Assisted Conception

Fertility preservation, surrogate motherhood, gamete/embryo donation and in vitro fertilization

Authored by: Olga B. A. van den Akker

Routledge International Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138490260
eBook ISBN: 9781351035620
Adobe ISBN:


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Involuntary childlessness, due to medical, lifestyle, relationship, or sexual orientation reasons is an increasingly common experience affecting millions of individuals worldwide. This chapter discusses the costs and benefits of psychosocial and medical opportunities, challenges, and risks of assisted conception using fertility preservation, surrogate motherhood, gamete or embryo donation, and in vitro fertilisation. The contexts in which the medical and lifestyle factors associated with involuntary childlessness occur, and overcoming these barriers, are explored from within the wider sociocultural, family, and work environments. The evidence presented shows that, with increasing use of technology and innovation to assist individuals to achieve the goal of parenthood, accurate record keeping, monitoring, and human rights need to be at the forefront of these interventions, and allow the resultant children their basic human right to accurate birth and genetic information. The experience of involuntary childlessness and treatment success and/or failures therefore straddle psychological, behavioral, sociocultural, physical, and medical domains, which should be weighted proportionally in research, policy, and practice.

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