Justo Aznar, Director of the Institute of Life Sciences at the Catholic University of Valencia and Julio Tudela, Director of the Master’s degree in Bioethics at the same Institute, have collaborated in the writing of an international book “Innovations In Assisted Reproduction Technology”, edited in London by IntechOpen. The book deals with the latest developments in assisted reproduction. Specifically, the two Spanish authors have written the chapter on the ethical assessment of these techniques. Forty more authors have written the remaining 12 chapters of the book.
IntechOpen is the world’s leading publisher of free access journals and books in the scientific field, publishing books written by and for scientists.
Assisted reproduction technology advances with ethical implications
We consider it important that an international book on a subject as controversial as the ethical aspects of assisted reproduction is entrusted to members of the Catholic University of Valencia.
Following we publish the Abstract and Introduction of the aforementioned chapter:
Bioethics of Assisted Reproductive Technology
Justo Aznar and Julio Tudela
There is no doubt that for a couple who are having difficulties in conceiving, having a child is an objective good. However, it is also indisputable that assisted reproduction techniques raise clear ethical issues. In order to begin this bioethical reflection, it should be clearly established that the early embryo, which can be manipulated or destroyed using these techniques, is a living being of our species. We believe this is unquestionable from a biological point of view, and it, therefore, deserves our full respect. The bioethical assessment of assisted reproduction techniques includes analysis of the embryo losses caused by their selection and manipulation through preimplantation genetic diagnosis, ‘social freezing’ or the possible lack of rigor in the information provided by the clinics involved, to which must be added the higher morbidity reported in babies born as a result of these procedures.
There is no doubt that for a couple who are having difficulties in conceiving, having a child is an objective boon. In an attempt to achieve this goal, many will avail assisted reproductive technology (ART) or natural family planning methods [1–3]. ART refers to a number of techniques, primarily: (a) in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which the fertilization of an egg by sperm takes place in a laboratory setting; (b) intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm is introduced into the egg to be fertilized, also in a laboratory setting; (c) artificial insemination, which involves artificially delivering semen to the female genital tract—the semen may be from the woman’s own partner or a donor; and (d) gamete intrafallopian tube transfer (GIFT), which involves removing eggs laparoscopically after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, followed by the introduction of the mixture of the couple’s eggs and sperm into the fallopian tube so that fertilization occurs in the body, unlike IVF and ICSI, in which it takes place ‘in vitro’ although several modifications of these techniques have been proposed .