The need for interaction between assisted reproduction technology and genetics: recommendations of the European Societies of Human Genetics and Human Reproduction and Embryology*

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Abstract

Infertility and reproductive genetic risk are both increasing in our societies because of lifestyle changes and possibly environmental factors. Owing to the magnitude of the problem, they have implications not only at the individual and family levels but also at the community level. This leads to an increasing demand for access to assisted reproduction technology (ART) and genetic services, especially when the cause of infertility may be genetic in origin. The increasing application of genetics in reproductive medicine and vice versa requires closer collaboration between the two disciplines. ART and genetics are rapidly evolving fields where new technologies are currently introduced without sufficient knowledge of their potential long-term effects. As for any medical procedures, there are possible unexpected effects which need to be envisaged to make sure that the balance between benefits and risks is clearly on the benefit side. The development of ART and genetics as scientific activities is creating an opportunity to understand the early stages of human development, which is leading to new and challenging findings/knowledge. However, there are opinions against investigating the early stages of development in humans who deserve respect and attention. For all these reasons, these two societies, European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) and European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), have joined efforts to explore the issues at stake and to set up recommendations to maximize the benefit for the couples in need and for the community.

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