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The Ethics of Heterologous Ovarian Transplantation

Brundage, Janetta (2023) The Ethics of Heterologous Ovarian Transplantation. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project examines the ethical permissibility of heterologous ovarian transplantation to treat infertility, ovarian insufficiency, or both. Based on currently available data regarding the procedures’ risks, outcomes, and alternatives, it argues that the procedure is ethically permissible under a research protocol to treat ovarian insufficiency, but not infertility, because of the risks immunosuppression poses to potential future offspring. Reviewing the history and current empirical literature regarding heterologous ovarian transplantation, the project compares the procedure to relevant alternatives: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). It analyzes the risks and potential benefits for each of the parties immediately involved in heterologous ovarian transplantation: recipients and donors, as well as potential future children of recipients. Depending on the particular interests and values or conception of the good embraced by recipients and donors, and despite the alternative of hormone replacement therapy, heterologous ovarian transplantation can be an ethically permissible intervention for ovarian insufficiency. Because of the risks to fetal development presented by requisite immunosuppression in recipients, the procedure does not have an acceptable risk:benefit profile for treatment of infertility. The project concludes by addressing two concerns that may be raised in opposition to developing heterologous ovarian transplantation: that desires for the procedure are insufficiently autonomous or authentic, and that the procedure reinforces ethically problematic social norms and beliefs in biological essentialism. It concludes that considerations of justice and respect for the autonomy of
decision makers support studying and making available heterologous ovarian transplantation for treatment of ovarian insufficiency.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brundage, JanettaJAB488@pitt.eduJAB488
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairParker, Lisa
Committee MemberDonley,
Date: 27 January 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 November 2022
Approval Date: 27 January 2023
Submission Date: 7 December 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 70
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Bioethics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ovary, Ovarian Transplant, Heterologous Ovarian Transplant, Ethics
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2023 16:48
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2023 16:48


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