Advertisement

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 347–355 | Cite as

Lesbian shared biological motherhood: the ethics of IVF with reception of oocytes from partner

  • Kristin ZeilerEmail author
  • Anna Malmquist
Scientific Contribution

Abstract

In vitro fertilization (IVF) with reception of oocytes from partners (ROPA) allows lesbian mothers to share biological motherhood. The gestational mother receives an egg from her partner who becomes the genetic mother. This article examines the ethics of IVF with ROPA with a focus on the welfare of the woman and the resulting child, on whether ROPA qualifies as a “legitimate” medical therapy that falls within the goals of medicine, and on the meaning and value attributed to a biologically shared bond between parents and child. We also contrast IVF with ROPA with egg donor IVF for heterosexual couples and intrafamilial live uterus transplantation with IVF, and show how Swedish legislation makes certain ways of sharing biological bonds out of place. In Sweden, IVF with ROPA is illegal, egg donor IVF for heterosexual couples is allowed and practiced as is sperm donor IVF for lesbians, and live uterus transplantation is performed within a research project (though not allowed in regular health care). But is ROPA really ethically more problematic than these other cases? The article argues that IVF with ROPA gives rise to fewer ethical questions than does live uterus transplantation with IVF and, in some cases, egg donor IVF.

Keywords

Ethics Reception of oocytes from partner Oocyte donation Shared biological motherhood Lesbian Live uterus transplantation Egg donor IVF 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The article is part of Malmquist’s work within the project Swedish Lesbigay Families in the Twentieth Century—Parenthood in a Time of Legislative Changes, financed by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working-life, and Welfare, and of Zeiler’s work on bodily giving and sharing in medicine as a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow. The Pro Futura Scientia Program is a collaboration between the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala University and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. We thank all these for financial support for this research.

References

  1. Alpern, K. 1992. Genetic puzzles and stork stories: On the meaning and significance of having children. In The ethics of reproductive technology (147–169), ed. K. Alpern. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Armenti, V.T., et al. 2002. Immunosuppression in pregnancy: Choices for infant and maternal health. Drugs 62: 2361–2375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, M. 2004. The elusive pregnancy. Choice and empowerment in medically assisted conception. Women’s Health and Urban Life III(1): 34–55.Google Scholar
  4. Bayne, T., and A. Kolers. 2003. Toward a pluralist account of parenthood. Bioethics 17(3): 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, G. 2000. The elusive embryo: How women and men approach the new reproductive technologies. Berkeley: University of California Press. For a related discussion in the area of surrogacy.Google Scholar
  6. Brülde, B. 2001. The goals of medicine. Towards a unified theory. Health Care Analysis 9: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Callahan, D. 1999. Remembering the goals of medicine. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 5(2): 103–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Catsanos, R., W. Rogers, and M. Lotz. 2013. The ethics of uterus transplantation. Bioethics 27(2): 65–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chan, C.S., J.H. Fox, and R.A. McCormick. 1993. The forum: Lesbian motherhood and genetic choices. Ethics & Behaviour 3(2): 219.Google Scholar
  10. Delvigne, A., and S. Rozenberg. 2002. Epidemology and prevention of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): a review. Human Reproduction Update 8(6): 559–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dianne, B., M.D. McKay, and M.A. Josephson. 2006. Pregnancy in recipients of solid organs—Effects on mother and child. The New England Journal of Medicine 354(12): 1281–1293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dondrop, W.J., G.M. De Wert, and P.M.W. Janssens. 2010. Shared lesbian motherhood: A challenge of established concepts and frameworks. Human Reproduction 25(4): 812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ds 2004:19 Föräldraskap vid assisterad befruktning för homosexuella [Governmental report: Parenthood in assisted reproduction for homosexuals].Google Scholar
  14. European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. 2009. Comparative Analysis of Medically Assisted Reproduction in the EU: Regulation and Technologies. Report.Google Scholar
  15. Fageeh, W., H. Raffa, H. Jabbad, and A. Marzouki. 2002. Case report: Transplantation of the human uterus. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 76: 245–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Franklin, S. 1997. Embodied progress: A cultural account of assisted conception. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fuscaldo, G., and J. Savulescu. 2005. Spare embryos: 3000 reasons to rethink the significance of genetic relatedness. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 10(2): 164–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guntram, L. 2013. “Differently normal” and “Normally different”: Negotiations of sexed embodiment in women’s accounts of ‘atypical’ sex development. Social Science and Medicine 98: 232–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hansen, A. 2012. Swedish surgeons report world’s first uterus transplantations from mother to daughter. BMJ 345: 6357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haimes, E. 2013. Juggling on a rollercoaster? Gains, loss and uncertainties in IVF patients’ accounts of volunteering for a U.K. ‘egg sharing for research’ scheme. Social Science and Medicine 86: 45–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hayden, C.P. 1995. Gender, genetics and generation: Reformulating biology in lesbian kinship. Cultural Anthropology 10: 41–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Källén, B., M. Westgren, A. Åberg, and P. Otterblad Olausson. 2005. Pregnancy outcome after maternal organ transplantation in Sweden. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 112: 904–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kirkman, M., and D. Rosenthal. 1999. Representations of reproductive technology in women’s narratives of infertility. Women and Health 29(2): 17–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lundin, S. 1997. Guldägget: Föräldraskap i biomedicinens tid. Lund: Historiska media.Google Scholar
  25. Malmquist, A. Submitted. Women in lesbian relations: Construing equal or unequal parental roles.Google Scholar
  26. Malmquist, A., Möllerstand, A., Wikström, M. and Zetterqvist Nelson, K.’ 2013. A daddy is the same as a mummy’: Swedish children in lesbian households talk about fathers and donors. Childhood: pre-published on-line. doi:  10.1177/0907568213484342.
  27. Malmquist, A. and Zetterqvist Nelson, K. 2013. Efforts to maintain a ‘just great’ story: Lesbain parents’ talk about encounters with professionals in fertility clinics, and maternal and child healthcare services. Feminism & Psychology: pre-published on-line. doi:  10.1177/0959353513487532.
  28. Marina, S., D. Maria, F. Marina, N. Fosas, F. Galiana, and I. Jové. 2010. Sharing motherhood: Biological lesbian co-mothers, a new IVF indication. Human Reproduction 25(4): 930–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Murray, T.H., and G.E. Kaebnick. 2003. Genetic ties and genetic mixups. Journal of Medical Ethics 29: 68–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pelka, S. 2009. Sharing motherhood: Maternal jealousy among lesbian co-mothers. Journal of Homosexuality 56(2): 195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ragoné, H. 1994. Surrogate motherhood: Conceptions in the heart. Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ravin, A.J., M.B. Mahowald, and C.B. Stocking. 1997. Genes or gestation? Attitudes of women and men about biological ties to children. Journal of Women’s Health 6: 639–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Redshaw, M., C. Hockley, and L.L. Davidson. 2007. A qualitative study of the experience of treatment for infertility among women who successfully became pregnant. Human Reproduction 22(1): 295–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rozental, A. and Malmquist, A. 2013. Vulnerability and acceptance: Lesbian women’s family-making through assisted reproduction in Swedish public healthcare. Journal of GLBT Family studies. Google Scholar
  35. SFS 1984:1140. Lag on insemination [Law on Insemination].Google Scholar
  36. SFS 1988:711. Lag om befruktning utanför kroppen [Law on fertilization outside the body].Google Scholar
  37. SFS 1995:831. Lag om transplantation m.m. [Law on transplantation etc].Google Scholar
  38. SFS 2006:351. Lag om genetisk integritet m.m. [Law on Genetic Integrity etc.].Google Scholar
  39. SFS 2010:659. Lag om patientsäkerhet [Law on patient security].Google Scholar
  40. Slovik, P and E.U. Weber. 2002. Perception of risk posed by extreme events. In Risk management strategies in an uncertain world. Columbia/Wharton Roundtable, Palisades, NY. Retrieved from http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/chrr/documents/meetings/roundtable/white_papers/slovic_wp.pdf.
  41. Söderström-Anttila, V. 2001. Pregnancy and child outcome after oocyte donation. Human Reproduction 7(1): 28–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Steuber, K.R., and D.H. Solomon. 2008. Relational uncertainty, partner interference, and infertility: A qualitative study of discourse within online forums. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 25: 831–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tendron, A., J.-B. Gouyon, and S. Decramer. 2002. In utero exposure to immunosuppressive drugs: Experimental and clinical studies. Pediatric Nephrology 17(1): 121–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. The Swedish National Council of Medical Ethics. 1995. Assisterad befruktningsynpunker på vissa frågor i samband med befruktning utanför kroppen. [Assisted reproduction—aspects on some questions in relation to fertilization outside the body.] Report. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  45. The Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics. Assisterad befruktningetiska aspekter. [Assisted reproduction—ethical aspects.] Report. Stockholm. 2013:1.Google Scholar
  46. Verhaak, C.M., J.M.J. Smeenk, A.W.M. Evers, J.A.M. Kremer, F.W. Kraaimaat, and D.D.M. Braat. 2007. Women’s emotional adjustment to IVF: A systematic review of 25 years of research. Human Reproduction Update 13(1): 27–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. World Health Organization, Constitution of. 1948. Official Records of the World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  48. Zeiler, K and L. Guntram. 2014 (In Press). Sexed embodiment in atypical pubertal development: Intersubjectivity, excorporation and the importance of making space for difference. In Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine, eds. K Zeiler and L Folkmarson Käll. New York: State University New York Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical and Health SciencesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.The Swedish Collegium for Advanced StudyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Behavioural Sciences and LearningLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

Personalised recommendations