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A Frozen Debate: Finding an Ethical Solution for the Regulation of Embryo Donation

Horner, Claire (2011) A Frozen Debate: Finding an Ethical Solution for the Regulation of Embryo Donation. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    It is estimated that over 400,000 embryos are currently cryopreserved in the United States, and many of these will never be used by their creators. Although many options exist for the disposition of unwanted embryos, such as donation to research or destruction, one option, embryo donation to another individual for implantation, has met with resistance from some religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, and remains largely unregulated in American law. This practice, which offers the possibility of life for the embryo and the possibility of parenthood for the recipient, should be morally acceptable in the Catholic tradition and properly regulated by legislatures.This paper argues that the current contract law approach to embryo donation is not sufficient to ensure permanence of the agreement, and the practice is not intrinsically unethical based on principles of Catholic bioethics. This thesis proposes that reconceptualizing the practice of embryo donation as embryo adoption can resolve both the legal insufficiencies and the Catholic ethical concerns. Approaching embryo donation within an adoption framework definitively establishes the allocation of parental rights and provides them with judicial support. Viewing the practice as a form of adoption instead of a reproductive technology also avoids a violation of Catholic moral principles and establishes embryo donation as an ethical option for those wishing to adopt abandoned embryos.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairSatkoske, Valerievalbridget@aol.com
    Committee MemberMeisel, Alanmeisel@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberVanDyke, Amyavandyke@consolidated.net
    Committee MemberParker, Lisalisap@pitt.edu
    Title: A Frozen Debate: Finding an Ethical Solution for the Regulation of Embryo Donation
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: It is estimated that over 400,000 embryos are currently cryopreserved in the United States, and many of these will never be used by their creators. Although many options exist for the disposition of unwanted embryos, such as donation to research or destruction, one option, embryo donation to another individual for implantation, has met with resistance from some religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, and remains largely unregulated in American law. This practice, which offers the possibility of life for the embryo and the possibility of parenthood for the recipient, should be morally acceptable in the Catholic tradition and properly regulated by legislatures.This paper argues that the current contract law approach to embryo donation is not sufficient to ensure permanence of the agreement, and the practice is not intrinsically unethical based on principles of Catholic bioethics. This thesis proposes that reconceptualizing the practice of embryo donation as embryo adoption can resolve both the legal insufficiencies and the Catholic ethical concerns. Approaching embryo donation within an adoption framework definitively establishes the allocation of parental rights and provides them with judicial support. Viewing the practice as a form of adoption instead of a reproductive technology also avoids a violation of Catholic moral principles and establishes embryo donation as an ethical option for those wishing to adopt abandoned embryos.
    Date: 06 June 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 18 April 2011
    Approval Date: 06 June 2011
    Submission Date: 21 April 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: MA - Master of Arts
    URN: etd-04212011-213342
    Uncontrolled Keywords: contract law; embryo adoption; Catholic moral teaching; reproductive technology
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Bioethics
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:40
    Last Modified: 29 May 2012 16:20
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04212011-213342/, etd-04212011-213342

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