Consenting and ethical considerations in embryo cryopreservation

Consenting and ethical considerations in embryo cryopreservation
Arian Khorshid, Ruben Alvero
Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 27 July 2020
Purpose of review
An emerging body of literature has elucidated the growing burden of surplus embryos left in storage without any clear disposition. An out dated consent process is a significant but easily remedied contributor to this problem. We propose a novel approach to consenting for disposition of surplus embryos.
Recent findings
Decisional conflicts that stem from the moral status of embryos and from evolving personal values contribute to surplus embryos being left in storage. Barriers to donation of embryos to research or to other patients also discourage embryo disposition decisions. A flawed informed consent process compromises the physician–provider relationship and complicates decision-making.
Centralizing the process of donating embryos to research and to patients would lower barriers to these disposition options. The informed consent protocol must be redesigned as a longitudinal, narrative process compatible with the evolving values and fertility outcomes of patients. Counselors should be integrated into all discussions regarding embryo disposition from the onset of fertility treatment through its conclusion to facilitate the decision-making process.

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