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The validity of contracts to dispose of frozen embryos

Authors
Journal
Journal of Medical Ethics
0306-6800
Publisher
BMJ
Publication Date
Volume
28
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1136/jme.28.5.295
Keywords
  • Original Article

Abstract

The widespread abandonment of frozen embryos by the gamete providers or intentional parents urgently demands a solution. Most centres react by requiring patients to enter a prior agreement governing the future disposition of their embryos in all foreseeable circumstances. These dispositional directives are inappropriate and self defeating in the event of contingencies in which the patients remain competent to execute an updated directive. Internal and external changes may invalidate the prior directive by altering the situation as represented by the couple at the initiation of treatment to such an extent that it no longer corresponds with the actual situation at the time of the execution of the disposition. The prior agreement should only be considered binding if the agreement among the partners on a specific option was a material condition for one of the partners to start treatment.

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