Welfare of the Child in Assisted Reproduction (Pages: 0-0)


Eric Blyth *,

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Over 3.5 million children are believed to have been born worldwide – and over 200000 annually - as a result of assisted reproduction procedures. Such procedures account for an increasing proportion of all births; for example among European countries where data are available approximately 1.7% of all births each year result from assisted reproduction procedures. It is commonly asserted that the welfare or interests of children born as a result of assisted reproduction procedures should be a high priority of service providers - a requirement that is enshrined in statute in some jurisdictions. Such requirements have tended to focus exclusively on the suitability of potential parents of children conceived through assisted reproduction procedures; this focus has highlighted the difficulties of operationalising both welfare principles and requirements. However the impact of specific assisted reproduction procedures on children has received less attention and while it is frequently claimed that assisted reproduction procedures have become routine practices the underpinning evidence base especially regarding the long-term safety of assisted reproduction procedures is less robust than for other similarly well-established procedures. This presentation will highlight these issues by drawing on the specific examples of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) multiple births pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) selecting the characteristics of children and use of previously cryopreserved embryos oocytes and semen. The presentation will identify key challenges that need to be addressed to further promote the welfare of children conceived through assisted reproductive procedures: • Accurate information and comprehensive national registration systems • Further research to identify longer-term health psychological and social implications of assisted reproductive procedures on children and their families • Establishment of formal requirements to take account of the welfare of children conceived through assisted reproductive procedures.