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Ethical Issues Surrounding Fertility Preservation in Cancer Patients


Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology: December 2010 - Volume 53 - Issue 4 - pp 717-726
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181f96a70
Fertility Preservation: New Developments

Fertility preservation is a newly developed branch of reproductive medicine aimed at preserving the potential for genetic parenthood in adults of reproductive age or children, who are at risk of sterility before undergoing anticancer treatments. Except for embryo and semen freezing, all the available options to preserve fertility are considered experimental and thus, they raise ethical issues. In this study, we reviewed the informed consent and the risk-benefit analysis of offering experimental procedures for both adults and children when they are in vulnerable situations. In particular, children represent a special category of patients and their assent to treatment to be sought at anytime should be possible. Overall, there should be no ethical objections to offer these services as they are offered with the scope of preserving future fertility.

*Yale University Fertility Center, New Haven, Connecticut

Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Correspondence: Pasquale Patrizio, MD, MBE, Yale Fertility Center, New Haven, CT 06511. E-mail:

Conflict of Interest: None.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.