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Decisional authority of gamete donors over embryos created with their gametes

A Correction to this article was published on 15 February 2020

This article has been updated

Abstract

In the ongoing discussion on the rights and obligations of gamete donors, scant attention has been paid to the decisional authority of gamete donors over the disposition of the embryos created with their gametes. This paper analyses four different positions: three cases relate to the disposition options for surplus or unused embryos by the first recipients, and one case relates to the use of the embryos stored by the first recipients for procreation.

We conclude that the gamete donor causally contributes to the creation of the embryos and thus becomes indirectly responsible. To avoid that donors would become accomplices to an activity to which they morally object, a qualified generic consent mentioning types of research should be obtained. No consent from the donor is required for the destruction of the embryos.

The cancellation of the agreement by anonymous or identifiable gamete donors should not be possible for embryos in storage for reproduction by the recipients. The interests in not becoming a genetic parent against one’s wishes do not outweigh the damage done to recipients who would no longer be able to use their embryos. Known donors, on the contrary, should be able to withdraw their consent up to the moment of transfer of the embryos based on the greater harm caused to them as a consequence of attributional parenthood. They should also be able to veto transfer of the embryos to other people than the original recipients.

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Change history

  • 15 February 2020

    The original article unfortunately contained a mistake. The name of the author should be listed as “Guido Pennings”.

  • 15 February 2020

    The original article unfortunately contained a mistake. The name of the author should be listed as ���Guido Pennings���.

  • 15 February 2020

    The original article unfortunately contained a mistake. The name of the author should be listed as ���Guido Pennings���.

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Correspondence to Guido Pennings.

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The original version of this article was revised: The name of the author should be listed as “Guido Pennings”.

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Pennings, G. Decisional authority of gamete donors over embryos created with their gametes. J Assist Reprod Genet 37, 281–286 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-019-01678-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-019-01678-5

Keywords

  • Decisional authority
  • Embryo disposition
  • Embryo research
  • Gamete donation
  • Withdrawal