Issues Arising During the Treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses by in Vitro Fertilisation
Human fertility (Cambridge, England) 2011 Mar; 14(1): 35-40
Four Jehovah's Witness couples were treated between 2000 and 2009 using in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. A review of the issues encountered during their treatment, and the options chosen, was made in an attempt to provide effective treatment without compromising the moral views of the individuals concerned. Considerations specific to the Jehovah's Witness faith were identified that required departure from the standard operating procedures used in the clinic, and the development of modified protocols prior to treatment is recommended to minimize the stress and anxiety of patients and staff alike. Issues raised included the collection of semen by masturbation, the use of donor gametes, the number of oocytes inseminated, the discard of poor quality embryos conventionally thought unsuitable for transfer or embryo cryopreservation. A common request was the avoidance of blood products as a culture medium supplement. The use of recombinant human albumin circumvented this, although a recent shift by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in the interpretation of the Bible opens the possibility of using blood fractions if not whole blood, and so the use of standard culture medium containing human serum albumin is now acceptable to some Jehovah's Witnesses.
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