Doctor, black couple and holding hands in consultation clinic, support and comfort. Healthcare, obstetrician and man and woman talking with medical professional for advice, fertility treatment or ivf

Hastings Center Report

Hope and Exploitation in Commercial Provision of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Abstract: Innovation is a key driver of care provision in assisted reproductive technologies (ART). ART providers offer a range of add-on interventions, aiming to augment standard in vitro fertilization protocols and improve the chances of a live birth. Particularly in the context of commercial provision, an ever-increasing array of add-ons are marketed to ART patients, even when evidence to support them is equivocal. A defining feature of ART is hope—hope that a cycle will lead to a baby or that another test or intervention will make a difference. Yet such hope also leaves ART patients vulnerable in a variety of ways. This article argues that previous attempts to safeguard ART patients have neglected how the use of add-ons in commercial ART can exploit patients’ hopes. Commercial providers of ART should provide add-ons only free of charge, under a suitable research protocol.

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