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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2012, Article ID 686253, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/686253
Review Article

The Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Impacted by Modern Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Phipps 264 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA

Received 21 July 2011; Accepted 25 November 2011

Academic Editor: B. S. Garg

Copyright © 2012 Paul R. Brezina and Yulian Zhao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. While assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization has given hope to millions of couples suffering from infertility, it has also introduced countless ethical, legal, and social challenges. The objective of this paper is to identify the aspects of ART that are most relevant to present-day society and discuss the multiple ethical, legal, and social challenges inherent to this technology. Scope of Review. This paper evaluates some of the most visible and challenging topics in the field of ART and outlines the ethical, legal, and social challenges they introduce. Major Conclusions. ART has resulted in a tectonic shift in the way physicians and the general population perceive infertility and ethics. In the coming years, advancing technology is likely to exacerbate ethical, legal, and social concerns associated with ART. ART is directly challenging society to reevaluate the way in which human life, social justice and equality, and claims to genetic offspring are viewed. Furthermore, these issues will force legal systems to modify existing laws to accommodate the unique challenges created by ART. Society has a responsibility to ensure that the advances achieved through ART are implemented in a socially responsible manner.