Ethical Challenges of Embryo Donation in Embryo Donors and Recipients

Mahboubeh Taebi, Reyhane Bahrami, Narges Bagheri- Lankarani, Mohsen Shahriari


Background: Embryo donation, as one of the novel assisted reproductive technologies (ART), has remained a controversial issue. This is due to this methods’ need for individuals from outside the family circle. Their presence can cause many ethical issues and complicate the designing and planning of the embryo donation process. The present study was conducted with the aim to assess the ethical challenges of embryo donation from the view point of embryo donors and recipients.

Material and Methods: This descriptive, cross‑sectional study was conducted on 192 couples (96 embryo donators and 96 embryo recipients) referring to Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center and Royan Institute,Iran. The subjects were selected through convenience sampling. The data collection tool was the researcher‑made Ethical Challenges Questionnaire. Data were analyzed in SPSS software.

Results: Embryo donors and recipients expresses the most important ethical challenges of embryo donation in the principle of justice (70.20%) and respect for autonomy (42.57%), respectively.

Conclusions:The four ethical principles are important in the view of embryo donors and recipients; however, they highlighted the importance of the principle of respect for autonomy considering the existing barriers in the services of infertility centers. Legislators and relevant authorities must take measures toward the development of guidelines for this treatment method in the framework of ethics principles and incorporate all four principles independently.


Assisted reproductive technology, embryo donation, embryo donor, embryo recipient,ethics

Full Text:



Berezina PR, Zhao Y. The ethical legal and social issues impacted by modern assisted reproductive technologies. Obstet Gynaecol Int 2012;2012:686253.

Wennerholm WB. Cryopreservation of embryo and oocytes:Obstetric outcome and health in children. Hum Reprod 2000;15:18‑25.

Tatary F, Mohammadpour Y, Shamsi E, Abbasi M. Ethical aspects of embryo and gametes donation from the perspective of the four principles medical. J Med Ethic 2013;27:156. [In persian].

MacCallum F, Golombok S. Embryo donation families: Mothers’decisions regarding disclosure of donor conception. Hum Reprod 2007;22:2888‑95.

Pence GE. Classic cases in medical ethics: Accounts of cases that have shaped medical ethics, with philosophical, legal, and historical backgrounds. 4th ed. McGraw Hill 2004.

Abbasi M, Rezaii R. Comparative study of embryo donation and medical and jurisprudence. Med Law J 2011;24:12.

Flynn J. Embryo Donation for Pregnancy: Psychology,Philosophy and Policy. Res Bio Ethic 2013;7:2‑7.

Practice Committee of American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Practice Committee of Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. 2008 Guidelines for gamete and embryo donation:A Practice committee Report. Fertil Steril 2008;90:30‑44.

Hammarberg K, Johnson L, Petrillo T. Gamete and embryo donation and surrogacy in Australia: The social context and regulatory framework. Int Fertil Steril 2011;4:176‑83. [In persian].

Hart V, Plath D. Egg donor wanted: Social work with women looking for an egg donor. Austr Soc Work 2011;64:515‑25.

Newton RC, McDermid A, Tekpetey F, Tummon IS. Embryo donation: Attitudes toward donation procedures and factors predicting willingness to donate. Hum Reprod 2003;18:878‑84.

Isaksson S, Svanberg AS, Sydsjo G, Thurin‑Kjellberg A,Karlstrom N, Solensten G, et al. Two decades after legislation on identifiable donors in Sweden: Are recipient couples ready to be open about using gamete donation. Hum Reprod 2011;26:853‑60.

Goedeke S, Payne D. Embryo donation in New Zealand: A pilot study. Hum Reprod 2009;24:1939‑45.

Roshan M. Legal review gamete and embryo donation. Payesh J 2006;6:407‑14. [In persian].

Svanberg AS, Sydsjö G, Bladh M, Lampic C. Attitudes about donor information differ greatly between IVF couples using their own gametes and those receiving or donating oocytes or sperm.J Assist Reprod Genet 2016;33:703‑10.

Bay B, Larsen PB, Kesmodel US, Ingerslev HJ. Danish sperm donors across three decades: Motivations and attitudes. Int J Fertile Steril 101:252‑7.

Gurtin ZB, Ahuja KK, Golombok S. Emotional and relational aspects of egg‑sharing: Egg‑share donors’ and recipients’feelings about each other each other’s treatment outcome and any resulting children. Hum Reprod 2012;27:1690‑701.

Laruelle C, Place I, Demeestere I, Englert Y, Delbaere A.Anonymity and secrecy options of recipient couples and donors,and ethnic origin influence in three types of oocyte donation.Hum Reprod 201;26:382‑90.

Blyth E, Kramer W, Schneider J. Perspectives, experiences,and choices of parents of children conceived following oocyte donation. Reprod Med J 2013;26:179‑88.


  • There are currently no refbacks.