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Curbs on Surrogate Motherhood Favored by Medical Ethics Panel

September 09, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Most new infertility treatments are morally acceptable, but the practice of one woman's carrying another's fetus should be restricted to experimental use until more data is available on the risks and benefits, a medical ethics committee said Monday.

In the first major report examining the ethics of new reproductive technology, a committee of doctors, lawyers and ethicists said practices such as artificial insemination and using donor sperm and eggs for producing test tube babies are morally acceptable in most cases.

However, the panel said some other procedures should be classified as experimental and not used routinely until more is known about them. These include using frozen eggs, or ovums, and using surrogate mothers to carry someone else's fetus until birth.

The committee, established by the American Fertility Society, which represents 10,000 doctors, scientists and specialists dealing with fertility, said it had "serious ethical reservations" about surrogate motherhood.

The group called for "intensive scrutiny" of the practice because of legal and ethical concerns and because so much is unknown about the physical and psychological effects on the mothers and offspring.

The committee said it is ethically unacceptable to use surrogate motherhood for non-medical reasons, such as career considerations or the convenience of not carrying a fetus to term.

The panel concluded that it would be preferable for surrogates "not to receive payment beyond compensation for expenses and their inconvenience."

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