Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 431–438 | Cite as

Intra-Family Gamete Donation: A Solution to Concerns Regarding Gamete Donation in China?

  • Juhong Liao
  • Katrien Devolder
Original Research


Gamete donation from third parties is controversial in China as it severs blood ties, which are considered of utmost importance in Confucian tradition. In recent years, infertile couples are increasingly demonstrating a preference for the use of gametes donated by family members to conceive children—known as “intra-family gamete donation.” The main advantage of intra-family gamete donation is that it maintains blood ties between children and both parents. To date there is no practice of intra-family gamete donation in China. In this paper, we investigate intra-family adoption in China in order to illustrate that intra-family gamete donation is consistent with Confucian tradition regarding the importance of maintaining blood ties within the family. There are several specific ethical issues raised by intra-family gamete donation. It may, for example, result in consanguinity and the semblance of incest, lead to confused family relationships, and raise concerns about possible coercion of familial donors. Confucian tradition provides a new approach to understand and deal with these ethical issues in a way that Western tradition does not. As a result, we suggest intra-family gamete donation could be an acceptable solution to the problem of infertility in China. However, further discussion and open debates on the ethical issues raised by intra-family gamete donation are needed in China.


Intra-family gamete donation Intra-family adoption Confucianism Ethics Blood tie ART 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral SciencesGhent UniversityGentBelgium
  2. 2.Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical EthicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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