ObstetricianGynecologists' Beliefs About Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Lawrence, Ryan E. MDiv; Rasinski, Kenneth A. PhD; Yoon, John D. MD; Curlin, Farr A. MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181e2f27d
Original Research
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To characterize the prevalence of objections to assisted reproductive technologies among obstetrician–gynecologists.

METHODS: We conducted a national probability sample mail survey of 1,800 practicing U.S. ob–gyns. Criterion variables were whether physicians object to artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. We also presented seven patient scenarios and asked respondents if they would discourage use of assisted reproductive technologies and if they would help patients access such technologies. Covariates included physician demographic and religious characteristics.

RESULTS: Of 1,760 eligible ob–gyns, 1,154 responded (66%). Few (less than 5%) object to artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, and even fewer (less than 3%) would not help patients access these technologies. However, the majority of ob–gyns would discourage using assisted reproductive technologies if pregnancy has a 25% mortality risk (95%), if the patient is 56 years old (88%), or if the patient has human immunodeficiency virus (73%). Fewer would discourage use of assisted reproductive technologies if the patient already has five healthy biological children (24%), if she plans to be a single parent (17%), if she is not married to her male sexual partner (14%), or if her sexual partner is female (14%). Male (odds ratio, 2.2–2.8) and religious physicians (3.6–4.7) were more likely to discourage using assisted reproductive technologies if the patient was lesbian, single, or unmarried.

CONCLUSION: Few ob–gyns object to assisted reproductive technologies. Most discourage use of such technologies for patients with advanced age or medical comorbidities. Male and religious physicians are more likely to limit access for lesbian, single, or unmarried patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III

In Brief

Male and religious physicians are more likely to dissuade unmarried, single, or homosexual patients from seeking assisted reproductive technologies.

Author Information

From the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Section of General Internal Medicine, the Section of Hospital Medicine, and the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Supported by grants from the Greenwall Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (1 K23 AT002749 to Dr. Curlin).

Corresponding author: Ryan E. Lawrence, 924 East 57th Street, Suite 104, Chicago, IL 60637-5415; e-mail: rlawrence@uchicago.edu.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2010 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.