Reproductive Medicine and Turner Syndrome Ethical Issues

We discuss the issues and challenges faced by women with Turner syndrome, and by prospective parents of a child with Turner syndrome.

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David Wasserman, J.D. and Adrienne Asch, Ph.D.

Vol 98, Issue 4, Pages 792-796


Objective and Description:

This article discusses the ethical issues raised by the medical responses to Turner Syndrome (TS). It explores the issues and challenges faced by women with Turner, and by prospective parents of a child with Turner. It focuses on four issues: 1) the use of GH to increase height; 2) the use of third-party oocytes to enable women with Turner to become pregnant; 3) the parental decision to remove and cryopreseve ovarian tissue from a child with Turner; and 4) the termination of fetuses diagnosed with Turner.


Many of the challenges associated with TS are directly or indirectly related to social attitudes and practices, from harsh teasing in school to health professionals' assumption that a woman will abort a fetus diagnosed with Turner. All the interventions designed to alleviate the difficulties faced by women with TS should be employed with caution, in part because they raise significant concerns about risk and consent; in part because they offer a medical response to problems that are to some extent social.

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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.