Provision of fertility services for women at increased risk of complications during fertility treatment or pregnancy: an Ethics Committee opinion

Women at increased risk of complications during fertility treatment or pregnancy should be counseled appropriately about their risks. Physicians should be able to treat or decline to treat such women based on a medically supported and unbiased assessment of patient risks.

Volume 106, Issue 6, Pages 1319-1323


Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine


This opinion addresses the ethics of providing fertility treatment to women at elevated risk from fertility treatment or pregnancy. Providers ethically may treat women at elevated risk provided that they are carefully assessed; that specialists in their medical condition are consulted as appropriate; and that patients are fully informed about risks, benefits, and alternatives, including oocyte and embryo donation, use of a gestational surrogate, not undergoing fertility care, and adoption. Providers also may conclude that the risks are too high for them to ethically treat particular patients; such determinations must be made in a medically objective and unbiased manner and patients must be fully informed of the decision. Counseling of women who wish to initiate fertility treatment with underlying medical conditions that confer increased risk during treatment or pregnancy should incorporate the most current knowledge available, being cognizant of the woman's personal determinants in relation to her reproductive desires. In such a way, both physician and patient will optimize decision making in an ethically sound, patient-supportive context.

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