Posthumous retrieval and use of gametes or embryos: an Ethics Committee opinion

The ethical implications of the use of posthumously collected reproductive tissue are discussed.

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Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 45–49


Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 


Posthumous gamete (sperm or oocyte) retrieval or use for reproductive purposes is ethically justifiable if written documentation from the deceased authorizing the procedure is available. Retrieval of sperm or eggs does not commit a center to their later use for reproduction, but may be permissible under the circumstances outlined in this opinion. Embryo use is also justifiable with such documentation. In the absence of written documentation from the decedent, programs open to considering requests for posthumous use of embryos or gametes should only do so when such requests are initiated by the surviving spouse or partner. This document replaces the report of the same name, last published in 2012.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.