A case report of embryo donation: ethical and clinical implications for psychologists

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Abstract

Third-party reproduction is a growing field, and an increasing body of literature considers the ethics of embryo donation. Due to the psychosocial complexities that generally accompany the donation and/or use of donor embryos, psychologists can play a pivotal role in these specialised fertility cases. While laws in the USA are in place to regulate the medical procedures involved in embryo donation, only unenforceable guidelines exist for psychologists specialising in fertility cases. The presentation of this case study aims to: (1) clarify the ethical concerns that fertility psychologists should consider in similar situations by assessing whether American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines compete or complement one another within this case of embryo donation and (2) consider the interests, obligations and rights of all parties involved. Several principles, standards and guidelines that must be considered are described. Overall, the APA Ethics Code and the ASRM Guidelines appear to complement one another for most aspects of this case. Fertility psychologists should consider the clinical implications of the interests, rights and duties of all involved parties, including themselves.

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