of 80 was unable to bear a child and, therefore,suggested for Abraham to go unto her maid, Hager, through whom shecould get a son, with Ishmael being born as a result. Accordingto Freeman et al. ( pg. 162), surrogacy in the recent years hasbecome a more widely used method of assisted reproduction. Before theintroduction of the modern assisted reproduction techniques, naturalsurrogacy was the only method of helping the barren women to havechildren. The recent increase in surrogacy method can be attributedto the increased familiarity of surrogacy as a means of assistedreproduction and a method of treating infertility. The increasedcoverage by the media as its increased used by celebrities hasparticularly ensured its increase in popularity. Legalissues in Assisted Reproduction
Thereare some states where the surrogacy contracts are illegal. Forinstance, in Maryland, the payment of money for the acquisition of achild is prohibited under the Family Law Article that banscompensation payment in relation to and adoption, and the cap3-603 ofthe Criminal Law Article that bans the sale of a minor (Botts et al,pg 8). In some states, payment for a child is allowed.
Informationregarding the donor of the offspring is a contested legal issue. Forinstance, in Britain, the government was considering the decision toreview the legislation on the provision of information regarding theoffspring donor. One aspect of the need to know the organ donor isbased on the right of the child to know his/her biological identity.The current law advocates for the anonymity of gamete donation. It,therefore, holds that information on the gamete donor can be revealedto neither the couples receiving the gamete nor the donor offspring(Frith, 820).RightsThereare also various rights that are reserved by various stakeholders orparticipants in the assisted reproduction. For instance, in the eventof separation or death, the ownership of the egg or sperm resideswith the deceased donor or his/her representative in the event ofdeath (Lander & Rodgers, par 1). However the donors do not havepaternal rights as the rights are transferred to the receivingcouples who are to raise the child as their own. However, one of thecontentious issues in assisted reproduction is wrongful conceptionand/or birth. WrongfulConception/BirthWrongfulconception or birth basically refers to the legal, ethical and moralconsequence of bringing forth an unwanted disabled or healthy child,and is one of the contested issues in assisted reproduction. Somephilosophers and lawyers believe that bringing a child into the worldwithout an adequate prospect of being able to provide for the basicneeds as well as raise it is a moral crime against the society aswell as the unfortunate offspring. Some, however, argue that for suchwrongful conception, it is justified to terminate or abort thepregnancy as it is a torture to take care of what is not wanted ordesired. Toarbitrate in the wrongful conception and birth cases, two torts haveemerged that relate to the malpractices that may have led to thewrongful conception of the child before or during the pregnancy. ThePrenatal injury holds that when the child is injured in the uterus orat birth with associated negligence attached to the donor, themedical practitioner or the adoption couples, such situations arewrongful conception and birth. Wrongful conception and birth of achild with mistakes or damages tied to any of the parties involvedattracts compensation from the concerned party for the damagescaused. Wrongfulbirth actions also apply in situations where the child was normal,but was born impaired as a result of wrongful or unplanned birth. Forinstance, when the donated gametes were right, but the child is bornimpaired as a result of the mothers neglect, this is considered aswrongful birth with the mother liable for the damages. When thedoctor during the delivery invokes the damages, this also amounts towrongful birth with the doctor liable for the damages. Therefore, allthe parties involved in assisted reproduction are liable to exercisea duty of care during and after pregnancy. ConclusionAssistedreproduction refers to a range of activities and methods involved inthe treatment of infertile couples to enable them to conceive andcarry the pregnancy to its term. The three basic types of assistedreproduction include surrogacy, artificial insemination and in vitrofertilization. The assisted reproduction involves complicatedprocedures that attract various legal, ethical and moral issues onregarding the rights of the child and other parties involved.ReferencesBotts,Jennifer, K. Et Al. LegalIssues Concerning Assisted Reproduction.UnitedStates Department of Legislative Services. 2012. Retrieved from:http://dlslibrary.state.md.us/publications/OPA/I/LICAR_2012.pdfFreeman,Tabitha. Et Al. Relatednessin Assisted Reproduction.London: CambridgeUniversity Press. 2014. Print.
Frith,Lucy. GameteDonation and Anonymity: The Ethical and Legal Debate.Oxford Journal of Human Reproduction. Volume16,Issue5 Pp. 818-824.2001
Lander& Rogers. Ownershipof eggs and sperm in assisted reproductive technology.2015.http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=dc4ad9dc-e965-465b-968b-0b8a64a0da5d