Attitudes towards embryo donation among infertile couples with frozen embryos

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

What are the attitudes towards different aspects of embryo donation among Swedish infertile couples who have surplus cryopreserved embryos?

SUMMARY ANSWER

Nearly three-quarters of infertile couples with surplus embryos were in favour of embryo donation. A majority of respondents were also in favour of embryos being donated for research.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

Currently, embryo donation to other infertile couples is prohibited by law in Sweden. Encouraging results have been published from countries allowing embryo donation, although it is a complex procedure associated with many emotional, ethical, legal and psychosocial aspects.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION

This cross-sectional study included 471 infertile couples (942 patients) treated during the period March 2006 to March 2009.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS

Infertile couples who had been treated at a Swedish university-based hospital and private IVF clinic and who had cryopreserved embryos were sent questionnaires with questions regarding socio-demographic data and their attitudes towards embryo donation.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

The response rate to the questionnaire was 58%. Of the respondents, 76% supported the donation of surplus embryos to other infertile couples, but there were divided opinions regarding the disclosure of the genetic parents' identities. Close to 60% of the participants indicated that donations of embryos should be allowed for research and about 45% of the participants approved donations of embryos to single women.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION

The relatively low response rate and the hypothetical nature of the questions may limit the validity of the results.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

The results from the study indicate that cryopreserved embryos may be available for donation to other infertile couples, particularly where restrictions can be set on recipient characteristics.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)

The study was supported by Uppsala University. No competing interest exists.

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