- The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics
- Biographical Sketches
- The Discursive Context of Reproductive Ethics
- Access to Basic Reproductive Rights: Global Challenges
- Constructing the Abortion Argument
- Victims of Trafficking, Reproductive Rights, and Asylum
- The Commodification of Women’s Reproductive Tissue and Services
- Twenty-First-Century Eugenics
- Procreative Rights in a Postcoital World
- Reproduction as a Civil Right
- Conscientious Objection in Reproductive Health
- The Role of Providers in Assisted Reproduction: Potential Conflicts, Professional Conscience, and Personal Choice
- Ethical Issues in Newborn Screening
- How We Acquire Parental Rights
- Mothers and Others: Relational Autonomy in Parenting
- Procreators’ Duties: Sexual Asymmetries
- Reproductive Control for Men: For Men?
- Societal Disregard for the Needs of the Infertile
- Is Surrogacy Ethically Problematic?
- Parents with Disabilities
- Late-in-Life Motherhood: Ethico-Legal Perspectives on the Postponement of Childbearing and Access to Artificial Reproductive Technologies
- Justice, Procreation, and the Costs of Having and Raising Disabled Children
- Ethical Issues in the Evolving Realm of Egg Donation
- Sperm and Egg Donor Anonymity: Legal and Ethical Issues
- Who Am I When I’m Pregnant?
- Contemplating the Start of Someone
- The Possibility of Being Harmed by One’s Own Conception
- Understanding Procreative Beneficence
- Opting for Twins in In Vitro Fertilization: What Does Procreative Responsibility Require?
- Procreative Responsibility in View of What Parents Owe Their Children
Abstract and Keywords
Multiple births are an unfortunate consequence of assisted reproductive technology, causing risks to both fetuses and pregnant women. The central ethical issue raised by multiple pregnancy is the conflict between the fertility patient’s desire to get pregnant and the increased risks to offspring. Although extreme cases in which many embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus are very rare—and represent negligence—twin pregnancies are still common. Many women undergoing fertility treatment reportedly express a preference for twin pregnancies to reduce the costs and risks of the procedure while increasing their opportunities for having more than one child. However, risks to the offspring are significant and underappreciated, including prematurity, low birth weight, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. Even though many multiple pregnancies result in good outcomes, the ethical question is whether the risks are justifiable in order to improve the chances of pregnancy when transfer of a singleton embryo is an available alternative.
Bonnie Steinbock is Professor of Philosophy at the University at Albany, where she teaches courses in ethics, applied ethics, philosophy of law, bioethics, public policy, and public health. She is also on the faculty of the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College. She has lectured all over the world on the ethics of reproduction and genetics, and has appeared in various media, including The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. Her many publications include over 60 articles and a book, Life Before Birth:The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses (Oxford 1992). She has also edited Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Reproduction (Ashgate 2002). She is a Fellow of the Hastings Centre, the Chair of its Fellows Council, and a member of its Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
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