Lesbian shared biological motherhood: the ethics of IVF with reception of oocytes from partner
- 882 Downloads
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.
KeywordsEthics Reception of oocytes from partner Oocyte donation Shared biological motherhood Lesbian Live uterus transplantation Egg donor IVF
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Ds 2004:19 Föräldraskap vid assisterad befruktning för homosexuella [Governmental report: Parenthood in assisted reproduction for homosexuals].Google Scholar
- European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. 2009. Comparative Analysis of Medically Assisted Reproduction in the EU: Regulation and Technologies. Report.Google Scholar
- Lundin, S. 1997. Guldägget: Föräldraskap i biomedicinens tid. Lund: Historiska media.Google Scholar
- Malmquist, A. Submitted. Women in lesbian relations: Construing equal or unequal parental roles.Google Scholar
- 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.
- 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.
- Ragoné, H. 1994. Surrogate motherhood: Conceptions in the heart. Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- 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
- SFS 1984:1140. Lag on insemination [Law on Insemination].Google Scholar
- SFS 1988:711. Lag om befruktning utanför kroppen [Law on fertilization outside the body].Google Scholar
- SFS 1995:831. Lag om transplantation m.m. [Law on transplantation etc].Google Scholar
- SFS 2006:351. Lag om genetisk integritet m.m. [Law on Genetic Integrity etc.].Google Scholar
- SFS 2010:659. Lag om patientsäkerhet [Law on patient security].Google Scholar
- 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.
- The Swedish National Council of Medical Ethics. 1995. Assisterad befruktning—synpunker 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
- The Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics. Assisterad befruktning—etiska aspekter. [Assisted reproduction—ethical aspects.] Report. Stockholm. 2013:1.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization, Constitution of. 1948. Official Records of the World Health Organization.Google Scholar
- 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