Joseph G Schenker
Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical Centre, Israel
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) and assisted reproductive techniques have become common practice in many countries today, regulated by established legislation, regulations or by committee-set ethical standards. The rapid evolution and progress of these techniques have revealed certain social issues that have to be addressed. The traditional heterosexual couple, nowadays, is not considered by many as the only ‘IVF appropriate patient’ since deviations from this pattern (single mother, lesbians) have also gained access to these treatments. Genetic material donation, age limitation, selective embryo reduction, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, surrogacy and cloning are interpreted differently in the various countries, as their definition and application are influenced by social factors, religion and law. Financial and emotional stresses are also often described in infertile couples. Information as deduced from the world literature regarding IVF regulation, as well as about the existing religious, cultural and social behaviours towards these new technologies, is presented in this article in relation to the social aspects of assisted reproduction.